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Steve's personal notes from Gotzis {Austria}


Following my last competition in Desenzano, I have been named in the World University Games team for the WUG in Shenzhen, China. This is my first Australian team, and looking forward to preparing for this competition once I return from Europe. A big thank-you to everyone that has helped me over many years to make this possible. 

And so from Italy to Switzerland, Germany then Austria, and now in Prague.... it has been quite the experience thus far.

GOTZIS, Austria. 27th Ė 28th May 2011. 

Having the opportunity to compete at Gotzis this past weekend was incredible! With great sunny weather and thousands of supporters there solely for multi events, cheering and clapping your every attempt, was an atmosphere like no other. It is too hard to describe with words, the difference to any other decathlon I've competed in, where often multi event athletes are pushed aside and not given due recognition, whereas in Gotzis there was a definite celebrity status that came with being an athlete.  



Everyone involved with the weekend was supportive and excited to be involved in such an amazing competition.  Whilst back in Melbourne we have the best officials in the world with Judy, the Dellís, Terry, Simon, Peter & the crew.... the officials and competition directors at Gotzis ensured everything was for the athletes. Even with two high jump and two pole vault pits running at the same time, the comp was staggered that every athlete was the focus while jumping, with the other pit waiting for their attempt before the next athletes attempt. 

To quickly describe the atmosphere: Thousands of cheering spectators, banners, horns and pumping music with every throw or jump, countless video cameras taking footage from every angle and many more photographers in all corners of the stadium!! ALSO... it is the stadium where Roman Sebrle set the world record of 9026 points! AND Ė all this for Decathlon! 

Unfortunately, being hit with sickness for most of the two weeks leading up to the competition, my physical state wasnít 100% and I was disappointed not to perform as well as I mentally expected. 


Competition rundown: 

DAY 1:

I was definitely looking to take much more away from the weekend than just a good score, and found myself watching other athletes warm up as much as I was warming up myself. Conditions were good and the track felt fast so was looking forward to the 100m. 

100m: With a pretty good start (much better than Desenzano) I ran very well for the first half of the race, and potentially lacked some speed endurance in the later stages and finished with 11.39 (-0.8) which was slightly faster than my last competition though was disappointed not to have finished the race as strong as I started. 

Long Jump: I was looking forward to jumping big off a new and longer run up I hadnít competed on before. I felt ready to go in the warmup, just off the back of the board with each practice run up. I was annoyed that I finished with a best jump of 6.76 (-1.1) as I felt ready to jump much further though wasnít to be. 

Shot Put: With a warmup that got progressively better with each throw, and a couple over the 14m mark I was looking forward to another good throwing competition. With three unexplainably bad throws it didnít do my chances of a good decathlon score any favours to throw 12.98m. I was obviously very disappointed to not get a good throw in competition. 

High Jump: In some ways was my shining light of an otherwise poor first day, with an improving series of jumps and finishing with a season best of 1.97m. It was also great to have a few decent attempts at an equal PB of 2.00m which was pleasing as high jump is an event that through injury I've struggled with for many years recently. 

400m: Whilst the race took me a long time to finish, I'll keep this report brief! First 200m felt good, whether tired/sick or something else... didnít have any energy or legs to move me any faster than an unfortunate 51.20, the slowest Iíve run in quite some time. Heat and lane changes 5 minutes before the race instantly changed my race plan, but no excuse for a slow run. 

Overall DAY 1: I had my sights set on an improved day 1 performance after Desenzano, and hence was not jumping for joy with a disappointing 3735 points. There were many highlights from the day, such as watching Trey Hardee run 10.44 and follow with a 7.88m long jump and even a 15.63 standing shot put!!



DAY 2: 

Motivation was potentially down a little after my goal of 8000points wasnít assisted by my first day score, though was definitely fired up to run a PB hurdles. I was probably more tired and sore than usual after day 1, but ready to make the most of the second day. 

110m Hurdles: Everything felt ready for a PB, though a pair of dead legs found me reaching for hurdles and smashing through most of them. My hurdles have been improving with each race and to finish with 15.05 (-0.8) considering the hurdles in my lane did more forward tumbles than a Russian gymnast, it was encouraging to know even a terrible race is 15secs. Not a good start to the second day!! 

Discus: Similar to the shot put, my warm up got progressively better with each throw and I was very happy to open with 41.01m considering the throw itself was less than convincing. This filled me with confidence for the final two rounds, though with the discus slipping out of my hand on the second throw, still floating over 40m and not managing any further on my final throw, was disappointed to be left with 41.01m as my best throw. 

Pole Vault: The atmosphere was simply amazing, vaulting on the same pit as the big boys, Trey Hardee (world champion), Leonel Suarez, Mikk Pahapill and Eelco Sintnicolaas who jumped 5.36!! Hoping/expecting a PB with the environment I was in, and with three jumps on my bigger pole (16Ē 190) I should have jumped higher than the 4.96m I finished with. With a clearance at my opening height of 4.46 I passed to 4.66 where I had two failures which definitely got my heart pumping with only one attempt left. After a third attempt clearance, I passed to 4.86 where I somehow took off two feet too close, clearing on my second attempt.  I was of course very happy to have another consistent pole vault competition, and considering my legs had been aching since the start of the high jump the day before, I was glad I could get down the run up at all. If only all pole vault comps had thousands of screaming and clapping spectators and super loud music bouncing you down the runway! 

Javelin: As in Desenzano, my elbow was far from 100% so the plan again was to tightly tape it and have no warmup throws. Unfortunately not all went to plan, as it took me my three throws to get a feel for what i needed to do and missed all three. Looking back i guess it was exciting to know how a terrible throw still went 57.85m. I just hope that we can get the elbow to a stage where we can do some training on it in the lead up to Shenzhen. 

1500m: With such an unfortunate competition leading up to the 1500m, it was hard initially to find motivation to finish off strong, though it was Gotzis. I started right on pace, maybe a little slower than usual going through the first lap in 71sec. From here I battled to maintain pace and it was only with 120m to go I found a second wind with Trey Hardee slowly coming back to me, so had to take the chance to beat him in 1 event. The time of 4:42.40 wasnt flash but relieved to have finished the competition, sore and tired but in one piece.  

Overall DAY 2: An improvement on day 1 but far from what I was hoping for, scoring 3797 points.



GOTZIS Summary:  

My personal performances were nothing to write home about (even though thatís just what I am doing), though to look at the positives, my final score of 7532 would have been 15 points off a PB prior to travelling to Europe. At the end of the day I finished 17th of 27 starters.  Gotzis has been by far the most amazing competition I have been involved in. With the top 11 athletes scoring over 8000 and Trey Hardee winning with a score of 8689, it was great to witness the best in the world in action!!  

A big congratulations to Brent Newdick (NZL) on his 8th place and PB of 8114, a great effort!! Also a big thanks to coaches Steve Buckly (NZL) and Sepp Schmidl (AUT) for their help though the competition, and to our German hosts and support crew led by Caro and Dominik! 

From here: We are now currently in Prague, recovering and training up for our final European competition in Kladno. Provided we are able to recover and get back to 100% health, we will compete on the 15th Ė 16th June. Whilst in Prague we will train at the Strahov Athletic Stadium, where the previous world record of 8994 was set by Tomas Dvorak.  

Again, more than happy to fill you in on any other details you might be interested in regarding my travels or competitions. Also, if you didnít receive my previous competition report from Desenzano (Italy) and you would like it, please let me know. 

All the best,  

Steve Cain