Several of the key competitors in tomorrow’s DN Galan - Samsung Diamond League line-up met with the press this afternoon at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre.
Among those present were Olympic Shot Put champions Valerie Adams (NZL) and Tomasz Majewski (POL), Olympic Long Jump champion Brittney Reese (USA), Olympic Pole Vault champion Jennifer Suhr (USA), Olympic High Jump champion Anna Chicherova, along with Swedish stars Moa Hjelmer, Emma Green-Tregaro and Angelica Bengtsson, the World Junior champion in the Pole Vault.
Below is a partial transcript of some of the highlights....
Valerie Adams (NZL), 2008 and 2012 Olympic Shot Put champion:
On what her successful Olympic title defence means for New Zealand - I know that there are four million people and 16 million sheep in New Zealand that are going crazy.
On her plans for Friday’s meet and the rest of the season - I’m ready to roll again for the rest of the Diamond League series and looking forward to good performances and finishing up the season and then finally going home, since I’ve been in Europe now since the spring.
My goal tomorrow is to break the stadium record. This is actually the first time I’ve competed in the stadium, it’s going to be very exciting. I’m very excited to go back and compete after London. It’s going to be great.
On her London Olympic experience - London was the best Olympic I’ve been to. The atmosphere was amazing, the stadium was packed. There was roaring from left, right and centre, the butterflies were just running through your body. There were all these people screaming for all the performances.
Tomasz Majewski (POL), 2008 and 2012 Olympic Shot Put champion:
On how his second title feels - Two times feels better than one time. (laughs).
On the Olympic final - It was probably the best competition I ever had mentally. I was prepared for everything. When my rivals got a good throw, I got a better throw. It was very good for me tactically.
Most eyes were on David (Storl) and Reese (Hoffa), so I was in the shade a little bit. I’m always very good in major competitions.
On his experience since defending his title – It’s very much like it’s been the last four years: lots of media attention, interviews. People on the street greet me, congratulate me, want autographs. It’s great. It will be another four years of that. (laughs)
Did he personally consider himself the favourite – Yes of course. I wanted to defend my title so I did it.
I waited for this for four years, but it came very quickly. On that day everything worked perfectly. It was just another competition but I was prepared for everything. When I lost in Daegu I was in great shape but in my head there were mistakes (laughs). In this competition I was prepared for everything.
Brittney Reese (USA), 2012 Olympic champion Long Jump:
On her post-London celebration at home in Gulfport, Mississippi, where several thousand greeted her -
There was a great homecoming celebration. They were really excited that I brought something home for them. They knew I was devastated in 2008 and they knew that I was redeeming myself this year.
On becoming the first U.S. woman long jumper to win an Olympic title since Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988) - That’s a great person to follow in the footsteps of. She’s a great person on and off the track. It’s a great honour for me to follow in a great person’s footsteps.
On her expectations for DN Galan - It’s my third time competing here and I’m looking forward to a great competition. We’ll have 13 girls in the competition so we’ll be looking for some really good jumps.
On the challenging records in her event - The long jump records are tough. I’ve been getting better each year. I’ve jumped 7.20 this year. Hopefully 7.30 next year and then try to get better each year in order to get those records.
Jenn Suhr (USA), 2012 Olympic champion Pole Vault
On her London experience - There is so much training going into it, you don’t really feel anything. You have just one goal, one thing on your mind. So after the win, after it was over, there is just a huge rush of emotions. It was relief, it was excitement, it was pride, it was everything. That’s why I was so emotional. You train for this moment that you dreamed of. It’s not something you ever experience. I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s going to be with me forever.
On why she had a more consistent and successful season in 2012 – Being healthy is one of them. I had good solid training going into it. Right now technically I’m jumping well and if you can line that up with a meet you’re going to get better results.
On her expectations for the DN Galan - Each meet I try to treat them the same. I really focus on my opening bar and making that. Then the next bar after that. I really go into a meet from the grassroots and think very simply and try to execute that. And then climb the ladder.
On her expectations for the remainder of the season - After the Olympics I really considered going home and calling it a season. But I think I want to be in meets and competitions where I can relax and I can enjoy the Pole Vault. And enjoy competing and enjoy the atmosphere, and the crowd. So that’s what I’m really looking forward to for the rest of the season.
Anna Chicherova (RUS), 2012 Olympic champion High Jump
On her feelings now, as a few days have passed since her Olympic triumph in London – I can say that now when I think about it, it’s just a very special feeling I have inside. Like not being able to breathe. (laughs)
On any ambitions she may have to break the 2.09 World record set by Stefka Kostadinova in 1987 - After Brussels (2011), I understood that it was really possible. That maybe I could be successful. That maybe I could try it again. That maybe my next attempts could be better.
But after (the World Indoor Championships in) Istanbul I had many problems, mainly with my back. And after that and before London I had more problems, with my back but on the other side. So to tell the truth, when I came to track in London, I was thinking only about the win. Not the result.
On what is special about the 2.09 barrier - It’s high (laughs). If it wasn’t so special it wouldn’t have lasted 25 years.
But you must believe, you must be confident. And you must try and not have any barriers in your mind. But not just for me. But for all the girls who have already tried it and for those who will still attempt it.
Angelica Bengtsson (SWE), World Junior champion in the Pole Vault:
On her experience at the World Junior Championships - I came to World juniors as a favourite because I won two years ago, and I really enjoyed that.
On her expectations at the DN Galan - I hope that there will be good conditions. I feel that I am in good shape, just like I did at the Olympics. And I hope to jump high and set a personal record.
Emma Green-Tregaro (SWE), 2012 European Championships bronze medallist in the High Jump –
On her Olympic experience where she finished eighth - It wasn’t an easy competition. I had problems in recent weeks with my left Achilles and in my right foot as well, so it was very hard. Of course I am not satisfied with 1.93, of course I wanted to do better. But I’m proud of what I did given the problems with my feet.
On her expectations at the DN Galan - I hope that I can jump tomorrow and then at the national championships after that.
Right now I’m not sure (if I can jump at the DN Galan). I hope so, but I’m not sure.
Moa Hjelmer (SWE), 2012 European 400m champion:
On her European Championships 400m race - It wasn’t something I thought I could do before the race. But during the race I just found that with the audience really screaming, it gave me a lot of energy and I was able to finish first after a very good final 100 metres.
On her Olympic competition where she didn’t advance from the heats – I was just very satisfied with that European gold. So I guess my motivational level wasn’t as high as it should have been for the Olympics. It was hard to reload. It was maybe that I needed some more time and then not stopping so satisfied. Andnot wanting some more.
(The overall Olympic experience) was very important. It was very different from anything I ever experienced before. I learned a lot.