During Friday (7th) evening's competition at the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships, some top athletes visited the press tribune and contributed to the competition blog.
Jeremy Wariner, two-time 400m World champion, visited during the men's 400m heats, where he pointed out familiar faces among the athletes on the track, including Sean Wroe, who raced Wariner in Melbourne in February.
"Sean was smart to get out fast; there was too much bumping in that heat. He was entered with no time because he hadn't run indoors before."
Wariner also watched the end of the men's Shot Put final with interest, having been on national teams with both Cantwell and Hoffa in the past. As the final puts were happening, though, Wariner noted a 400m heat standing behind their blocks and noted, "If I was down there, I'd be mad by now. They've been standing and waiting to run for over five minutes."
Wariner has studied the form of his competitors enough to know when they're strong and when they're hurting. About Michael Mathieu (BAH), who was one of the fastest non-qualifiers, Wariner quipped, "He's not struggling, that's just how he runs." Wariner paid particular attention to that heat, where he picked out Tyler Christopher of Canada to "take the break," an important strategic point in the indoor 400m.
Sanya Richards expanded on "the break" when she came by for the women's 400m rounds. Richards watched a former University of Texas teammate, Moushami Robinson, qualify in the early heat, then explained the break during the second heat.
"I was impressed with Shareese Woods at the US Nationals. I want to see how she does internationally. You have to get the break in this race, [because] it's so hard to pass indoors. Shareese is definitely running to get the break."
"I don't know why the 400 indoors is so much harder than it is outdoors. The women are having such a hard time recovering."
"For a first round, these times are pretty impressive. The Russians have a great command of the indoor races, they've won the last 3 or 4.
“But I really hope Moushami can get a medal and upset the Russians. She has a good shot."
Richards added, "It's really exciting to be a spectator at a meet like this. It's making my blood bubble for the Olympics."
Finally, Maurice Greene, World record holder in the men's 60m (among many other honours) visited during the 60m final. Greene immediately announced his picks for the final:
"I'm picking Fasuba, Chambers and Collins for the final." Though Rodgers was heavily favoured before the meet, Greene said, "This is Rodgers' first time here. Kim is a pro, especially in finals. Rodgers looks like he's asleep. He needs to be awake. Dwain (Chambers) looks asleep, but he just has a lot on his mind."
Greene's picks turned out to be prescient, as he had all three medallists in the correct order - particularly perceptive as few others were picking Fasuba to win. Greene's assessment of Fasuba's chances in Beijing were, "That's about a 10.0 race. He'll be good for that outdoors. First and second is already sewn up [between Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell]. We just don't know which way it will go."
A new IAAF Ambassador, Greene is clearly cut out for the job, because while he admits he misses the competition, he still loves watching the races, and his enthusiasm is infectious, just as it was in his competitive days.
Parker Morse for the IAAF