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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Dreaming of the Dream Mile

By Steve Cram
BBC Sport

So Friday's Golden League meeting in Oslo was the last event ever held at the old Bislett Stadium, and it marks the end of an era.

I first ran there in 1980, in the Dream Mile race when Steve Ovett broke the world record. It was the start of a very happy association between the venue and me.

GREAT BRITISH RUNS AT BISLETT
1980: Steve Ovett sets Mile world record
1981: Sebastian Coe sets 1,000m word record
1982: David Moorcroft sets 5,000m world record
1985: Steve Cram sets Mile world record

I ran a personal best that year, and that was enough to get me the nod for the 1500m at the Moscow Olympics.

It goes without saying that my best performance in Oslo came in 1985, when I broke the world mile record.

I knew I was in great shape all summer, and I had broken the 1500m word record in Nice a few days earlier, so the Dream Mile was almost perfect for me.

The race didn't start until almost midnight, because things were moved later so American television could broadcast it live.

I had so much time to kill before the race. I went for lunch and spent the afternoon drinking coffee and talking with journalist Cliff Temple.

THE BISLETT STORY
Most famous venue in athletics history
Hosted athletics for almost 50 years
Scene of 62 world records
Due to be torn down this year
New, modern satdium built in its place

I went for a lie-down and then went down to the stadium, and Said Aouita was breaking the 5,000m world record as I got there.

The place was going nuts. It was one of those special nights when almost every race produces something special.

My race felt wonderful. The crowd, packed in like sardines on those steep terraces, were banging on the hoardings as they leaned over towards the track.

I'd say Bislett was my favourite venue, edging out Zurich by a fraction.

From the late 1970s onwards, apart from being a great place to go, you just knew you would get good times there.

Steve Cram in 1986
Crammie, back in the days when he broke world records for fun

Conditions were always good, the fields excellent and the support at that tight little stadium absolutely awesome.

In truth the facilities were awful. There was no warm-up track to speak of, so you'd end up running round the empty streets around the stadium before your race.

It was a surreal experience. Often the Dream Mile wouldn't start until 11 o'clock at night, so you'd be jogging around the streets by yourself unaware of what was going on inside the stadium.

Then suddenly you'd go in for your race and all hell would be breaking loose. I used to love it.

I'm not a huge sentimentalist. Bislett, for all sorts of reasons, needs to change if it is going to keep attracting big events.

The six lanes and tight bends weren't conducive to fast times in all events.

But I am sad to see it go. It holds many happy memories for me. However good the new stadium they build in its place, it will never be quite the same.




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