Spikes30 Jan 2015

Bringing on back the good times


USA 4x400

If the 2015 indoor season is even half as good as it was in 2014, then we're all going to be in for a treat. Here are six moments from last year to remind you of bygone good times, and some of the stars to look out for this time round.

Air Lavillenie flies high

Imagine sitting down in your home town to watch a pole vault competition, the event in which you have held the indoor and outdoor world records for the last two decades, only for a Frenchman to set a new absolute world record and change everything.

That's exactly what happened to Sergey Bubka last year. But turns out he was actually quite happy for Renaud Lavillenie after he cleared 6.16m in Donetsk in February. Magnanimous Bubka said it made him the happiest man on earth and was the highlight of his year. That's the spirit of athletics right there.

Genzebe's world record triple

It can't be easy being the younger sister of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba. But last year Dibaba junior achieved a triple of her own, setting three indoor world records in the space of two weeks. 

On 1st February she clocked a 3:55.17 in the 1500m in Karlsruhe, beating the previous world record by over three seconds. On 6th February she ran a world record 8:16.60 in the 3000m at the XL Galan in Stockholm, improving her own PB by over 30 seconds. And then on 15th February she set a new world best 9:00.48 in the two miles in Birmingham, beating her compatriot Meseret Defar’s previous record by six seconds.

It was the first time anyone had achieved three world records in three different events in three separate cities. We're no mathematicians, but we believe the equivalent mathematical formula goes something like 3 x 3 x 3 = Genzebe.

USA beat themselves and the world

Before the final of the men's 4x400m in the Sopot world champs, teams from the USA held the world leading time, the championship record and the world record.

Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler III and Calvin Smith Jr. certainly had a lot to live up to. They also had the revved-up Jamaican and GB teams to compete against, with the reward of one of the biggest prizes in world athletics awaiting the victors. The American foursome thrived, finishing in 3:02.13 to smash the aforementioned teams, records and standings, and giving the Polish crowd the first and only world indoor record of the championships.

Up in the hair

Even in a men's high jump field of supreme quality, the flowing locks of Ivan Ukhov are always popular with the crowds. The Russian has a thirst for victory, and indeed quenched it in London when he became Olympic champion in 2012.

Last year in Prague he jumped a new personal best and European indoor record. His 2.42m was the second highest indoor leap in leaping history. Now that's something worth raising a glass to.

Eaton chases his shadow

The most captivating thing about the multi-events is that every single step, every throw, every jump can be the difference between ultimate success and failure. You can't ease off in a heat, or relax knowing the rest of the field can't catch you.

Well, actually, there are few in the world capable of catching Ashton Eaton, the world record holder in both the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon. But that doesn't stop him pushing, even if it just means chasing his own shadow.

And only a shadow of a split second came between Eaton and a new heptathlon record in Sopot, which left him short of his own best by a mere 13-points after seven events. But boy did he try, and dang did we enjoy watching him.

NR, PBs and WL for NB

No, not another mathematical equation. In the pentathlon in Sopot, a 23-year-old Nadine Broersen (NB) produced her very best form, setting four personal bests (PBs) in five of the events to win gold with 4830pts. It was also a world-leading (WL) score and a new Dutch national record (NR).

Her words afterwards say more than our laconic comment ever could: "I am just so happy. These are tears of joy in my eyes. My head is like a rollercoaster."