In the middle of the seventh day of competitions, I escape to Vaci Utcá, a sort of main street in Budapest, with its souvenir stalls and lockers to store luggage, business on the rise, and I ask for a goulash in a bistro for foreigners, and I open the mobile screen and discover that Luis Rubiales is still in his thirteen.
-I'm not going to resign -says the character, he's already more than a leader, he's a character, we'll see if they make him leave.
I scroll, I do it while the cook prepares the stew for me.
I go through the screens.
And, offended, I see how the theme is perpetuated: everything is Rubiales, everything, even in the international press.
I insist, I pull down, I dive further into the screen, I'm looking for something, I want to find it and I finally find it, after a long time: there, far down the scroll, is the subject that interests me, athletics.
Bad thing, I tell myself. It is very hidden.
The matter irritates me and saddens me, because life should not be like that, life should not be a monotheme around Rubiales, and even less when one is in Budapest, covering the World Athletics Championships, possibly the best World Cups in the history for the Spanish.
This Friday there is barely a trace of María Pérez and Álvaro Martín, the colossi of the athletic march, two golds for each, a social model. The walkers march against all odds, perhaps against windmills, as the discipline is in danger: we'll see if it survives the next five years, now that World Athletics and the Spanish Olympic Committee seem to be betting on other more Anglo-Saxon disciplines, for example cross country.
If I want athletics, I'd better go to the stadium.
So I pay the bill, I walk for ten minutes on the sultry Hungarian cobbles, I get on line 2 of the yellow tram, an oven that doesn't ventilate but retains the heat, and the car advances along the Danube, I advance surrounded by Hungarians who wear orange and, these yes, feel the passion for athletics.
Twenty minutes later, we all entered the National Stadium in Budapest, that magnificent colossus located to the south of the city, and there I want to forget about Rubiales: we prepare ourselves to witness the wonder.
(Witness the wonder).
-I don't know, I can't even think, I can't think of anything other than Rubiales. How is it possible that this stains everything? -María Vallejo, special envoy of the Diario de Navarra, tells me.
I'm sorry, but there's nothing else to talk about. The English press is obsessed with Rubiales! Phil Minsull tells me.
Minsull is charmingly likeable, he's a journalist for Track
In the triple jump corridor, the most global of current athletes lives a life without living.
The Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas (27), Olympic champion, triple world champion (now she already has four titles) and universal record holder of the discipline is not found: her 15.74m, a fabulous world record from last year, seems to be of no use to her . This avatar of 1.92, dyed blonde with short hair, unmistakable image, has started badly, it starts with a null, a 14.33m and another weak attempt of 14.26m, a meter and a half from his great days, and last, eighth, it slips into the improvement, we have never seen it like this.
He gesticulates and curses at each attempt, and dialogues with himself and with his coach, the legendary Iván Pedroso, the man who directs it in that Guadalajara where all the talents of the horizontal jump converge. Yulimar Rojas curses himself and seems beside himself, very far from Marina Bekh-Romanchuk, Ukrainian and therefore applauded by the international group, who has gone up to 15.00m the first time and is in disbelief.
The attempts pass and Yulimar Rojas still does not appear, another two null in the fourth and fifth, and his misfortune seems to be combined with the misfortune of the American Athing Mu, another universal athlete, the best eight-hundred-year-old of the moment, who stumbles at the pace of the bell in the 800 semifinal, she almost falls, and has to give up her life to rebuild and gain access to the final, she is second in 1m58s78.
Yulimar Rojas is not here to watch the events.
He approaches the stands again, talks to Pedroso. He goes into his loop and is summoned for the last turn. When Rojas takes a run and calls for the audience's rhythmic applause, Bekh-Romanchuk doesn't even want to look.
This time, Rojas is correct in the count, in the approach and in the triple flight, she lands clean, the marker shows a valid jump, it seems long, the stadium is silent, the Venezuelan asks for silence until the measurement comes out.
It is not the leap of his life, he has moved in those figures dozens of times, but the attempt is worth it.
Yulimar Rojas goes from eighth place to world champion, and then her face becomes flushed, she seems about to cry, champions are made of this stuff: Marina Bekh-Romanchuk must settle for silver, just as la Colombian Flor Ruiz Hurtado (32), an unknown javelin player to date (there is no tradition in her country) who has been flirting with gold until the last turn (65.47m, Latin American record), when she is surpassed by the Japanese Haruka Kitaguchi (25 ), going up to 66.73m.
Then, the attendees witnessed another amazing episode: Shericka Jackson (29) flies down 200 6th Street, she flies so much that she seems to be in a different race than her rivals, rivals who lag behind, become dwarfed (the two Americans, Gabby Thomas and Sha'Carri Richardson, silver and bronze in 21.81 and 21.92, respectively), and from behind they watch as the Jamaican registers 21.41, the second mark of all time: the record of the late Florence Griffith begins to tremble, those 21.34 of that distant 1988.
And at the end of the day, already closed night in Budapest, Noah Lyles (26) rounds off his perfect exhibition: unite the gold of 200 to 100.
He does it after signing 19.52, with a two-tenths margin over Erriyon Knighton (19.75), the American speed boy (19 years old) whose time has not come, he is overshadowed by Lyles as others, in his day, had been by Usain Bolt .
And as I leave the stadium, feeling like a witness to the wonders, and look for the 2 tram that will take me to the heart of Budapest, I realize that, for a long time, nobody here has been thinking about Rubiales.