The proudest family in Australia

August 6, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Go through Sunday with Michael Solomon…culminating in his 19-yr-old son Steven’s amazing achievement in reaching the final of the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics…

from Michael Solomon in London…

We were still  on a high from yesterdays amazing PB in round one and thank you to everyone who sent emails , texts, calls etc. Today we had tickets for the Bronze medal tennis match at Wimbledon. Having never been to Wimbledon and being a keen tennis player / follower I felt the pilgrimage to the hallowed green turf was a necessaity. I woke at 4-45am still thinking about Steve’s race from the day before and wondering how he will pull up for todays semifinal. There was thunder and lightening outside………………….. not Steve’s race atmosphere but the real deal……. typical English summer day.
The team had second thoughts about Wimbledon but I insisted we go not only to see the game (Djokovic vs Del Potro) but to try and get me mind off thinking about the evening events.  Wimbledon was in all its summer splendour……….. wet………….. wet………………. and wet.  The game was halted for around 45 minutes to ensure all spectators from abroad had the opportunity to enjoy the true atmosphere of Wimbledon huddled on benches under the stands whilst the gods sent down the daily dose of water to ensure that Great Britain remains very green…………………. and sloshy.
So during the “water break”  sounds better than “rain delay”, at least this is a more sporting way of declaring England as one big puddle, we reflected on the night to come. We had one minor problem………….. so I thought……………. the elusive 5th ticket to ensure that Lucille’s sister and husband would get into the stadium.
The ticket story is the following. I was able to pre-purchase 2 tickets for Steve’s event meaning that round 1 of the 400 and 4 x 400 was covered for 2. I managed to purchase an additional 4 ticks to these two events last December paying CoSport (The Official agency) an arm and a leg for these Official Tickets…………………. shit someone is making a bucket load of cash from these games………………….. how delighted I am to assist them in their profits.
Yesterday we were OK. 4 tickets for Lucille, Bianca, Myself and then 2 more for Amanda and Steve and one for Kevin who made a decision last week that he was going to fly over to watch Steve.
So bugger me…………. Steve decides to win his heat, run a PB and advance to the semifinal…………………………….  this was not part of the script Steve………. what the hell …….. now how did he think his family were going to see him.
Two tickets for six people just simply does not work. We are staying with Lucilles cousin who is married to a real smart guy….. an actuary/ banker…………  he confirmed that 2 only goes into six if you are running a Ponzi scheme !!! and the last guy who perfected this for a while is now in jail for life in New York.  I was going to give Maddof a call to see if had any ticket contacts but clearly he was resigned to watching the race on the small cell screen himself.
Just before I left Sydney for Barcelona I decided to put pride in my pocket and called Judy Lowy to see if there was a spare ticket she could muster up for Sunday night incase Steve made the semi and then together with the 2 athletic australia tickets this would make 3 and the Solomon clan were catered for.  Judy was amazing (Westfield are a small sponsor) and the next thing I know I get an email from Westfield asking me to fill out the registration form for both Lucille and Myself. At this point in time I had no idea that Steve was going to deviate from the script and make the semi final however at least I then had 4 tickets. (2 courtesy of Westfield and 2 from Athletics Australia AA.)
Now the extended family feud was starting to brew. The Solomon’s were safe but the Bermans had to decide who was taking the remaining AA ticket. Amanda advised her husband that she has a blood line connected to Steve as he is her nephew. Steven (Her husband…… big Steve from now on)…….. told Amanda that he was the breadwinner (biscuit winner as he has a biscuit factory amongst his other food business interests) and hence had the right to claim the last ticket.
Fortunately the rain delay in Wimbledon allowed big Steven to check his weekly profit taking and he decided to phone the local London ticket tout to see what was available for tonight.
One thing for sure………………… the Poms have the best scalpers in the world as even though there a strict rules about no on-selling tickets for the Olympics, these cocknee speaking proffesionals will be able to sell your mother-in law for an astronomical fortune and the purchaser will think he has got the deal of the lifetime !!
20 minutes later the autoteller near wimbledon is about to be hit big……. just as well those biscuits and salmon imports are being bought by us Aussies.
The match ended………………  the rain had stopped and I even got burnt……………… never thought sun tan cream in London was meant to be for the skin rather I thought it was used to make the underground look slick when plastered on the walls.
We told the girls to head for our usual meeting spot…………….. Marks and Spencers at Westfield whilst big Steve and I headed for Baker Street to meet Brad……. the guy who will sell you anything for a few hundred quids I called Brad who directed us to the Barclays Bank for the rondevoux. I thought for a moment that he had made so much from touting that maybe he owns the bank or he uses it as his “shop front”  The Bank was shut…………. sunday remember …………… and he appears with ticket in hand. A brief exchange of pleasantaries, Big Steve’s wallet goes from being pregnant with triplets to the size of a super slim condom…………… but hey……………. now everyone has a ticket.
Off to the stadium. We meet the others…… head up to the Westfield Hospitality Lounge to collect my tickets and then off to collect the final 2 tickets that were waiting for me on the other side of the Olympic park entrance.
Well I would not be telling you this long winded story at 2-35am if there was no more drama…………………………  Drama there was and it was entirely my fault.
Having filled out Lucilles and my details for Westfield hospitality as per their email I assumed they had 2 seats for us………….  I off course had forgotten that I asked Judy for only one ticket for Sunday night one month earlier.
Suddenly we were down one ticket and the athletics were starting in 1 hr. I had earlier sent an email to Mark Nicholas (Channel 9) who’s family I have treated over the last few years, and who I asked if he could find a ticket (prior to the mother-in-law selling tout purchase). Mark only read my email and contact details at 6pm and called me straight away apologising but unable to help.
I was about to break the bad news to big Steve that either he or Amanda needed to test how well the London transport works in the opposite direction when Myff enters our lives. Myff works for Westfield and she deserves the promotion of all promotions. Not only does she come up with a ticket……………. Thank you thank you thank you……………… but she arranges for Bianca and Amanda to get into a Westfield buggy to be taken to the other end of Olympic park to collect the last 2 tickets from AA. Now remember there are around 150000 people milling around at this point and it needs special skils, entry through prohibited areas etc etc to get to the ticket office. I gave Bianca the codes i was given to collect.
Lucille, big Steve and I head to the stadium……………… still no word from Bianca or Amanda………………….. finally a phone call………… the codes are WRONG. They can not release the tickets !!!!!!
The athletic starts in 15 minutes…………………… I frantically check me email on the iphone  (well done Steve Jobs again) and find the codes………. relay the codes to Amanda……………… YES the final 2 tickets in hand.
Myff arranges a second buggy to take Bianca and Amanda to the track as it is now bedlem……………… Finally we all make it into the stadium
A HUUUUUGE HUGE thank you to Westfield and all those who helped get the Solomons into the Stadium. You need to realise that tonights session included the 100m finals and there were 2 million applications for 70000 tickets as the rest go to press, sponsors etc etc.
WE ARE IN scattered around the stadium but we are there as a family  !!!!!!

