The sports world is still far from returning to the normal course of life after the coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not prevent athletes from continuing to conduct their competitions online. The second exhibition stage of the Diamond League, called Inspirational Games, took place on July 9 in Zurich. They collected even more stars of running and jumping than the first such starts in Oslo.
This time, the organizers suggested that the athletes compete not only among themselves, but also in the team event. Track and field athletes united in the teams of Europe, North America and the rest of the world. In each type of program, one representative from each team was allowed to participate.
Strictly speaking, “Inspirational Games” took place not only in Switzerland. Since the borders of many countries are still closed, almost all athletes competed with each other in absentia at various stadiums in seven cities around the world. At the same time, 300 spectators were admitted to the Letzigrund stadium in Zurich, which traditionally hosts the Diamond League stage, who could watch the competitions live and live.
Pole vaulters were the first to start. As soon as the competition began, the Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi immediately had to leave her sector. Greek woman could not take the starting height of 4.46 meters. The fight was continued by American Sandy Morris and Swede Angelica Bengtsson, and the more titled athlete from the United States naturally prevailed. The two-time vice-champion of the world reached a height of 4.66 meters, while Bengtsson stopped at a bar of 4.46 meters.
An early departure was waiting for Valentine Lavilleni, who replaced his older brother Renault. He did not obey the bar at a height of 5.36 meters. But his rivals, two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and three-time world championship medalist Peter Lisek, arranged a long duel between themselves. Only at an altitude of 5.76 meters did their paths miss each other - Lisek made three unsuccessful attempts, and Kendricks went further and added another five centimeters.
The six-time Olympic champion Alison Felix from the USA and the representative of the Bahamas, Shona Miller-Wibo, beat the American in the last Olympic final at 400 meters. True, now they had to run only 150 meters, and Swiss Mujinga Cambunji could still intervene in their dispute. This time the victory was won by 13-time world champion Felix.
The only discipline in which rivals competed directly with each other was the men's 60-meter race. Canadian Andre De Grass and Frenchman Jimmy Vico got an unusual rival - Olympic champion in the hurdles Omar MacLeod from Jamaica. He was close to imposing a fight on pure sprinters, but still lost to both of them. De Grasse brought three points to his team, winning just four hundredths of a second against Vico.
In the 300 meter hurdles, the favorite was Czech Zuzana Heinov. However, the weather prevented her from confirming her status as a two-time world champion. In Holland, where she performed, it rained heavily, and she failed to show decent seconds. She overcame the finish line later on American Georganna Moline and Swiss Leah Sprunger.
In addition to runners and pole vaults, the triple jump masters held their competitions. Two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor did not approach the competition in the best shape - only in his last attempt he beat the much less titled compatriot Omar Craddock, but at the same time lost to Portuguese representative Pedro Pichardo. In his best attempt, the former Cuban jumped 17.40 meters, and Taylor, even with a strong tailwind, lost 13 centimeters.
In the men's 200-meter race, an incredible sensation almost struck. The stopwatch of the world champion in this discipline Noah Lyles stopped at around 18.90 seconds - it was as much as 76 hundredths of a second from Usain Bolt's world record. While the fans were trying to realize how during quarantine it is possible to beat one of the main achievements in the history of athletics, and even with a huge headwind, the judges found an explanation for this. Liles mixed up the track and ran only 185 meters. His result had to be canceled, and the victory was won by the Frenchman Christoph Lemeter, who defeated the Dutchman Churandi Martin, who started at the age of 36.
The competition program ended with the women's 3 × 100 meter relay, in which Felix returned to the track. She helped the United States get the better of girls from Switzerland and Holland, and at the same time win the team championship of the entire North American team.