Olympic champion to compete in his garden as track meet sets alternative format

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A Diamond League track and field meet in Oslo on June 11 will go on without spectators and with athlete restrictions, including Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie competing in his home garden.

Also Thursday, the Pre Classic and another Diamond League meet in Paris, both scheduled for June, were postponed due to the coronavirus.

The Diamond League is track and field’s premier circuit, gathering the world’s top athletes every spring and summer around national championships, world championships and the Olympics.

The Diamond League season was due to start April 17, but now eight of the first nine meets have been postponed.

Doha: April 17 (postponed indefinitely)
China: May 9 (postponed indefinitely)
Shanghai: May 16 (now Aug. 13)
Stockholm: May 24 (postponed indefinitely)
Naples, Italy: May 28 (postponed indefinitely)
Rabat, Morocco: May 31 (postponed indefinitely)
Pre Classic (Eugene, Ore.): June 7 (postponed indefinitely)
Oslo: June 11
Paris: June 13 (postponed indefinitely)

The Oslo meet, called the Bislett Games, will be held as “an alternative athletics competition under Norwegian coronavirus regulations,” according to the Diamond League.

Oslo organizers are still in planning stages, but some notable champions are committed to compete at a stadium without fans:

Mondo Duplantis, the freshly minted world-record holder in the pole vault, will compete at Bislett against at least two others. One of them will be former world-record holder Lavillenie, who will compete against them from his garden at his central France home. Duplantis is Swedish but was raised in Louisiana, where he has been training in a backyard pole vault setup.
-Norwegian Karoline Bjerkli Grøvdal will race a 3000m solo — “with the help of wavelight technique” — in a bid to break nine-time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz‘s Norwegian record of 8:31.75. Norwegian media reported that she will race with a light in front of her showing the pace to beat Waitz’s time from 1979.
-Norwegian Karsten Warholm (400m hurdles world champion) will race the 300m hurdles, eyeing the fastest time in history in the non-Olympic event of 34.48, in a solo race, according to Norwegian media.
-Swede Daniel Ståhl (discus world champion) will compete against at least two others — a Swede and a Norwegian.

No athletes will fly into Oslo. Rather, foreign athletes will be transported via electric cars from the Swedish border.

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Olympic champion to compete in his garden as track meet sets alternative format originally appeared on NBCSports.com