The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Not surprisingly, Olympic, World and European champion Andreas Thorkildsen believes that the men’s Javelin Throw final will be one of the primary highlights at the European Championships in Helsinki in June.
2012 is a unique year with the European Athletics Championships and Olympic Games just six weeks apart. Norwegian Thorkildsen views that as an opportunity rather than a threat.
"My aim is to win at both, Helsinki and London, of course. These two big occasions are far enough from each other for the recovery and training periods."
Thorkildsen highlighted that he is excited to be throwing in Finland, where he acknowledges the deep value and understanding for athletics that will be present at the Olympic stadium, especially for Javelin.
"I love throwing in Finland because the crowd go absolutely crazy for their own athletes, but also cheer for everyone else. It is a demanding crowd because they know so much about the event and expect a lot. That also makes it so much more fun to do well there."
Thorkildsen has a clear message for all the athletics fans planning to travel to Helsinki this summer: "The fans make it fun for us all to compete, so show up and make some noise!"
'Pitkämäki will push me forward'
Thorkildsen believes that the javelin competition in Helsinki will bring the best throwers from around the world, to appear in front of the cheering audience. "The Czechs, Latvians and Germans are all tough to beat, and of course the Finns will be strong as ever on their home soil."
As his main challenger Thorkildsen sees his longtime rival and friend Tero Pitkämäki of Finland.
"Tero is a really nice person and a great competitor. He thrives at a good competition and pushes me and the others to good results."
After last year’s difficulties Pitkämäki switched to train under the guidance of the Czech javelin legend Jan Zelezny. The co-operation did not surprise Thorkildsen, but made him expect very long throws from Pitkämäki once again.
"I both think and hope that the co-operation will help Tero. Jan has very good knowledge about the event and has been around for a long time, so he might have some good input on how Tero can get back to throwing 90 metres."
"It will be hard to predict what kind of competition we will have in Helsinki, but I believe that Tero might throw around 88 metres," Thorkildsen said, adding with a smile, "and with that he will have a good chance to take the silver medal."