MFor a few seconds, she closed her sparkling eyes during the national anthem. She did that to be on her own, to absorb the "insane mood", and to memorize the special moment, as it is so rare in her athletic life.
Gesa Felicitas Krause has already been at the top of the podium at a European championship. That was two years ago in Amsterdam. The happiness of that time is still with her, but the new edition of the ceremony was even more intense under the skin.
Why? Because she defended her title in Berlin at the European Athletics Championships, which she probably will not experience again, said the old and new European champion over 3000 meters obstacle after she had repeated her coup in front of over 42,000 frenetic celebrating spectators. In addition, the blue track in the Olympic Stadium would have something magical for her. Add to this the euphoric audience that you might only experience in London, the slender Hessin, with the long, chestnut hair, gushed with the unique selling propositions of the runners, jumpers and throwers during their weeklong championship on the Spree.
Not everything went as desired
Her findings evoke memories of the World Championships nine years ago on the same site. The enthusiasm at that time hit similarly high waves as this time. Back then, Krause could only dream of maybe running one day in the historic arena at an international championship for medals. Now, nine days after her 26th birthday, she stood there herself in the limelight and knew how to move gracefully. Just as expected by a defending champion.
Not everything went according to desire during the season. Her coach Wolfgang Heinig tried to put new stimuli in view of the long-term preparation of the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, but this was not reflected in the targeted competition times. Plagued by doubts, the business psychology student traveled to Berlin. Their concerns, however, were unfounded, as was seen on Sunday night.
Under the starry sky of the capital everything went well. Following the advice of her 67-year-old exercise leader, she did not do any leadership work. Shortly before the last moat, a good 150 meters from the finish, the World Championship third of 2015 then suddenly came on. The rivals looked paralyzed, unable to follow their irresistible final spurt, so that they could run out their next triumph in 9: 19.80 minutes. She was not touched by being nearly eight seconds below her best. "The only thing that matters today," she emphasized, "is the gold medal."
Corked competitions in advance
Two years ago in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, Krause, which runs about 5,000 kilometers a year, decided the race itself and ran from scratch. This time she missed her because of the somewhat messed-up competitions in advance. That's why she was building on her dreaded final attack. "I was sure that if everything went well, I'll bag the race at the last moat. At the back, I had no qualms that something could go wrong, "said Krause explaining her successful race tactics, which gave the German team the sixth and final gold medal in the title fights. Their lead over second-placed Swiss Fabienne Schlumpf was 2.49 seconds.
The idea of her tragedy at last year's World Championships in London, when Krause was brought down by the Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, now world record holder, after 700 meters, dazzled her in Berlin without a problem. This drama has pushed her way into the back of her mind, she said. Your adversity will nonetheless persist in the memory of many. After all, everyone had expected to give up the race after the crash.
"Extremely strong-willed and purposeful"
But that would not be Gesa Krause, who is characterized by her coach as "extremely strong-minded and purposeful". Despite no chance for a medal, she scrambled to her feet and ran after the field with headaches and a bruise in her right knee. In ninth she came to the finish. Through her admirable fighting spirit, she ran into the hearts of sports fans. In addition to sprinter Gina Lückenkemper she is now considered a new face of German athletics.
Now Krause, who claims to have always been a girl of great dreams, wishes nothing more than an Olympic medal. In two years' time, the land of the rising sun will beat its glorious hour. Two years ago, the coach surprisingly offered her her birthday and gave her a gold necklace with the Olympic rings. More symbolism for the common goal does not work.