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  August 26, 2011
  A Surprising Welcome in Daegu
  August 27, 2011
  Eaton and Hardee Going Toe to Toe in the Decathlon at World Championships
  August 28, 2011
  Justin Gatlin Overcomes Frostbitten Feet at World Championships
  Symmonds Qualifies for 800 Final at World Championships
  Eaton Takes Second Place In World Championship Decathlon
  August 29, 2011
  Ashton Eaton Gains a Measure of Mental Ttoughness through the Difficult Competition at the World Championship
  August 30, 2011
  Brief Update: Centrowitz and Wheating
  Symmonds Takes Fifth in 800 Final at World Championships
  September 1, 2011
  Vessey Breezes through First Round of 800 at World Chanmpionships
  Galen Rupp Makes 5000 Final at the World Championships
  Jesse Williams Strikes Gold at Worlds
  September 2, 2011
  Rachel Yurkovich Looks Ahead to the 2012 London Olympics
  Vessey Finds Another Gear to Mark 800 Meter Final at Worlds
  Lauren Fleshman Finishes 7th in the 5000 Meters at World Championships
  September 3, 2011
  World Championships Bronze for UO’s Matthew Centrowitz
  September 4, 2011
  Galen Rupp Places Ninth in World Championship 5000 Meters
  Vessey’s Quest for 800 Meter Medal Ends with Bittersweet Final

A Surprising Welcome in Daegu

By Steve Ritchie
August 26, 2011

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – After travelling for 26 hours yesterday to get to Daegu, South Korea, the site of the IAAF World Championships in Track & Field, I was feeling tired and brain dead by the time my third plane of the day touched down in Daegu.

I picked up my bag and headed for the exit, intent only on getting a taxi and getting to my hotel as soon as possible.

I walked through the doors into the lobby of the airport, and was confronted by 300 or so Koreans of all ages, who began wildly applauding and waving flags as soon as they saw me! Dumbfounded, I stopped and glanced behind me, thinking maybe someone famous had followed me through the doors (a sensible thought given that retired sprint great Michael Johnson had been on the same plane as were several athletes competing here), but there was no one behind me. The crowd was, indeed, cheering for me.

Surprise turned to embarrassment. I tried to respond to their cheers with as big a smile as I could muster as I walked by. Reaching the door leading to the taxis and buses, I stopped and watched every single person from the plane get the same warm welcome as they came through the door I had passed through.

Deagu Stadium

I guess that is as good a reason as any to justify Daegu’s selection as host of these championships. This city of 2.5 million is not exactly a track and field hotbed, but its citizens are obviously proud and eager to have thousands of athletes, support personnel, media and fans flocking here. The strong economy of South Korea, and sponsors like Samsung probably didn’t hurt either.

Daegu Stadium holds about 70,000, and previously was used as one of the sites for the 2002 Soccer World Cup. Attendance is anticipated to be very good during the eight-day meet, and signs and murals promoting the championships are all over Daegu.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m. the women’s marathon and men’s decathlon will get things going here. The first two days of action are loaded with compelling events, especially for track fans in the state of Oregon.

Ashton Eaton will attempt to win his first medal in a major international competition and stamp himself as an Olympic favorite in the decathlon. Nick Symmonds will try to break through for a medal in the 800. Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, and Galen Rupp will try to overcome the heat and humidity here, as well as the outstanding African distance runners, to win glory in the 10,000 meters.

NBC will televise the meet on weekends and Universal will cover it during the week. Here’s a link to the TV broadcast schedule:

I will also be posting articles on this website each day on the athletes and events I am covering here.


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