by Joy Kamani
By Jim Spier
Our hotel is about 50 meters from the stadium. The problem is that there is a major freeway separating the two. One would think that there would be a foot bridge to connect the hotel (and an adjacent major shopping mall). There's not.
So how do we get to the stadium? Conveniently there is a path to the break in the concrete barrier protecting pedestrians from the highway. Not only that, but the path has been paved, even with concrete steps. (And it is used by anyone who wants to hail a taxi. Actually, the taxis hail the people. And the taxis may not necessarily be marked as such. It seems that anyone who has a spare seat will stop and offer to take you to your destination).
We wait for a break in the traffic and then bolt to the median strip. We walk along the median strip for about 100 feet, with cars whizzing by on both sides. Then we venture across the other lane. At that point we look along a foot path with our backs to oncoming traffic (traffic here is English-style; they drive on the "wrong" side of the road). We finally make it to the stadium, about three-quarters of a mile (and 15 minutes) later.
So now we're at the stadium. Hasely Crawford Stadium that is, named after Trinidad's only Olympic gold medalist (in any sport). He won the 100 meters in the 1976 Olympics and is a national hero.
It is a beautiful setting, with the Caribbean on one side and mountains on the other. We do our cardiovascular work by climbing the stairs up to the top of stadium to the air-conditioned press box. It's like a sauna today, about with temperature approaching 90 degrees and humidity at about 90%. But it is tolerable (especially in the air-conditioned press box). And also tolerable given the fact that the Trinidadians are the friendliest people on earth, their hospitality legendary.
Problem #1 — There is an indentation in the flooring where media sits. It is such that chairs cannot back up at all, so that adults (even streamlined adults) have a difficult time sitting. Solution: place the back two legs on the "lip" of the indentation and the front two legs in the middle of the indentation. Sitting at 15 degrees is better than not sitting at all.
Problem #2 — "Where are the heat sheets?" We were told that there were only for Team Leaders. "Who can I speak to?" "You have see the Organizing Committee". "Where are they?" "In that tent around the second turn". Off I go down the stairs. I see Amadeo Francis of Puerto Rico and the IAAF in the tent. I ask him for heat sheets. He tells me the office is actually under the stadium and directs me to it. I walk under the stadium and was told that I could not go to the office because I was not properly credentialed. I explained what I wanted and they granted me an exception. I went to the office and was told that the start lists were only for Team Leaders. I said, "What about for the media?". The person relented and gave me the start lists. I got them and got more cardiovascular work, walking to our perch atop the stadium.
Problem #3 — I'm almost there. I notice an internet signal, and try to connect. I connect but need a password. I go to several people near the media who pass me off to others. I finally find who I think is the right person and he tells me that the password is only for Team Leaders. I said , "what about the media". He said, "I'll see what I can do and get back to you". I'm still waiting.
So I'm writing all this stuff at the stadium and will post from the hotel. That is, if I'm still alive after I cross the highway.