fAt around 10 p.m. it sounded as if another thunderstorm had come over Munich. When Konstanze Klosterhalfen first caught up and then overtook Turkey’s Yasemin Can a good 600 meters before the finish of the 5000-meter run, the audience in the well-stocked Olympic Stadium made such a noise as if it were thundering – and the one with me was deafening was putting it mildly.
25-year-old Konstanze Klosterhalfen took her heart into her hands and took long strides ahead of her competitor, who had won the European Championship title over 10,000 meters just a few days ago. Klosterhalfen finished fourth slightly disappointed, this time she couldn’t be stopped and ran towards the European Championship victory with irresistible speed and hair blowing. In addition to bronze at the 2019 World Championships, it was her second international medal – and as radiant as she celebrated this success, it can be said: It is her greatest success. “Thank you, thank you, thank you” was all she could call out to the audience at first.
She found more words on television, but they too were incredulous. “That was the last thing I expected,” she said on ARD: “I’ve never won a title, it’s so nice.” Before the run, she thought about whether she wanted to compete at all. “It’s a dream,” she exclaimed, thanking the audience in particular: “I didn’t run alone.” The support from the ranks inspired them.
Mihambo won silver this time
The storm warning shortly before the competition didn’t bother Malaika Mihambo either. In the usual manner, the big favorite stayed true to herself despite the uncomfortable conditions and showed a concentrated performance in a wet and cold 19 degrees. But with 7.03 meters it was not enough for the fifth consecutive gold medal at a major international event for the 28-year-old from LG Kurpfalz. Three centimeters missing. It turned silver.
There are certainly more pleasant feelings than jumping into a wet sand pit. But thanks to her strong meditative skills and the realization that there is no point in getting upset about things that cannot be changed, Mihambo did not have any bad thoughts about the external conditions. She came, jumped and almost won.
But this time someone else was better: Ivana Vuleta from Serbia had presented 7.06 in the first attempt. Mihambo put a solid 6.71 meters into the pit, so that at least there was no nail-biter about entering the final rounds. In the second attempt, she then improved to 7.03 – and then showed a relaxed smile. But this time she shouldn’t get any further out. The following series was impressive, 6.86 meters, 6.95 and finally 6.99. But not anymore.
In 2018, at the European Championships in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, 6.75 meters were enough for her first major title. A year later she managed her strongest distance to date, at the 2019 World Cup in Doha she flew to 7.30 meters. Exactly seven meters in Tokyo, achieved with nerves of steel in the last attempt, secured her most important title: the Olympic victory in 2021. And at the World Championships in Eugene, which was postponed by one year, she jumped 7.12 meters to her second world title just a few weeks ago. So now second place.
In an effort to make this European Championship at home as atmospheric as possible, the organizers made sure that the back straight was crowded with a special event on Thursday. If you entered the discount code “Mihambo”, long jump fans could buy two tickets for the price of one when shopping online.
Tobias Potye surprise second
However, wet butts were also included in the ticket purchase: half an hour before the scheduled start of the evening event, it had started pouring rain at the Munich Championships, which had been so sunny up until then. The program had to be pushed back by almost half an hour. The spectators in the uncovered area initially had to stay outside because of the thunderstorm warning, but were then allowed to take their rainy seats. And when it finally started after the rain delay, a happy wave from Malaika Mihambo, supported by a kiss into the camera, was enough to get the whole stadium cheering.
Landing on a wet mat is not a pleasure either. The biggest problem for the high jumpers, however, is the take-off when the ground is wet. So men with rollers tried to get the wet out of the inrun track. It didn’t go well. The high jump was a success story nonetheless. Defending champion Mateusz Przybylko only jumped 2.23 meters this time and finished sixth. But of all people, the Munich local hero Tobias Potye jumped into the breach as a surprise candidate. He overcame 2.27 meters and unexpectedly won the silver medal. He was only beaten by the Olympic champion: Gianmarco Tamberi (2.30) from Italy was once again unbeatable.