We arrived on Wednesday evening in that little Austrian town on the border with Switzerland, called Götzis. Everyone who’s supposed to know something about athletics knows also that this place is the Mekka of the multievents.
I went to the stadium next day to meet the beautiful Renate Öhy, she’s chief of press and to me this woman is the blond goddess of the stadium. She has the most beautiful eyes of them all.
If she knew decathlon 2000? What sort of question is that? Of course she knew about the famous Est site. At once Austrian hospitality was shown to me because Renate didn’t receive my emails but she was immediately very helpful to me.
Every athlete who comes to Götzis excels. This is simply “holy ground” for the true athlete and the real fan. It is eighth years now that I visit the Mösle-stadion and each year I have been talking to athletes from all over the world, so it was about time that this information got on the internet. Thanks to Janek and Enn this could be made possible.
Thursday afternoon I saw Bryan Clay in the track and field stadium, some local newspaper did a photo shoot with him and then with Roman, so I heard a few questions and answers from this paper with Roman. Ten minutes later Bryan as well as Roman where prepared to give an interview for Decathlon 2000.
How do you feel, Bryan?
Bryan: I had some problems last year but now I’m back on track. I did some good performances in 100 m, the hurdles, discus over 50 m and a very good javelin (his second best javelin throw ever – over 71 metres) and I’m feeling confident to make a good decathlon.
How is your arm, Roman?
Roman: Yes I received a javelin in my shoulder while I was training in South Africa.
Bryan: (joking) I threw the javelin to him. (It was a female athlete; Roman didn’t pay attention and was very lucky)
Roman: My arm is all right, I can do everything I want with that arm.
So it didn’t affect your throwing?
Roman: No, in fact I was already training again with that arm after three days, I threw also more than 16 metres (Shot) in heptathlon this winter.
Bryan: two years ago I broke a rib, throwing the javelin here in Götzis.
What is your goal now at this moment, breaking the record?
Bryan: I don’t think about breaking the world record now here in Götzis because it’s to early in the season. As you know I have to peak in Osaka at the world championships.
Did you guy’s improve in certain events (in training)?
Bryan: no, but I feel I’m consistent on a same high level.
Roman what was you’re discus-pb that you did in training?
Roman: exactly 50 metres! (more than a year ago)
In what events do you think you still can improve, Roman?
I hope to do better in shot-put and discus, maybe also in the javelin.
In fact what are athletes like you two doing in the weightlifting room, what are your pb’s in bench-press, clean and jerk, squat and snatch?
Bryan: I don’t do the clean because it hurts when I do to much this movement but I do snatch with not to much (he didn’t mention how much). For the squat I take 315 pounds (142 - 143 kg) for my series 3 x 10. My bench press pb is also 315 pounds.
Roman: I do clean but not the snatch because I don’t feel comfortable with it, but I don’t train with the maximum. I don’t really squat but my best bench press is 145 kg.
(Note: when Mike Smith came to the meeting a few years ago I asked him the same question and he said his best clean was 160 kg!)
How is your 1500 m, Bryan?
I hope to run a 4.45.00 this year because we really worked on it.
What are your favoured events, Bryan?
I like the second day although that may sound as a surprise because of the 1500 m. True, the last event is not my favourite (it’s also a question of genetics) but I like very much the other events of the second day.
No injuries at the moment?
Bryan: I feel a little pain in my knee but I will be prudent.
How come you are that good friends?
Bryan: I like him not for his athletic capabilities but for the person he is, he’s a good man and has a good heart. (Note: a little bit earlier I heard Roman saying almost the same words!)
Did you have a roll model, Bryan?
That’s very difficult to say because there have been very good athletes out there, but if someone has been very helpful to me I have to say that’s Roman.
Who was the best American decathlete?
Bryan: I hope I will be one day.
Do you like other sports, I heard you also play golf with Roman?
Bryan: I like all sports especially competitive sports but my golf is not so good, Roman is much better in golf.
Roman: (he just came back and heard what Clay was talking about and jokes) Bryan is a very good driver – he drives those little cars on the golf terrain.
Bryan: but then again I’m the best soccer player (of course Roman is the best soccer player).
(Note: if Roman was not doing decathlon he would certainly have tried soccer.)
Roman: he means American football.
Will you break the world record this year?
I really don’t know. Everything has to come together.
Other reporters start asking questions:
What does it mean to you – the world championships compared for example to this meeting in Götzis and do you feel pressure to win?
Bryan: You know the pressure to win is of course always there. About the World Championships and the hypomeeting – Osaka like all big meetings have a very good track but Götzis is the best meeting in the world, I wish all world championships could be done here! Of course you have to understand that everything I do now is in function of Osaka!
Further this week other highlights from Götzis.
Chris Vlamynk for Decathlon 2000