So was JWOC the biggest thing to hit Gothenburg last week? To be honest it probably didn't even make it to top of the list of little things to hit Gothenburg last week. Dominating the city were two things: Bruce Springsteen playing two nights at the Ullevi Stadium as part of his latest World tour, and the Partille Cup. This seems to be the handball equivalent of O-Ringen, and had attracted 20,000 handball players from around the world. Walking around the city centre there were flags and banners publicising handball everywhere, as well as many teams all of whom seemed to be six inches taller than the average Swede. As for Bruce this seems to be the biggest thing that will happen to Gothenburg this year judging by the newspaper coverage it generated. Ironically some of the JWOC runners I talked to didn't even know who The Boss was, but he does let me get in one of the all-time classic orienteering song titles. For me he also provides one of my main memories of APOC 1990 in Canada when a "three in a row" slot on the radio featured Bruce as we travelled through Calgary.
But getting back to JWOC it was really business pretty much as usual for the Long and Relay. No great surprises at the front (other than possibly how close the men's Long race was), and another set of British results that were difficult to get excited about but equally weren't too bad. How many times have I said that about Brits at a World Championships? Given the other distractions in Gothenburg it was always going to be difficult to get much attention for JWOC. Even so it did seem to be a very small and inconspicuous event, and I was particularly surprised at how few Swedes turned up on home terrain to cheer on a stream of medals.
WOC 2008 starts tomorrow in the Czech Republic with the Sprint race. One question that does arise is to what extent success at JWOC feeds through into success at WOC. It seems clear that not every JWOC champion progresses to the very top level at senior level, and it is equally clear that success at JWOC is not necessary to make it to the top at WOC. Perhaps something to look at further when I have some time, but for now the real thing is about to start. Time for some serious internet spectating I think.