It’s 300 days until the start of the London 2017 World Championships. We could give you just as many reasons why we’re so eagerly counting down the days to what could be the best world champs ever, but that’d be ridiculous. So we narrowed it down to seven.
1. Olympic sparkle
As the stage for athletics events at London’s 2012 Olympics, The London Stadium is already steeped in athletics history.
The 60,000-seat venue now hosts the annual Anniversary Games Diamond League meeting and is a favourite among fans and athletes alike. Just ask Kendra Harrison, who in July was inspired to a 100m hurdles world record 12.20.
2. Golden Ticket
British athletics fans are some of the most enthusiastic in the world. There were over a million ticket applications when the first batch became available in August, far out-stripping the supply.
Come August 2017 the lucky punters in the stands will provide raucous support. The noise generated on Super Saturday at London 2012 is fabled and the support for every athlete who took to the track and the field in the week that followed made for one of the most memorable Olympics in history.
That generous spirit has carried on over the years. As Katarina Johnson-Thompson said after the 2016 edition of the Anniversary Games: “The London atmosphere and London crowd make it a special place.”
P.S. Don’t worry if you haven’t secured your Golden Ticket yet, some sessions still have tickets available and will go on sale again soon.
3. Back in the game
Tears of joy are the only tears we want to see in London, Gimbo!
There were plenty of world-class athletes who, for various reasons, did not get the chance to compete at the Rio Olympics this year.
Sprint hurdles duo Aries Merritt and Keni Harrison – both world record holders – did not make it through the US Olympic Trials; Ethiopia’s distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele was overlooked for marathon selection; half-bearded Italian high jump heart throb Gianmarco Tamberi’s dreams were wrecked by an ankle injury.
Those four and plenty of others will all hope to return to the championship fray in London. Expect them to put on a show as they make up for lost time.
4. Home heroics
In 2015 Asher-Smith set a 100m NR of 10.99 in – you guessed it – London's Olympic Stadium
Britain’s 2016 Olympic track and field team included 80 athletes, making it one of the best-represented nations in Rio. We can expect an equally large contingent from the home team at London 2017.
Top-name talent like reigning world champions Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford will enjoy the boisterous backing of exciting young stars like Olympic hammer medallist Sophie Hitchon, European 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith and bright young things like Jazmin Sawyers, Adam Gemili and Laura Muir.
5. Fond farewells
The absence of major global outdoor champs in 2018 means that, for quite a few, London will represent the end of the road. Reigning world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill said the only reason she hadn’t announced her retirement right after Rio was because the prospect of ending her career at London 2017 is tempting her. She’s still pondering.
No retirement, however, will attract more eulogies than Usain Bolt’s. The greatest sprinter of all time said he only intends to race in the 100m in London before hanging up his spikes for good. It’s a goodbye no one will want to miss.
6. We go again
Who will push the pace in the decathlon next year?
Olympic rematches will be a big theme in London, where every event will feature a sub-plot that can be traced back to the Rio Games.
Can any woman take down Elaine Thompson and steal her sprint crowns? Will anyone push Ashton Eaton in the decathlon like Kevin Mayer did? Does Almaz Ayana have it in her to win both the 5000m and 10,000m titles? We can’t wait to find out.
7. Save the last dance
London will be the last global ten-day-long world-class athletics bonanza before a two-year period of calm (deep breaths).
That is not to say that there won’t be any athletics action in the subsequent two years, but it’s all the more reason to make the most of what will be one of the most hotly-anticipated world championships ever.