Rome, Italy
Friday 1st June 2012

It's been non-stop since arriving here in Rome with the GB 4 x 400m & 4 x 100m men's relay teams on Wednesday.  In addition to the two squads competing here, there were another 16 GB athletes that were invited to participate by the Diamond League for last night's event at the Stadio Olympico & so Rone (Thompson) was here to provide much needed support!

Unfortunately, Dai Greene & Perri Shakes Drayton had to withdraw in the morning due to injury & illness but that still left some British athletes eager to test their early season form against some of the World's best.  Meanwhile, the relay teams had a better morning & went down to the warm up track to shake off the travel stiffness with a short run through.  

The warm-up track at the Stadio Olympico is without doubt an inspiring venue in itself.  You enter the stone-stepped amphitheatre in gladiatorial style & are overlooked by imposing marble statues all around the perimeter, whilst the hilly backdrop also ensures that this complex makes it into my Top 5 Global Sporting Venues.  To access the stadium, you then navigate a long subterranean tunnel, which brings you out track side in the bowl of the arena, which seats 65,000.  Last night 55,000 were rocking to the beats thrown out by the local DJ, who managed to whip up a substantial frenzy at regular intervals.

Whilst Usain took the headlines with a season's best 100m time of 9.76s, Robbie Grabarz matched the feat & achieved a PB with a 2.33m in the high jump to take the first British "W" of the night & Greg Rutherford rose to the task on his last attempt to leap into first place with an 8.32min the long jump, just 3cm short of the British record he shares with Chris Tomlinson.  

The relay teams obviously fed off the momentum, with the 4 x 400m guys easing home in first & the 4 x 100m team just losing out for top spot, after leading up until the final baton change.  Several other GB athletes enjoyed satisfactory evenings, with a couple of disappointments but all in all it was job well done for the travelling party.

After returning to the hotel for some recovery work & a bite to eat, I put my head on the pillow after a long day in order to refresh for the weekend of relaxation I have planned in the Eternal City!

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