DN Galan Meeting Stockholms Stadion
It was July 1981, the DN Galan Meeting took place in the Stockholm stadium, we had traveled half of Europe, running in meetings in France, Belgium and Holland until we reached that great Meeting. Juan Antonio Balsera and I participated in the 5000 meters race -series B- at 4:30 p.m. Our personal record was not enough to run Serie A.
The summer afternoons in Sweden, are very long, they last until midnight.
The most expected race was the 1500 meters race. The best athletes in the world at that time were going to run, Sebastian Coe, Scot, Couglan, Steve Scout, José Luis González, Abascal, etc. There was a great atmosphere, the Swedish spectator is a great specialist, in the Nordic countries there is a true cult of athletics.
They gave the starting signal, the pacemaker quickly broke away until the first position, a great American corridor of 800 meters race, James Robinson. Behind was Sebastian Coe. The entire stadium applauded to the rhythm of the runners, the world record was felt, the first round was very strong and Coe was very close to the American, with determination.
Second round... and there was the abduction to the stratosphere of the 50,000 souls that were there... the two runners passed the first 800 meters to 1'48 '' (it was reflected in the large scoreboard), so Sebastian stayed alone assuming the challenge, not reducing the pace and before that audacity. The stadium was breaking down, it seemed that we were all out of ourselves, but people was still applauding at that impossible pace.
Coe entered to the final straight totally empty, in an agonizing state, in his veins there was no blood, only lactic acid, his color was pale white, his legs in the last 50 meters moved in slow motion, they looked like wood like those of a mannequin, the opponents who were far away were almost taking him, but in the end he entered first. The stadium burst into applause, 3'31 ''. I remember that he went (we were 15 meters away) to James Robinson and admonished him, shouting at him and with a lot of anger, because he had exceeded the 800 meters pace. Surely that day, if the time of the first two rounds had been more rational, Sebastian would have managed to beat his record to 3'30 ''.
It was 10:30 at night and the afternoon was still lighting the stadium. We were waiting for one of the organizers alone in the steps, there was no one in the stadium, and something surprising happened, suddenly Sebastián Coe entered by the marathon door and started to run a few rounds, through the grass, at a very relaxed pace.
The Stockholm stadium, with that Viking decoration that characterizes it and the empty stands, looked like a monster that had returned to calm.