Usually I hate early mornings. It’s a key element to elite performance for an athlete getting enough rest and recovery, which is a hard thing to understand as we’re perceived at being fit, healthy, and good at everything! I sleep at least 8 hours every night and make sure I eat about 4 or 5 times everyday. I have honed my ability to slide head first down the skeleton track and be physically strong and good at sprinting, but there are also lots of things I’m not very good at.
Today I spent a bit of time watching the downhill racing, moguls, and curling, all events that are totally beyond my own sporting ability. I remember when I was in school I would join every after school club, every sports team, and try to learn to play the piano and sing. Living in a relatively remote area my primary school only had 20 or so students in each class, giving me a pretty good chance of being involved in all the school plays. I would audition for quite central roles, believing that I could give it as good a go as anyone else. I always got the ‘tree number 2’ role, credit to my branch and leaf swaying skills. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old that I realized that my gift was being determined, being committed to be my best. I had a natural affinity to sports because I knew I could learn a trick or skill if I just kept practicing, and I did.
I was selected for the National Prep Schools competition for the high jump and shot putt which was hosted at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. The primary school sports teachers and I did research on the shuffle shot putt technique and Frosby-flop for the high jump, and spent every lunch time down at the athletics track practicing. I recall a single moment of looking over to all my friends playing together and hearing them scream and shout in excitement, and here I was focused on jumping 1.50m instead of 1.45m, and I unquestionably knew that this is where I wanted to be. I wanted to see how good I could be at something, and I knew that if I didn’t give up and I trained harder than anyone else, then I might just get there.
It wasn’t hard to get up out of bed in the end, because it was the start of the Official Training for the Olympics. 2 runs each day over 3 days, racing on Thursday and Friday.
Training is training, racing is racing, and I know that I have a lot of practicing to do here before I compete. I do know one thing though – I will never give up.