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2023 WC – Day 2

Budapest, Hungary: Another wonderful breakfast buffet. I tried the Potato Rosti from the menu, because I love love love fried potatoes. It was to be served with a smoked tomato sauce, but a dish with fried hash brown cubes was delivered to me, sitting on a bed of ratatouille-type veg in a smoked paprika sauce. Still, yummy, but not something I would normally eat for breakfast. I rarely eat breakfast in a palace either.

Potato Rosti
Potato Rosti

More photos of the spread:

Anantara Hungarian Palace
Meats & Cheeses

Dave worked out later (I stitched) and we went over to the stadium a little earlier than needed so we could find our hospitality spot (no time yesterday). After checking-in and receiving our wristbands, we entered a raised pavilion along the Danube River and were greeted with a glass of icy cold (French!) champagne. Something told me we were going to be very happy here all week. The interior of the space was air conditioned and there were several bars and several food stations. Lunch was being served. We enjoyed spicy Thai duck with crispy rice. Not very Hungarian.

The stadium this evening as we entered

Today is Hungarian National Day, celebrating (we think) 1100 years of the founding of the country. The entire country shuts down and families gather along the river for picnics and to watch the annual fireworks display. The outdoor terrace from the hospitality “tent” would be a lovely spot to catch the fireworks after the meet.

Some notes: Sifan Hassan showed up to her heat in the 1500m with bandages on her knees and elbows from her crash last evening. She finished 3rd in her heat and will advance to the final. Duck Jessica Hull (Australia) also advanced. American Nikki Hiltz did not. Faith Kipyegon of Kenya was the over-all winner in 3:55.4.

The men’s 1500m semis were also loaded with excitement. American Yared Naguse won his heat in 3:32.69… and the 6th place finish time was 3:32.97 – serious blanket finish. The second heat was slower, with Jacob Ingebrigtsen (Norway) staying in the back until the last 300m, finishing first in 3:34.98, after some jostling on the final turn. Duck Cole Hocker finished 3rd and will advance to the final.

Though throwing the men’s hammer inside the stadium while the women were long jumping was freaking me out just a bit, the crowd went crazy when Hungarian Bence Halasz took the lead on his first throw. Though he finished with the Bronze, his throws and excitement had the crowd cheering like mad all evening. Ethan Katzberg of Canada won the competition in 81.25 – a new Canadian national record.

Katarina Thompson-Johnson takes her victory lap

The last event in the heptathlon is the 800m. Anna Hall needed a 3 second lead to win the heptathlon and she piled on a 58.5 second first lap, but was still unable to beat England’s Katarina Thompson-Johnson. It was announced in the stadium Hungarian hep athlete Xenia Krizsan took the Bronze and the entire stadium burst into more cheers… only to learn Krizsan finished 4th. Boo to the announcers for this one.

Tara Davis-Woodhall in Hungary
Tara Davis-Woodhall

Crowd favorite, American Tara Davis-Woodhall finished 2nd in the long jump, behind Serbian Ivana Vuleta. No Americans placed in the men’s 10000m final. Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei won, but it was a very slow race, unless you enjoy the 400m, because the last lap was a doozy. The last event is always a crowd favorite – the men’s 100m final. Noah Lyles said he was going to win (9.83) and he did. Christian Coleman went from the lead to 5th in half-a-second. Second place finisher, Letsile Tegogo set a new national record in 9.88.

Enough track talk! After the meet, we went back to the hospitality pavilion and enjoyed an adult beverage while waiting for the fireworks to begin. Beautiful clear evening, which provided a perfect background for the celebration.

Traditional Hungarian music in the hospitality pavilion
Hungarian National Day Fireworks
Building across the river lit up as the Hungarian flag

We watched for what must have been 30-40 minutes. A few times there was a pause, and we would gather our things and start toward the exit... only to have round 3 or round 4 (or was it 5?) begin anew. Finally we decided it would never end, so found a taxi back to our hotel.

HILLARY UPDATE: The storm is slashing the Coachella Valley as I type this (at 11p PST Sunday) update. I-10 is closed. Our security cameras report heavy winds and rain, but no flooding (yet) in our courtyard. It is dark now, so I can't see everything clearly. Power outages are spotty, but if my cameras still are working, we still have power. The rain is supposed to stop within the hour. Areas east of us in Coachella and Thermal are having serious flooding and some flood canals have over-flowed in Palm Desert.

Until my next update, I remain, your hopeful correspondent.

Pedometer: Another lousy 8000 steps.

World Athletics
Budapest 23