Olympics update – Solomon through to semis – Aleh in top position

August 5, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Steven Solomon has advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics in a personal best and NZ sailor Jo Aleh is leading the field in the women’s 470 sailing event.
Steven’s father Michael Solomon watched his son’s 45.18 performance alongside the runner’s mother Lucille and sister Bianca…he sent this report.
10-30am…….. Start of the 400 heats……….. Heat one had Santos who beat Steve at the World Juniors and is an amazing runner together with the Blade runner, Oscar Pistorius, the guy with below knee amputations who had the same seasons best as Steve.. 52.2  Great opening race and the scene was set.

winning his heat

The heats rumbled on. I was grateful for Harry Procell’s stats recording as after each heat he told me what he thought the 3 fastest qualifiers would need to get into the semi final if they did not make the top 3 finish in the heat. The calculation was that Steve would have to finish around 45-5 to ensure progression… this gave me hope as the track was fast  (remember the designers loved curry)

We had amazing seats….. 6 rows from the front at the start of the 100m and so could see the 400 runners coming around the top bend straight at us……. the photos tell the story. More importantly the runners came out of the call room at the 100m start and walked right past us down to the start.
Heat six arrived……. They were led out by the official and suddenly Steve appeared almost in touching distance. He was totally focussed pulling his Aussie hand luggage travel bag…… for a moment I thought he was looking for his departure gait.
How were the Solomon family feeling…………………… numb is probably an apt description.
On your marks………………..  set………………………. boom……. the gun goes off and now its on…. for real……… my son is running in the Olympic Games and the crowd is going balistic……… for the British runner in the same heat  but hey who cares.. atmosphere is atmosphere and the place is LOUD……… He comes around the top bend and we are looking straight at him……… he is looking strong and lying 3rd on the bend……….. my gut feel is that he is going to be able to hang on to third and advance…………………… he heads down the final straight and the runners run away from us so we look at the big screen…………………..  the finish line gets closer and OMG OMG OMG Stevie has WON his heat………. the time flashes up on the board…………..45-18……………. a new PB and well within the Olympic A time………………..  the selectors are rejoicing almost as much as we were……………….. their faith in him was rewarded………………… more importantly Steve proved himself and did not let himself down……………… my biggest fear as he is so determined to succeed was that I was worried that if he ran a bad race he would be devastated.
I looked at Lucille and Bianca and we went BALLISTIC…………… the people around us got to hear that our son was running and had won and they joined the celebration. I started to cry…….. the reality had dawned that Stevie was in to the semi and has run a PB.  You have no concept on how big a deal this is when you experience the couldron atmosphere on the biggest stage in the world…………………………  unfuckingbelieavable.
The emails and texts start hitting my phone in a frenzy. Apologies for those who tried to call but it was hectic…………..  I look at the scoreboard and I see that LeShawn Merritt DNF  (did not finish) ……….. the celebrations continue but I do feel sorry for Le Shawn as he is an awsome runner now that he stopped taking the happy ending tablets but it seems his hamstring finally led to an unhappy ending.
When the tears stop I start to analise the heat. Lucille’s bladder is about to pack up and she heads for facilities at almost the speed Steve took to run the heat….. so I am prepared to acknowledge that some of his speed is based on his mothers ability to  get to the Loo.
The Analyses:
LeShawn pulled up after 150 metres…………… now there were six runners left………….  Lalondo was running strong and he was always going to come second to LeShawn………. all these la la’s  lo Lo’s…………. maybe Steve should be Le Steve.  As per my last email the race was always going to be for 3rd and Steve had a chance…………Lalondo led into the home straight with huge strides and Steve was lying 3rd…….. then 2nd and then he just kept going and going and someone forgot to tell him that he did not need to win the heat.
Fantastic PB………. thanks to his determination and those curry loving track designers !!
