Budapest, Hungary: This is it, gang - the final day of the 2023 World Athletics Championship. It seems to be about Day 37, but it is only Day 9. We started with coffees in the dining room. Because we can.
Since this was our last day in Budapest and we had yet to dine (not counting the hotel breakfast buffet) in the attached famed New York Café, today was the day. We invited staff from TrackTown USA (in town for the meet) to join us for a late lunch/early dinner. When we told the breakfast buffet server we were dining in the café later, she was very excited and told us it was very fancy and we could get a cappuccino topped with gold flecks. That IS fancy.
This afternoon, Becky and Jessica joined us and we were seated at a table in front of a large table.
While Becky chose a caprese salad (on toast, of course), Dave and Jess had traditional Hungarian goulash. I was over paprikash, so ordered the most popular item on the New York Café menu - the New York burger. Though I did not eat the bun, it was definitely one of the best entrees I have eaten in 9 days.
Though we needed food (dinner), most people come to the New York Café for cakes, desserts and coffees. After our meals, we tried two desserts, the famed Hungarian sponge cake and a dish with several flavors of ice cream. Hungarians are not stingy with their whipped cream! We did not have gold-flecked coffees.
Dave and I went back to our room for a rest and little packing before heading over to the stadium. I forgot to show you the amazing wallpaper in our room. I do not know if they are the famous mythical bird of Hungary (the Turul) or not, but they are very pretty and leave no "debris" in our room.
I also realized no photos of our hospitality pavilion have been posted. Here are two photos taken (after dark) of a typical night.
Now, back to track & field. Every event tonight was a final and I will only comment on a few of them. (Tired, and there is a link to all results at the bottom of this page.) We were excited to watch the men's javelin final, because I am a fan of Neeraj Chopra (India). Every time I see him, I am reminded to the Indian man we met last summer (quantum mathematics guy) who told us his father would have cut off his legs if he ever wanted to play sports. Always pleased Chopra's father is a more reasonable man. Chopra again took gold this evening. Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the 5000m in a season's best 13:11.30; American Paul Chelimo was 15th.
The Big Race tonight was the women's 800m final. Would Athing Mu win gold? Anticipation was high. There may have been a little betting going on.
In the end, Mary Moraa of Kenya was too much for Mu - or anyone else. She won in a personal-best 1:56.03. Keely Hodgkinson (UK) was second, and Athing Mu (USA) was third with a season-best 1:56.61. Duck Raevyn Rogers was 4th. It was a very exciting race!
The final two events were the men and women's 4x400m relays. Quincy Hall, Vernon Norwood, Justin Robinson and Rai Benjamin took the baton around in a world leading 2:57.31 for the USA, winning gold in front of France and Great Britain.
And here, Bored Reader, is the moment of the evening. I was trying to convince DT we should just leave after the men's relay. American women were disqualified, so we wouldn't have a team. This way we may be able to beat the crowd and possibly find a taxi before 11p? Nope. He wanted to stay. So happy we did as the women's relay had one of the best finishes we have ever seen! On the last leg, Netherlands was in third place behind Jamaica and Great Britain, but on the final turn Netherland superstar, Femke Bol (it seemed she was in every race this week) put on some-sort of 6th gear and completely flew past both women to win gold in a stunner of a finish.
We had to walk about a mile to catch a taxi, but I was never so happy to get back late to the hotel. We leave Budapest tomorrow. It has been a wonderful visit, a fantastic World Championships, and the people of Budapest have been most inviting and friendly. They are so proud of their city, food, and culture - and want to share.
Until my next update, I remain, your Budapest correspondent.
Pedometer: 7,000. Didn't leave the hotel until we went to the meet.