23 November 2012 – Barcelona, Spain – The IAAF Centenary weekend will be seeing some of the world’s biggest stars of the present and past grace the celebrations. We put South Africa’s 1992 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Elana Meyer under the spotlight and asked her 10 quick-fire questions, a few serious, a few fun, on Friday (23).
Who is your favourite athlete of the past 100 years?
The women that inspired me were Ingrid Kristiansen and Grete Waitz. Those girls were the benchmark and set the records, which were there to be broken.
What is your favourite Moment of the past 100 years?
There’s so many but I really remember watching the Olympic 800m final in Munich when Dave Wottle won. I just remember watching him come right from the back to win the race. It was a moment, which really captured my imagination.
If you could change one thing about the world of athletics, what would it be and why?
I think on an international level the profile of the sport is still high, but in South Africa it has declined over the past decade. Growing up it was one on the main sports in South Africa and I’d like it to be one of the premier sports again.
Name one reason why people should choose athletics as a sport?
I love it because you can really win a race without crossing the finish line because you are running against yourself and can continue to better your performance year after year. I felt great satisfaction and success without winning races. It truly gives you the chance to be the best you can be.
Where do you see the sport of athletics in 100 years’ time?
It will always be around. It is such a beautiful sport. It will probably change quite bit. You think how much it has changed since watching footage of the Olympic Marathon from 100 years ago. Back then women were told they couldn’t run a Marathon because it was too strenuous, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like in 100 years from now.
Do you have a favourite competition venue?
I loved Barcelona because it was a very emotional moment for me but I also always loved competing in Japan. They really love and appreciate their distance runners and I loved the fact they could put on a women’s marathon and a million people would come out in support.
If someone would play your life in a film you would it be?
That’s too tough to answer. I’m not going to put a guess to that one.
Which athlete are you most excited about watching at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow?
I was really impressed watching Mo Farah and Galen Rupp in the men’s 5000m and 10,000m at the London Olympics. All of sudden the events are a bit more open than just handing out medals to the Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes. That’s very encouraging for the sport.
If you could bake a cake for the IAAF’s 100th anniversary, what would it be and why?
I think it would have to have a track with the lanes on top.
If you could pick three athletes from the past 100 years to attend your dinner party who would they be and why?
I’d love to have Ingrid Kristiansen and Grete Waitz, who did so much for women’s distance running. I always say distance running and distance runners are totally different to pole vaulters and sprinters, just it would be good to have one of the dominant sprinters there, like Usain Bolt, just to stir things up a little bit.
Steve Landells for the IAAF