Michael Johnson: From London 2012 to London 2017


Michael Johnson: From London 2012 to London 2017

Ahead of the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson looks back to London 2012.


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This summer, the greatest athletes on the planet will return to the

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scene of the 2012 Olympics as they compete to be crowned

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And is well versed on how to rise to the occasion.

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Five years have passed since London 2012.

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But the memory of those golden moments

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It was Britain's most successful Olympics

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Day after day of trial is almost blurring into one.

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Above all others, one Saturday would come to be remembered.

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Greg Rutherford won gold in the long jump

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and Mo Farah won 10,000 metres gold, all in the space of 44 minutes.

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Every games needs a home medal at its Olympic Stadium to give it

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made the Super Saturday the best night in British sport.

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Since then, they have all faced challenges in

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Challenges I've faced as a world-class athlete.

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Staying on top, defending your title, and family life.

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In this programme, they will reflect on

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their journeys since that unforgettable night in the

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And consider what the future holds as London prepares to

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Five years have passed since Super Saturday.

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Since then, Jess, Mo and Greg have all followed their own

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I am keen to see how my experiences in the sport compared to theirs.

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During my own career, I competed in three Olympic Games

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I dealt with the highs and lows that come with

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Greg Rutherford, the long jump star of

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Super Saturday, trains to be the best in the

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Super Saturday, trains to be the best in the world with the coach

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That means spending much of the year in Arizona.

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I am keen to see how he and his family are getting on out there.

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One of the best coaches in the world.

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It has been good. We spent quite a lot of time here.

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Last year, nearly six months leading into the

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I will keep going as long as I keep going.

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If he gets in, we are going to get married.

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This sounds like a part I should not be involved with.

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As a result of his incredible achievements on

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the track, Mo Farah has become a global star.

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The pursuit of this dominance means his training also

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One of the reasons we spend a lot of time here is because

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the elevation. Good facilities.

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This is what people need in terms of high altitude.

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Back in the days, the Kenyans and Ethiopians beating

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One of the reasons was because they spend so much time at

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When they come back to sea level, things are easier.

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Spending six months of the year away from my family, not being able to

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see my family, racing, training camps.

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It is difficult, but if you want to be a champion, stay on top,

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Eat, sleep, train - nothing more to it.

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For Jessica Ennis-Hill, the best place

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to be has always been at home in Sheffield

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Her journey since Super Saturday has been nothing short of eventful.

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This is Sheffield, your hometown? Yes.

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Born here, studied here, did all my training here.

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When you were a kid growing up here, did you ever think

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When I started athletics, learning about championships and the

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Olympics, I always had that dream of wanting to be there.

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I never imagined that I would have had the journey that

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Sat here in this position, chatting to you.

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With lots of gold medals and an Olympic gold

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Going into 2012, you became the face of the Games.

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Talk about how that affected you in the year leading up to

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The fact that it was in London, it brought a lot more

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I think for me the most important thing at

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that time was did not change anything - I stayed where I trained

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That kept me really grounded, really sane in what I was doing.

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I do think, gosh, that was a hell of a

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I thought, honestly, can this all come together

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Jess' quest for heptathlon gold began on Friday, 3rd

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It will conclude with the 800m final underneath the

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spotlight of the packed Olympic Stadium.

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The stadium was incredible, the bars, fans, British flags.

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Having an Olympics in your hometown is once in a lifetime.

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As soon as you walk into the stadium, you get goose

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It was just like nothing I had ever experienced.

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Everybody in there wanted you to do well.

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And was excited about the prospect of doing well.

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They had no idea who I was, they just saw a British jersey.

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That morning, I was about five o'clock.

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The night before, I could not switch off.

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I was telling myself there is so much more to do,

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I couldn't help thinking, I am so close.

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I remember waiting and nerves building.

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The way she controlled the pressure she

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had - everyone already hung a Olympic gold-medal

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We know how much can go wrong in athletics.

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She dealt with that pressure incredibly well.

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Crossing the line was one of the most amazing

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When she crossed the line, arms aloft, the feeling of pride and felt

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Then, it has switched to myself and my thought process of, I want to

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I want to have the crowd going mad for me.

