3:42 01 sep

Sad goodbyes

Columnist Jane Bridge - From Russia with love… and judo - Chapter 7

My name is Jane Bridge, former World Champion (New York, 1980, u48kg) and I'm a 7th dan judo. I've been writing a column in L"Esprit du Judo" a French judo magazine, for a few years in French and now I think it's time to address an audience in English.

August 31th, Chelyabinsk, Russia.

You know that feeling, when you are young, on holiday, you've made friends, played together, swam in the sea together. Maybe kissed together. And then you have to leave.
Of course it was only a moment in time taken out of the real life, never the less, it affected you in some way. Left some marks.

2014 WC are finished, i feel sadness

Gradually the memories fade when you slip back into daily life. I've got the the same feeling here in Chelyabinsk as the tournament has come to a close. Every day we took the same bus from the hotel to the arena with the same bus driver, same words exchanged, "spaciba" "pajolska". We said good morning to the same security guards at the entrance and in the corridor. Sat next to the same Japanese journalist in the press enclosure. At the end of the day we returned to the hotel working while eating and then continuing to work after until very late. For seven days. It was hard. For me it was my first adventure as a press correspondent. I tried to give you a feel of the atmosphere from different perspectives and I hope I helped you to relive, in a little way, the World championships.

Team spirit

Today outside in the village, in the press centre and in the arena there was extra excitement. Not only was the Russian men's team in the final but it was common knowledge even though not official, that Mr Vladimir Putin was to pay us a visit. He did and the whole stadium erupted when he entered. It was great to see the players in the team event operating as a group. Arms linked and heads together before the start. Tapping each other on the back, giving one another encouragement and advice. To sum up more energy once your individual competition is over is a real task. Some players fought yesterday and had to start all over again today. And the fights were tough, especially going into the medal fights. In the final the Russian men's team in front of their president was transformed. The home crowd exploded every time a Russian player made an attack. It looked like a miracle was going to happen and I thought isn't life a wonderful thing the home team is going to win. They didn't of course. Nagase brought back the lead from two nil to two one. Masyu Baker made it equal and Ryu Shichinohe threw for ippon to win the team title for Japan. Sorry Mr Putin.

"Where is Vladimir?"

The medal podium reminds me of the school photo. Everybody dressed in the same unifor? - in England anyway - and in this case, a white judo suit. Lots of heads and smiles. In future years each player will be looking and pointing, "there I am, behind...."  The mats are already up, and the Tractor Arena is transformed back into the ice rink of the local hockey team. Memories are already fading. Tomorrow's another day.

L'Esprit du Judo team with Olivier Remy, Anthony Diao, Emmanuel Charlot and me

Next year I'll be in Astana Kazakhstan for the next world championships and I've already started to practice my columns!

In the mean time follow me on www.lespritdujudo.com

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 6) here 
Training hard, playing judo, crazy characters

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 5) here 
My judo trilogy of the day

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 4) here 
Champion for a day

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 3) here 
Referees, go with the flow, feel the fight

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 2) here 
Ami Kondo, last but not least

- Read the previous chapter (Chapter 1) here 
"I can tell you the "Chelyabinskys" hearts are warm !"

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