VISIT OF LEGENDS CLOSES THE IAAF CENTENARY HISTORIC EXHIBITION IN STYLE
Provided by IAAF
27 November 2012 - Barcelona, Spain – It was the greatest collection of athletics artefacts ever assembled and so appropriately on the last full day (Sat 24) of its six week run at Barcelona’s Museu Olimpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, the IAAF Centenary Historic Exhibition was graced by VIPs including International Athletic Foundation Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who paid a private visit, and members of the IAAF Council and of the IOC Executive Board.
Many of the legends of Athletics, whose medals and competition clothing were on display at the exhibition, visited the museum on Saturday including World and Olympic champions Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram, Pauline-Davis Thompson, Nawal El Moutawakel, Frank Fredericks, Alberto Juantorena, Sonia O’Sullivan, Steve Ovett, Don Quarrie, David Rudisha, Javier Sotomayor, and Irena Szewinska, meeting the world’s media.
At the entrance to the exhibition Sotomayor stood beneath his 2.45 World record bar next to which was displayed the competition vest which he wore when he set the record. A little further into the room, Quarrie (200m), Juantorena (400/800m) and Szewinska (400m) posed next to the spikes which they wore when taking their Olympic titles in Montreal 1976. Szewinska’s gold medal, along with certificates from earlier Olympic successes, had also been loaned to the museum by Poland’s greatest ever athlete.
One display cabinet further on and the three modern icons of British middle distance running Coe, Cram and Ovett met for a rare group photograph next to their clothing and gold medals from their global triumphs in Moscow 1980 (Ovett: vest and medal), Helsinki 1983 (Cram: medal) and Los Angeles 1984 (Coe: spikes and vest). El Moutawakel, who visited the exhibition earlier in the day to the main group, viewed the gold medal which she had loaned from her Olympic 400m Hurdles triumph also in Los Angeles.
1993 World 200m champion Frank Fredericks posed for the cameras with his spikes, while one cabinet further on Pauline Davis-Thompson was pictured with her Sydney Olympic Relay gold medal, and a few metres further on Sonia O’Sullivan stood next to the mud encrusted spikes which she wore when taking her gold double at the 1998 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
One of the current heroes of the sport was there too. David Rudisha took the opportunity to revisit one of his earlier triumphs represented by his World record spikes and competition body suit from Rieti 2010 which he had loaned.
The once in a life-time gathering of this unique collection of over 300 items from Athletics history is now sadly closed. The IAAF wishes to thank all those who loaned items to or visited the exhibition, which to quote the kind appraisal of IAAF Council Member and IOC Vice President Nawal El Moutawakel was “too good not to be remembered and too great to be forgotten”.