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It ended up being the next jump was the longest

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I went from the 3rd of August, nobody having any

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idea who I was, to the 4th of August,

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becoming Olympic champion on

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a night which was truly spectacular for British sport.

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To be sandwiched between Jess and Mo is very special for me.

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Going into the race, I knew if I could go

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with one lap to go in the position I was, I should hopefully do well.

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I normally start at the back and work

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As I was working my way through, getting louder and louder.

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And I was thinking, concentrate, and the last lap, the

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Watching Mo Farah standing under the Olympic flame.

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He was cheering on the side of the track.

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I saw Rhianna coming on the track. I got emotional, lifted her.

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That moment was beautiful as a family.

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The 45 minutes with Jess, Greg and then me.

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After London, describe the change in your life.

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You have people wanting you to appear at this, talk

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If you look back to Super Saturday, Jess, Mo, all three

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Did you ever look at them or reach out to one

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gone for you because I am having a hard time with this?

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For me, probably because I always saw Jess

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I get on really well with both of them.

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Probably never quite them, if that make sense.

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They are two of the greatest in British history and I

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have never been able to put myself with them.

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The 2013 World Championships offered Greg the

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chance to prove that his London gold was more than just a one off.

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In Moscow, he went out of the competition in the early stages.

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I should not have gone to the World Championships.

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I had a ruptured hamstring, could not run fast.

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I hoped and believed I could do something.

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Possibly you had to prove people wrong.

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I ignored the fact that I was in no shape to do so.

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Mo Farah's London Olympics did not end

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Immediately after becoming the 10,000 champ, his

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attention turned to his pursuit of the 5000 metres gold.

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I wanted to come out and try to win the 5K.

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At that point, I was recovering from the 10K.

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Resting up, getting ready. Not get distracted.

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Then I ran the heat three days later and

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Moving too much. I can't be doing what I am doing.

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I need to focus was at it, I thought, oh, I did it again.

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A year on from Super Saturday, the 2013 World

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Championships would be a opportunity for Mo Farah to continue his global

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If he could add to the world 10,000 meter

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and 5000 metres title to his Olympic golds, it would be

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I had the hunger, the drive. Great memories from London 2012.

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For me, I didn't want people to think it was a fluke.

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When you win championships, it gives you a boost,

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confidence. Feel like you can do it.

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Which sometimes gets difficult because most people know what you

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I feel like I have been in this situation before.

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Going into Beijing, I was in great shape.

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It was just about thinking, dealing with it the same as Moscow.

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Going into the heat in the 5000 metres, I slightly twitched my

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I had to smoothly stride it up and come away

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This is where it all goes down, used to go down?

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This is where I would come every day, pretty much,

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So when Reggie comes he is like Mummy.

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I started when I was ten, a little older.

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These are some of the girls who train with Toni now.

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Toni Minichiello has worked as Jess' coach throughout his whole career.

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Guiding her progress from promising schoolkids sprinted to multi event

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Her first, Reggie, was born two years after Super Saturday.

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Having won gold in London and facing the prospect

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of becoming a parent for

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the first time, many would have decided to call it a day.

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Having a son, having to balance life more,

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I had all those emotions of not wanting to

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leave my son and going back into training and not being at the same

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I think in my mind I felt like I was going to step

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back in and it might take a few weeks to get back to where I was but

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Actually, when I got back into training, I was tired, upset.

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It was one of the most challenging things I

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But in my mind, you want to do it, you want to get back

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Why get back out there, you have a beautiful son?

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My huge motivator was Reggie because,

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you know, I wanted him to be a part of that last unique journey I had

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I want him to look back and see what I had achieved, and achieved it

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The Beijing World Championships took place one year

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after the birth of Jess' son, Reggie.

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No heptathlete had ever come back from childbirth to win a

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I knew I was in a much better position than a few

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months ago but still knew I was not where I was a couple of years ago.

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Her presence, the fact she made the decision and turned up,

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regardless of the shape she had been in,

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applies pressure to the other athletes because they are going,

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that is Jess. She has turned up.

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I just kept thinking, don't make any major mistakes.

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Let the other girls make mistakes around you.

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Just be solid, not amazing, spectacular,

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If I can keep doing that throughout the events, maybe I could

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be in with a chance of medalling and it became a gold medal.