Michael, Bianca and Lucille Solomon

8-25pm……. the 1500 metre semifinal ends and into the stadium come the runners for HEAT 1 of the 400. They line up and walk in from the call room in their lane order………….. Steve is in 6…………………………. he has his hand luggage pull on bag and looks focussed.We are on the other side of the stadium so I use the 400mm telephoto lens to snap and snap so many pictures. You will be glad to know I wont clog up your emails tonight as I am now getting to tired to downsize the pics…. but clear your emails as it will come tomorrow.

There is a medal ceremony before the Heat and I can see all the runners getting edgy. Finally the time comes……………………. the field announcer goes through  each runner and there he is STEEEEEVE on the massive screen with a beautiful smile on his face……………………………
On your mark………………………. they go down……………………. set……………………………. crack… the gun goes off and the crowd errupts as there is a Pom in the heat…………………… Steve shoots out the blocks and heads towards us……………. we are in row 7 at the start of the back straight…………….. Lucille screams so loudly that my left ear wants to abandon my head……………….. I snap as many photos as I can before they head away from us………………… the roar from the crowd becomes deafening as they hit the top bend……………………… Steve is in 7th place and hanging in there……………………… they hit the home stretch and the noise is getting louder and louder…………………… who will qualify……………………….. suddenly from no where the Aussie finds immense strength and starts gaining on the field………………… what the fuck is happening…………….. Steve is catching the leaders…………………….. the finish line is in touching distance and he keeps going and lunges……………………………  44-97 !!!!!!!!! he breaks 45 seconds and is 0.03 seconds from finishing 2nd and having a guaranteed finals spot……………………..  another PB, two in 2 days and his 3rd in 3 weeks………………. this can not be true…………………. I am numb………………. we have to wait for 2 more heats to see if he advances…………………..
Heat 2 blasts out of the blocks………………. they hurtle past me and I scream at Kirani James  (This guy will win tomorrow) to SLOW DOWN……………………… they cross the line and the third place guy (Borlee) is timed at 45-99 !!!!  Steve is 0.2 seconds on his inside………………………….. hang in their Solo……………………  I see Steve waiting and watching in the press stand next to the track watching these 2 semifinals…………………… what must be going through this poor boys head…………………….
Heat 3………….. crack…… the gun explodes and they are off……………… this time I scream at Santos to SLOW DOWN…………………….. they hit the home straight and cross the line………………………. all eyes on the big screen…………………………….. who came 3rd and what is his time………………. we wait……………………
THERE IT IS………………3rd placed runner in heat 3 runs………………. 45-02    HE HAS MADE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!……………………  STEVEN SOLOMON HAS QUALIFIED FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES 400m FINAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I start crying. …………. I can’t stop crying………………….  my phone starts exploding with calls and emails and texts……………………. one from ABC radio Adam Spencer …………… see the ABC link attached and click on the Audio

