Location: Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro
Athletics 200-meter final women
“Dammit”, I hear at 23.15 next to me. I lower my camera with which I just recorded a very tense 200m final for women. Dammit?
Dafne is on the ground. I wonder what she is thinking.
Earlier that evening we entered the Olympic Stadium in Rio. We took a taxi this time, which was a wrong choice. Traffic is tense and we arrive just in time for the Athletics evening. A night which has been highlighted in my agenda for quite some time. And many alarms would go off that night in the Netherlands. Would it be an historical win for Dafne Schippers?
Dafne, since only 2 years fully focusing on the sprint. This after a reasonably successful career in the pentathlon. But to reach the absolute top a choice had to be made. The choice of everybody was clear, sprint! But Dafne’s love for the pentathlon still made it difficult.
The results in the years after this crucial moment showed that her decision was right. World champion 200m in 2015! And quite a unique performance since in almost all finals she is the only white woman in a discipline dominated by Afro-Americans. For Rio’16 our (and her) hopes were high. Founded on solid results in the year leading up to Rio. But as always, the Olympics are out of any league. Still Dafne strolled through the qualifications and was confident for the final.
We took seats in the Olympic sporters area. This part of the stand gets more crowded as the important finals arrive. We had to move twice and ended up next to…Dafne’s parents, brother, sister and boyfriend! What a coincidence! The tension now was unbearable. The final was about to start. I take my camera and record it. I shout and shout (sorry for any inconvencience caused):
Dafne looked strained in the last 50m and ends her race falling over the finish line. Second. She remains on the floor.
Dafne slowly gets up, looks of unbelief and disappointment in the our direction We are still next to her parents. She congratulates Elaine Thompson and walks to the stands. Dafne is fuming with anger. And she throughs her spikes on the ground, just before us in the stands. It is clear what she thinks; “Dammit. No gold. Silver”.
It is only a day later during the medal ceremony that a smile is back on her face. It was a unique performance but Schippers was so obsessed with the gold that silver was a slap in the face. I am sure that that silver medal will shine each year a little more.
No Dammit, Youdidit, You are the flying Dutchwoman!
PS: the golden appointment for Dafne is 3/8/2020 – Tokyo Olympic Stadium.