Jorge Ureña, in March 2017, at the European Championship.NurPhoto / Getty
The heptathlon is a journey, a Vendée Globe more or less, and Jorge Ureña, although he does not reach the level of maestro Kevin Mayer, is not a bad navigator, nothing bad. He is, above all, strong and confident, a wise pilot who knows his seas, and in the 1,000m, the seventh test, the return to port with the wind abated and his heart still pounding, he runs smart and secures the silver medal. that when leaving, perhaps, he did not even enter into his calculations after a year in which the pandemic, like everyone else, almost broke his spirit.
“I came here with many doubts because I did not know how I was going to find myself. In the end, it is to draw on memories and experience and go to hell ”, says Ureña, 27, from Onil (Alacant), where he lives and where his father trains him, after getting his third medal in his last three participations in European Championships. indoor track. He was already silver four years ago, in Belgrade, and also behind the unattainable Mayer (decathlon champion and world record holder, the last great 10 man in world athletics), and gold in Glasgow two years ago. And then he lists all the evils that have attacked him in the last 12 months: “The pandemic was tough because you see that the goal, the Games, are there and you can't do anything to reach that goal. This year I took it slower, did a lot of cycling and disconnected a bit. I had a foot injury, an ankle swelling from hitting that prevented me from training. In summer I had a little slump because, in the end, the goals are everything in athletics and if you don't have them, you say: what do I do … Above, when I finished recovering from my ankle I injured my hamstring and that is why I have not been able to train or compete, because five weeks ago I had a hamstring tear. Now I have had some overload but I think I have it more than closed. ”
The heptathlon starts fast —a good morning sprint , and fresh, with 60m, 7.03s Ureña—, then enters the storm zone —the tremendous length-weight-height chain—, which in each test crushes a different muscle, another joint, ankle, knee, hip, and the lame and sore and bandaged, the survivors go to bed, and with 7.36m in jump, 14 , 57m in weight and 2.10m in height, Ureña sleeps third and safe, and everyone thinks that the fight for the gold will be a Mayer-Simon Ehammer duel, the Swiss phenomenon who arrives, a 21-year-old boy, who had started scaring Mayer himself (and he was first up) to start again the next day, fresh, with good sea, with the 60m hurdles before reaching the ogre, at Cape Horn in the form of a pole vault, where some , not always the same, live a full love romance and others end up with a broken heart and resentment all in the soul. Ehammer crashes into the rocks with three nulls in his first height (4.50m). Ureña, who has barely been able to train the pole given all his injuries, ensures, with 4.90m, a good cushion of points over the third (25 to the Polish Pawel Wiesiolek) before the 1,000m of agony and ecstasy in which he traced the Polish career (2m 43.16s) and secured his silver (6,158 total points). Mayer won with 6,392 points, the best world record of the year.