I phoned Fira his coach………………………… “Mikail”  she said……………. He clever boy……………. he run de race just like I told him………….. he run perfect…………  she was so happy. Steve’s training squad were holding a party (Team Fira) and they went off. One of Team Fira took a bumpy video of the scene when Steve won and here is the link
http://yfrog.com/jj54300147tggahddmjblxkxibmeyz
The rest of the morning’s events became a blur as for the next hour I was reading texts and emails…………… thanks to all who sent  and thanks also to all who did not send as the volume was overwhelming..
The final event of the morning…. mens 100m heats with the great UUUUUUUsain Bolt 10 metres in front of me and lots of pictures for the Solo groupies….. enjoy. Current world champ Yohan Blake as well as Osaffa Powell were there and photos attached.
Finally the morning was done…………… mentally and emotionally drained but elated we headed for the exits… we just wanted to chat to Steve but there was no chance as he was doing his warm down, having physio / massage etc…. no drug test fortunately as they can be a pain in the arse waiting to produce a proper sample…. not easy when the body is fluid repleneshing.
As we sit in Marks and Spencers food hall having lunch and digesting the mornings events the draw for the heats come out. Steve is in Lane 6 first heat (1 of 3) and has missed some of the favourites expected in the final with medal prospects.
Now the reality is that he will need to run a 44-8 second heat to make a final……….. we can only dream………. it’s not impossible but it is a massive massive ask. He ran flat out today to run a PB and he will need to run even quicker to drop another 0.4 seconds. The big names to watch are the Borlee brothers, Kirani James, Santos and then some of the Caribbean runners all who won their heats and coasted home.
We finally spoke with Steve this evening.  He sounded good, felt OK but knows he will be a little sore tomorrow. The schedule is punishing to back up 34 hrs later with another PB and to run a 44-8. As much as today was simply unbelievable please do not get your hopes up to high as making an Olympic final in the 400 is not impossible but reality is he will need to pull of something extraordinary that has never been done before in the history of this event.
As far as I am concerned he has achieved more than we could have imagined…. running a big PB in the OLYMPIC GAMES winning his heat and reaching a semifinal……… the rest is simply a bonus…………. he is young and 400m runners peak between 24-28
The day ended with Indian take aways at home in recognition of the fast track…………… I may be up a few times again tonight.
The semifinal is tomorrow at 8-40pm local time . He is in heat 1 of 3
5-40 AM Monday morning Sydney time……….
In the meantime, Jo Aleh’s dad is making his way from israel to join his daughter in Wemouth where the competition for Gold in the Women’s 470 sailing event is well underway.
Her mother Jo sent J-Wire this report:  “Hi now she’s running first. You need good nerves for these competitions! Four races done , six more and then the medal race next Friday . The ideal situation is for her to  amass a points lead so that the medal isn’t so critical because that is a high stakes race with double points over a short course with no room for errors. Will get you contact details. Her

Dad is just flying in now  from Israel to watch her too.  Currently in Korea  flying thru to London later today.”
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr Danny Lamm told J-Wire: “We are very proud of Steven’s achievement so far and wish him every success in the semis.”
Solomon’s 78-yr-old coach Fira Dvoskina has been in touch with her charge from her Sydney home through Skype. She told J-Wire: “I am so excited and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will make it to the finals.” J-Wire asked her if the moment was looming when Solomon would break the 45 second barrier. She said: “We can only hope.”

Comments

3 Responses to “Olympics update – Solomon through to semis – Aleh in top position”
  1. On getting in the final has even exceeded his father`s expectation.
    What an outstanding performance this morning, he held his nerve, ran to his race plan, and as they say, the rest is history.!
    all the best for tomorrow`s final, enjoy the experience.
    you have done yourself proud.

  2. Odile Faludi says:

    What an inspirational achievement. The whole of the Jewish community and Australia is behind Steve. Whatever happens now is a bonus as his father so correctly said. You are the winner in our eyes!!
    Well done and Mazeltov!

  3. A truly moving account Henry. Mazal Tov to Steven .

    David Wilson

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