Oslo Diamond League Press Conference Highlights

Oslo Diamond League Press Conference Highlights

It’s always a pleasure to return to Oslo’s City Hall for the traditional strawberry party hosted by the mayor of the Norwegian capital on the eve of the ExxonMobil Bislett Games. The building is spectacular (I posted a tour a few years back on my blog), and the company always charming.

In attendance for the press conference were: sprinters Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Jamaican Elaine Thompson, ahead of their 200m showdown; Canada’s Andre de Grasse, Ameer Webb of the US and Kim Collins of St. Kitts & Nevis, who’ll contest the 100m; and Renaud LaVillenie of France and Canada’s Shawn Barber, respectively the Olympic and world champions in the pole vault.

My highlights summary for the IAAF is here.

With Momentum on His Side, Mottram Relishes Dream Mile Opportunity

With Momentum on His Side, Mottram Relishes Dream Mile Opportunity

A few words with Australian middle distance standout Craig Mottram on the eve of his appearance at the Dream Mile at Oslo’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games. The Intro:

Despite his oft-displayed humour, cheeky irreverence and laid back attitude, Craig Mottram has nothing but the utmost respect for tomorrow’s Dream Mile, the meet-capping signature event of the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, which is the start of the IAAF Golden League 2007.

“Tomorrow night’s going to be very tough to win,” said the 26-year-old Australian. “We’ve got a great field, it’s always loaded. That’s why it’s called the Dream Mile. There’s always great athletes and that’s why it’s a big challenge to win. Tomorrow night will be no exception. It’s going to be a great race.”

By any measure, the field is indeed deep with talent. Kenyans Alex Kipchirchir, arguably last season’s finest miler, and Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, the fastest in the world last year at 1500 metres and the winner of last weekend’s fast Prefontaine Classic race in 3:48.28, are both in the field.

But Mottram also arrives in the Norwegian capital with an impressive bit of momentum after his convincing 8:03.50 Prefontaine Two Mile victory over an all-star field. While the distance is rarely contested, Mottram’s performance is noteworthy for the fact that only Daniel Komen and Haile Gebrselassie have ever covered the distance faster.

“For this point in the season that was good running,” he said. “I spent five or six weeks at altitude in Flagstaff (Arizona) and it’s all part of getting ready for the World Championships. I haven’t lost sight of that. There’s still a lot of time and a lot work to be done before the World Championships. The race last week was a great result. And the race tomorrow will be another step in the right direction.”

Two years ago, his appearance in the Mile here was also a step in the right direction for the two-time IAAF World Cup 3000m champion. In a fiercely competitive race, he finished fifth, clocking a 3:49.98 Australian record.

“I ran a good Mile here at the beginning of the season and eventually went and got a medal at the World Championships,” Mottram said, referring to his bronze in Helsinki.

Mottram said he appreciates the camaraderie among the runners before the race all of whom, he firmly believes, come here to run their competitive best, despite the early date on the season calendar.

“This race has a lot of history behind it. Over the years everyone who’s come here to run has run well. It’s a good opportunity to come and run hard. Most people are coming here from a good chunk of training and racing here is a good indication of how that training had gone.”

“The Mile is an event that’s not often run,” he continued, “so we when you get the opportunity to do it, especially here in Oslo, then you make the most of it.”

The rest for the IAAF.