The run for the line

STEVEN SOLOMON…………….  OLYMPIAN……………… PROUD AUSTRALIAN ……………… INTO THE FINAL OF THE LONDON OLYMPICS………………………………………..  what happened to the script………………..
this was meant to be in 4 yrs time  in RIO. The AA selectors gave him the chance to experience the cauldron of running an Olympic 400m race by selecting him on a discretionary selection using the RIO clause  (refer to my email from Barcelona 3 weeks ago). He has run 2 A-Qualification times in 2 days smashing his PB twice …………………….. someone tell me that this is not a dream !!!!!!
I finally compose myself, I received 80 text messages in 10 minutes……………. sorry I did not reply……………….. spread the word………. we are so so proud of Steve………………………. the way he ran and the way I am told he conducted himself in the post race interviews and ………………………. simply for the person he is      ………………….. This kid has lifted everyones spirits and I can not believe how many people woke early to watch him run.
Usain Bolt blew the track away at 10pm…………….. the crowd roared their approval ………………….. what a night ……………… Mark Nicholas called me to say the Channel 9 camera crew are heading towards our seats for a quick trackside interview…………………. watch tonight
We finally head home…………. Full credit to the Organisers who get 80000 people onto public transport in the most superb and efficient manor…………… we finally get home at midnight and crack the champagne and watch the reply on BBC ……………………. what a night what a night.
I spoke to Steve on the phone as we headed home………….. his adrenalin was sky high……………. just as well they don’t test for natural adrenalin levels. He sounded beautiful………. just a happy 19 yr old who had blown every prediction out of the water……………….  How will he pull up ???
Three 400m races in 3 days in an olympics is punishing………… How will his body recover……………… will he be able to sleep tonight as he thinks about walking out tomorrow night on the BIGGEST OF ALL STAGES …………………………………… THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Here I am “blogging” at 4am………………. I just hope he is asleeo …………….
My analyses for tomorrow  ………………….
Krani James is the favourite in my books…………… amazing runner and won the world champs last year (I attach a picture of the 2 of us in Korea at world champs………………….  I told Steve at the time that clearly I carry the genes as I had an affair in Granada 21 yrs ago and caught up with my son at the world champs…….. Now I think I was dreaming at the time as I found my legitimate son in London………………………… in the Olympics…….
Steve is 7th fastest qualifier……….. he has GUTS as we all witnessed today………. there are 8 bodies aching tonight………………. the 3 fittest and quickest will survive and will stand on the podium tomorrow………………………..  I don’t care who it is that makes it onto the podium …………….. today I witnessed and experienced scenes that will live with me forever…………………. I am so sorry that his 2 grandfathers were not alive to witness todays events but somehow I know that they new the result before we all did. Lucille’s late mom passed away before I met her yet I am sure she too knows what happened tonight
Tomorrow (or technically today) is the Olympic 400m final, last event for the night
6-30am Sydney time
Please Please Please  do not be disappointed if Steve does not reach the levels we are all hoping for……………………. he has reached much more than that already………………….. he is pure………….. GOLD
GO STEVE GO
Editor’s note:  Mum Lucille and sister Bianco share the pride!

Comments

3 Responses to “The proudest family in Australia”
  1. My dear Lucille and Michael
    It was with interest as well as pride that I have observed the amazing performance of Steven at the Olympic Games. You are justifiably proud of this warm, friendly and unassuming young man who
    gave his all to do his very best for his country and his family. He did so well, even though he did not receive a medal. and obviously enjoyed the whole experience to the full. I just wanted to share with you the elation I felt as I watched your son achieve so much and I have no doubt that the two of you were
    instrumental in no small way in helping Steven get where he is today. I wish him all the best for the future.
    With warm regards
    Norma

  2. Cecelia Newstadt says:

    What an inspiring boykie you have there!!
    My husband and i were crying with joy when watching him run.
    Your wonderful words were a pleasure to read – and as you said, he has given you and all his fans enough gold for the moment & even if there is no official placing – who cares – Kol Ha;kavod!!!
    My friend Norma Maisel from Cape Town wants to get hold of you. apparently she taught you both at Menorah pre-school a few years ago.I have her email if you want
    fondest Mazeltov and love
    Dave and cecelia

  3. Wonderfull story, i have tears in my eyes reading it.
    i am sure lots of Aussies will be praying for him.
    mazeltov

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