I just need to say something about Hicham el Guerrouj
today. During the last couple of years, while I haven't been actively involved in the competitive running scene myself, watching a championship race on TV has gradually become less of a passionate moment for me. For some of the finals in Athens I haven't even bothered to leave my chair in the other room. But for an Olympic final of the Distance of the Kings, my pulse still jumps to double the normal rate (which, may I point out, is still low enough). Hicham now had perhaps his last chance to take this title, having fallen in Atlanta at Morceli's feet and suffered a sensational defeat to Ngeny in Sydney. When he succeeded by 12/100 of a sec, kissed the track, and collapsed for his private moment of weeping in front of his two-month-old baby girl Hiba and a billion other people, it was truly touching and genuine. Despite being physically closest to the perfect miler that the world has seen, he has always seemed sincere and real to me. You can always see the pressure on his face. The world is full of stone-faced runners, and then there's Haile who smiles whatever the circumstances, but Hicham, on the start line, often looks like what he is: a man deeply tormented by what lies ahead. When I see such a burden on someone's shoulders, I cannot help wanting him to succeed (he is my age, too).
Btw, for those of you for whom this means something: he lead through the third lap in 53 seconds. The third
. The death lap. I would have wept too. I won't even say anything about the last.