Days 6 and 7 passed in a whirl of reused underwear, nut sweat and excruciatingly long waits in restaurants. It transpired that a sufficient number of athletes hadn't made the trip so as to warrant a straight final for the 800m. Like a hand-cuffed man watching porn I was at bursting point by the time the final came around.
Being an only child I was horrified at the prospect of having to actually share a lane - something 8 of the 12 competitors would have to do given the size of the field. So it was with some relief that I drew lane 7 on my own with the Hungarian organisers completely ignoring seeding protocol in the process.
In a race of 12 runners position is paramount, so I was determined to be up with the pace - something that I sometimes don't do as I look to use my kick. That necessitated consideration of leading the race, in which case I'd try and make the pace as slow as possible.
The expected fast pace didn't materialise and I did indeed find myself disputing the lead 200m into the race. At this point I slowed the pace down significantly resulting in much shoving in the back and general frustration. Completing the first lap in 63.1 in a good position was absolutely perfect given my speed, but it was at this point the race changed considerably with the Dutch runner taking it up. (It later transpired the Dutch runner was worried that times under 2:00 don't get a medal - you need to be sub 2:00 and in the top 3 to do so).
I was feeling fantastic at this point and was happy to sit on his shoulder for the next 180m. This is how the race looked at that point:
From this stage I took the race up, quickening up the pace and extending a lead. The trademark final kick happened with 90m to go with me sailing into an apparently unassailable lead......but being chased by a constipated German.....:
Unfortunately the German sprouted bloody wings and pipped me close to the line prompting comments of "he came from nowhere", "he seemed inspired", "we all thought you'd won it" along with the inevitable "two world wars and one world cup". My splits were 63.1 / 55.17 for a silver medal - he must have closed in 54.?? which is unheard of at this level. Fuck!