I have to post about this: an event today at the World Athletics Championships.
A moment of pure magic: The Womens’ 1500 metres final.
There’s an English competitor who only just qualified as the fastest loser in her semi-final.
We are already in English territory–plucky indomitable spirit, Dunkirk and all that, no real chance but–“Well done, all the same!“.
Hard to believe but her name is Hannah England!
As one of the last to qualify nobody expects her to win a medal–she’s made the final–achievement enough.
Cue Cole Porter…
“Have you heard about dear Blanch–got knocked down by an avalanche,
(Don’t worry–she’s a game girl, you know–got up and finished fourth! the kid’s got guts!)
Well, did you ever?!
What a swell party this is…!”
(High Society–Sinatra and Crosby)
Hannah is tall and blonde with a lovely smile.
She is in the leading group of about ten, as they come round the final bend after three-and-a-half laps–so theoretically in with a chance–but a long shot, as she appears to be boxed in.
They enter the finishing straight and she side steps right, positioning herself for a run to the line.
The commentator spots her late and is bewitched. The impossible seems to be happening! She surges forward towards the finishing line and he goes crazy!
She continues to advance until, just short of the line, an expression of utter joy and astonishment spreads across her face .
She finishes in Silver Medal position–second–but it is as though she has won.
She cannot believe it. She looks to the crowd for confirmation. “Yes it’s true!”
She has triumphed and it is delightful to watch.
I feel a broad smile spreading involuntarily across my face.
Bet your life she’s having a “swellegant elegant” party tonight!