Michael Johnson: From London 2012 to London 2017

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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


scene of the 2012 Olympics as they compete to be crowned


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


Five years have passed since London 2012.


But the memory of those golden moments


It was Britain's most successful Olympics


Day after day of trial is almost blurring into one.


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


Greg Rutherford won gold in the long jump


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


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


made the Super Saturday the best night in British sport.


Since then, they have all faced challenges in


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


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


In this programme, they will reflect on


their journeys since that unforgettable night in the


And consider what the future holds as London prepares to


Five years have passed since Super Saturday.


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


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


During my own career, I competed in three Olympic Games


I dealt with the highs and lows that come with


Greg Rutherford, the long jump star of


Super Saturday, trains to be the best in the


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


That means spending much of the year in Arizona.


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


One of the best coaches in the world.


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


Last year, nearly six months leading into the


I will keep going as long as I keep going.


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


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


As a result of his incredible achievements on


the track, Mo Farah has become a global star.


The pursuit of this dominance means his training also


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


the elevation. Good facilities.


This is what people need in terms of high altitude.


Back in the days, the Kenyans and Ethiopians beating


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


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


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


see my family, racing, training camps.


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


Eat, sleep, train - nothing more to it.


For Jessica Ennis-Hill, the best place


to be has always been at home in Sheffield


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


This is Sheffield, your hometown? Yes.


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


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


When I started athletics, learning about championships and the


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


I never imagined that I would have had the journey that


Sat here in this position, chatting to you.


With lots of gold medals and an Olympic gold


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


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


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


I think for me the most important thing at


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


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


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


I thought, honestly, can this all come together


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


It will conclude with the 800m final underneath the


spotlight of the packed Olympic Stadium.


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


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


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


It was just like nothing I had ever experienced.


Everybody in there wanted you to do well.


And was excited about the prospect of doing well.


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


That morning, I was about five o'clock.


The night before, I could not switch off.


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


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


I remember waiting and nerves building.


The way she controlled the pressure she


had - everyone already hung a Olympic gold-medal


We know how much can go wrong in athletics.


She dealt with that pressure incredibly well.


Crossing the line was one of the most amazing


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


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


I want to have the crowd going mad for me.


It ended up being the next jump was the longest


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


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


becoming Olympic champion on


a night which was truly spectacular for British sport.


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


Going into the race, I knew if I could go


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


I normally start at the back and work


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


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


Watching Mo Farah standing under the Olympic flame.


He was cheering on the side of the track.


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


That moment was beautiful as a family.


The 45 minutes with Jess, Greg and then me.


After London, describe the change in your life.


You have people wanting you to appear at this, talk


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


Did you ever look at them or reach out to one


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


For me, probably because I always saw Jess


I get on really well with both of them.


Probably never quite them, if that make sense.


They are two of the greatest in British history and I


have never been able to put myself with them.


The 2013 World Championships offered Greg the


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


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


I should not have gone to the World Championships.


I had a ruptured hamstring, could not run fast.


I hoped and believed I could do something.


Possibly you had to prove people wrong.


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


Mo Farah's London Olympics did not end


Immediately after becoming the 10,000 champ, his


attention turned to his pursuit of the 5000 metres gold.


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


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


Resting up, getting ready. Not get distracted.


Then I ran the heat three days later and


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


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


A year on from Super Saturday, the 2013 World


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


If he could add to the world 10,000 meter


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


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


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


When you win championships, it gives you a boost,


confidence. Feel like you can do it.


Which sometimes gets difficult because most people know what you


I feel like I have been in this situation before.


Going into Beijing, I was in great shape.


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


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


I had to smoothly stride it up and come away


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


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


So when Reggie comes he is like Mummy.


I started when I was ten, a little older.


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


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


Guiding her progress from promising schoolkids sprinted to multi event


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


Having won gold in London and facing the prospect


of becoming a parent for


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


Having a son, having to balance life more,


I had all those emotions of not wanting to


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


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


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


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


It was one of the most challenging things I


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


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


My huge motivator was Reggie because,


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


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


The Beijing World Championships took place one year


after the birth of Jess' son, Reggie.


No heptathlete had ever come back from childbirth to win a


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


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


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


regardless of the shape she had been in,


applies pressure to the other athletes because they are going,


that is Jess. She has turned up.


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


Let the other girls make mistakes around you.


Just be solid, not amazing, spectacular,


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


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


For it also come together and to win that


was definitely one of my proudest moments.


Injury has denied Greg Rutherford a chance of the 2013


He recovered for the 2014 season and finished the year as


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


My focus became, let us gets a world title.


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


I still believed on the day I would win it,


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


My motivation has always been winning.


That stems from being a kid, often people told me


My entire athletic career has basically


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


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


together on the same night and


Britain could not help but hope for another Super Saturday.


But from experience, I know how hard it is to


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


The unique challenges of the long jump


meant that once again Greg was unlucky with injury.


He got a really bad landing in some bad sand.


Lost hearing. Vertigo.


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


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


Probably about two thirds of the way through


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


In that moment, I realised my opportunity of winning


Just because I was in a position I had


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


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


make any excuses for finishing third.


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


team hoped she could continue to build on her unexpected World


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


Olympic title would depend on training as effectively as possible.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


defend an Olympic double in gruelling long-distance events,


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


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


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


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


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


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


ever one result. Five years after Super Saturday, the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


knowledge that the journey to get there is never straightforward.


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