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For it also come together and to win that

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was definitely one of my proudest moments.

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Injury has denied Greg Rutherford a chance of the 2013

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He recovered for the 2014 season and finished the year as

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Winning two majors made me realise, yeah, you can still do it.

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My focus became, let us gets a world title.

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I thought it was my competition to lose, even though there were

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I still believed on the day I would win it,

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and that I think is what got me through to do what I did.

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My motivation has always been winning.

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That stems from being a kid, often people told me

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My entire athletic career has basically

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been belligerently winning to prove everybody else that's doubted that

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At the Rio Olympics, Jess, Mo and Greg all once again compete

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together on the same night and

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Britain could not help but hope for another Super Saturday.

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But from experience, I know how hard it is to

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retain an Olympic title and perhaps toughest of all is being in perfect

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The unique challenges of the long jump

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meant that once again Greg was unlucky with injury.

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He got a really bad landing in some bad sand.

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Lost hearing. Vertigo.

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Against the clock, making progress, but we ran out of time.

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I had this moment where we were saying, what are you going to do?

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Probably about two thirds of the way through

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All of a sudden felt the sharp pain in my groin again.

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In that moment, I realised my opportunity of winning

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Just because I was in a position I had

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I had to muster every ounce of energy and is pretty much begged my

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I managed to somehow pull out eight .29 in round six I don't want to

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make any excuses for finishing third.

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the guys who beat me were better than me on the day. Jess and her

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team hoped she could continue to build on her unexpected World

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Championship gold. But with seven events to competing, defending her

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Olympic title would depend on training as effectively as possible.

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That year was so up and down. I kept picking up Achilles injuries to stop

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my left Achilles, problems with that. Weeks off training. And the

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other Achilles would stud herding. Despite her various setbacks, she

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found form just in time to travel to Rio. The challenge ahead of her was

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significant. No British woman had ever retained an Olympic track and

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field title. After 2015, I knew the year after the Olympic year everyone

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raises the game. I was getting older, having injuries. There were

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young athletes coming through and performing well. You look at her

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rivals, accumulating points. Jess last points in the shot and the long

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jump. Knew it would be difficult. She ran her heart out. The smallest

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winning margin in modern heptathlon history, 35 or 36. People asked if I

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was disappointed, but there was just a feeling, I have got here through

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the year I have had and the challenges I have had. I knew that I

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had done what I set out to achieve in my career and I was happy,

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content. I was going to walk away and feel disappointed -- not going

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to walk away, thinking I wished I had pushed on longer. Their careers

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remind us that it is no small thing to do this. It's demand everything

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you have to give. Mo Farah's ambition in the Rio would be to

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defend an Olympic double in gruelling long-distance events,

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which had only been achieved by one athlete in history. I felt tired.

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But four years of solid training, so no setbacks where I was missing one

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or two months. All pretty good. Mo Farah became the first ever British

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track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals. His attention

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now turns to the 5000 metres. I don't think he thought anything

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different than, I will win the 10,000 pounds then the 5000. Only

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ever one result. Five years after Super Saturday, the

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greatest night of British athletics, the best athletes in the world will

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return to London. I had a very major competition, as an athlete you want

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to feel prepared, ready to compete. With just a few weeks to go before

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the championships start, Greg is faced with one of the toughest

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decisions of his career. I have not had a season with these kind of

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injuries since 2007. I tore two ligament in my left ankle. At that

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point, I realised my World Championships where over. For Jess,

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a new challenge. Being a spectator. It will be completely different from

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you. Not only not there as an athlete performing, there as a

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heavily pregnant spectator. My life could not be more different. I am

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really looking forward to it. No post I come. London is where it

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happened, where my life change. When my children were born. I need to do

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London. I wanted more than any other year and I am excited to be able to

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complete one must them and hang my spikes up afterwards. The journeys

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that Jess, Mo Farah and Greg have been on since that unforgettable

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night in London tell the truth about what it takes to be the best in the

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world. This London, London 2017, will offer another opportunity for

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us to appreciate the world's greatest athletes and, in the

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knowledge that the journey to get there is never straightforward.

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London, here we come. For more on London 2017, go to the BBC website.

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