Every year, the traditional Strawberry Party takes place in the City Hall at the eve of the Bislett Games. Every year, press conferences are held with the stars of the meet. This year, the focus was on just one participant – Usain Bolt (seen right with the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang).
The dramaturgy of the event provided that the World’s fastest man was the third to talk to the media. First, former World record holder, Olympic and World Champion Donovan Bailey (CAN) talked about “how fantastic it is to be here” and remembered his own 200m race in Oslo. “In 1997, I won in 20.14, but I always hated this distance, there is a long way to go…Tomorrow, Usain is going to win. That’s my prediction.”
After Bailey, Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, with 20.26 seconds the fastest European over 200m this year, talked about his recovery after the race in Eugene, and about his expectations for tomorrow. “I’d like to run in lane 4, just behind Usain Bolt”, he said. “My goal? Sub 20.”
And then, finally, it was the moment of the superstar of the meet. Usain Bolt, in casual clothes and informal as always, talked about…
… his first impressions of Norway: “It’s the first time that I’m here, and the people on the street are very nice. Unfortunately, the weather is not that good.”… his training on Thursday: “I ran faster than my coach said to do. That’s a good sign, and the track seems fast!”… his relationship with the 200m: “It’s my favourite event.”… his first 200m competition after more than one year: “I don’t know. I will do my best and will try really hard.”… which running lane he would prefer: “Doesn’t matter.”… the time he wants to run: “I don’t know. I want to be first at the finish. Let’s see in which time.”… the fast times of opponents during the last days: “That means that I have to get in shape as good as possible. After Oslo, I will go home and train really hard.”… 100m times around 9.9 which is not his best level: “These times don’t bother me. I know that I have to put together physical form and technique for getting better. I’m focused on the World Championships.”… the World Championship Trials in Jamaica: “It is still not decided if I will participate or not. As reigning World Champion, I have a Wild Card in both 100m and 200m events.… the Greatest ever in Track and Field: “It’s impossible to mention just one. There were so many people who contributed in developing this sport.”
Some one-to-one interviews, some more pictures, and Usain Bolt disappeared. No strawberries for him today, no looking around in one of the most beautiful and famous buildings of the World. Bolt’s focus lies on tomorrow’s race. And on the upcoming World Championships.