It is not a reopening. It is a resurrection. The (de) Vallehermoso stadium , which today reopens its doors after 12 years of darkness and silence, was an insecure corpse under the unforgiving sky of a forgetful Madrid. The hollow monument to useless nostalgia. He was knocked down to lift another larger and better enclosure on his site. A project that, while Madrid fought until exhaustion for an Olympic designation that never came, was losing momentum.
The capital offered Olympic Stadium the Peineta Stadium, today Wanda Metropolitano , owned by Atlético de Madrid and not the City Council, which transferred ownership. Once the Games moved away, the idea and the obligation to erect a new Vallehermoso, the emblematic stadium of the city, the first tartan track installed, in 1969, in Spain, came to life again. But they were diluting between dimes and political and budgetary leaders. There came a time when Vallehermoso seemed definitely dead, turned into a ghost that floated motionless over a bare and unusable crater.
But here it is, built on the desolation of its ruins, to return to the future. Its single name invokes, in national championships, rallies and records, the best of Spanish athletics for decades. Also, its ability and attractiveness to organize competitions with the cream of the international. Madrid and Spain entered the circuit. Vallehermoso was our entry into modernity and constituted a magnet and a school for a growing and understood hobby. A clientele that now has to be recovered from the same place that helped nourish and form it.
They stepped on Vallehermoso Linford Christie, Calvin Smith, Michael Johnson, Sebastian Coe, Said Aouita, Abdi Bile, Javier Sotomayor, Patrick Sjöberg, Colin Jackson, Dayron Robles, Dwight Phillips, Viktor Saneiev, Virgilijus Alekna, Merlene Ottey, Irina Privalova, Allyson Felix, Tatyana Lebedeva, Helena Fibingerová , etc., etc.
Vallehermoso's memory refers to specific events, magical today in distance and meaning, which were forged, brand by brand, verse by verse, its history and its legend. Like the II Ibero-American Games, in 1962 , one year after the inauguration of the venue. We discovered, marveling, under the first artificial lighting of some athletic tracks in Spain, the fiberglass pole, a novelty since 1961. The Puerto Rican Rolando Cruz , who had been fourth in the Rome Games, was driving it to gold '60. The stands, crowded day after day, celebrated with an overflowing enthusiasm the victories of Luis Felipe Areta (length and triple), Alberto Esteban (800 meters, in millimeter arrival with José Luis Martínez ) and A lfonso Carlos de Andrés (javelin throw) .
In Vallehermoso, on May 27, 1976, Rafael Blanquer jumped 8.01 in length. A milestone. The first Spanish brand above eight meters. In Vallehermoso, on June 4, 1987, Carl Lewis ran the 200 meters in 19.92, the best record of the test on European soil. In Vallehermoso, on July 16, 2005, Yelena Isinbayeva set a new world pole vault record (4.95).
But what forever embedded the name of Vallehermoso in the universal history of athletics was the defeat of Edwin Moses (31 years old) at the hands of Danny Harris (21) in the 400 meter hurdles. Two Americans at the summit of the specialty. On June 4, 1987, on the same day as Lewis's triumph, the world record holder succumbed (47.69) to an opponent who finished at 47.56. It had been nine years, nine months and nine days after the last defeat of anyone who seemed invincible. The figure suggested a cabalistic interpretation of the race and its protagonists that contributed to disseminate and mitigate the result, date and place.
The last great moment of Vallehermoso on the day of its closure, on July 21, 2007, was the jump of Blanka Vlasic above 2.05. The Croatian then attacked, setting the bar at 2.10, the world record for Stefka Kostadinova (2.09, effective since 1987). He did not achieve his goal. A shame. The record would have been the most beautiful farewell possible of the old colosseum. From the old temple, recovered today for competition, training, initiation and worship.
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