The 71stInternationales Stadionfest on 2ndSeptember 2012, the latest chapter in a Berlin success story, again served up a string of superlative achievements. 55,565 spectators packed into Berlin’s Olympic stadium, again making it the largest one-day athletics meeting in the world. A million television viewers followed the competition live on Germany’s flagship TV channel.
A mere three weeks after the Olympic Games the crowd was presented with eight Olympic gold medallists, an equal number of German medallists from London, two new ISTAF records and three triumphs by German athletes across the 16 disciplines. The event also featured the world’s first 4x100m mixed-gender relay of the Nations.
Aries Merritt, Olympic gold medallist over 110 metres hurdles, provided the greatest of the sporting spectacles. He set a new stadium record of 12.97 seconds, beating Collin Jackson’s 18-year-old record by five hundredths of a second.
The 67.40m throw with which Olympic victor and discus titan Robert Harting dominated his event was also a breathtaking feat, bringing to an end what has been a taxing season for the champion. This win in Harting’s own backyard of Berlin was his 33rd triumph in a row – reason enough for the giant of the discus to sink to his knees after his triumph and kiss the throwing circle. „This one was even better than the win in London. Obviously the pressure’s on me now and I was nervous. I hope I gave the crowd what they wanted,” said Harting. Runner-up in the discipline was the Lithuanian Virgilijus Alekna (66.63m) and Piotr Malachowski of Poland took bronze with a throw of 66.17m.
The knowledgeable Berlin crowd was served two more German successes in the form of wins for Betty Heidler in the hammer and for pole-vaulter Björn Otto. „Throwing here is really special,” says Betty Heidler. „I had goose pimples.” Björn Otto, who came second in London, cleared a height of 5.78 metres, edging out Malte Mohr (Wattenscheid), who had managed 5.68. Says Otto: „Naturally a guy’s a little tired after 24 competitions, but at a venue like this you’re obviously going to pull out all the stops again.”
The meeting’s Director Gerhard Janetzky likewise summed up positively: “At the close of a tiring season we’ve again seen a string of amazing athletic achievements. It was a great event for the spectators.”
ISTAF Managing Director Martin Seeber: „We’re delighted that our chief sponsors Spielbank Berlin and Novomatic AG have already committed verbally to providing backing in 2013.” The 72ndInternationales Stadionfest will be held on 1st September 2013 at the same venue – another chapter in the ISTAF success story.