Page 4 - BBHAC Winter 2014-15 Gazette web
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merely winning at all costs.          relay team and its tragic            run well and there were lots
“Well there’s so many things that     disqualification in the final        of things she could improve
makes good technique but at the       of the Olympic 100 metres at         on. And she admitted that she
end of the day it all comes down to   Beijing. Could this have been        has needed to focus on areas
efficiency” she remarks. “Good        avoided or made increasingly         of improvement and improve
technique is starting well and        unlikely? It might be she            on weaknesses such as her
getting up really quickly with low    says, but it’s all very well to      general muscle strength in
heel recovery from out of the blocks  criticise. “When you’ve got 8        particular and conditioning.
ensuring that there is as much power  girls running at full pelt into      “What I’ve focused on To get
put into the ground as possible”.     a changing zone... with tens of      up to a world class level” she
Even if attaining technical           thousands of people screaming        observes “is to build up your
perfection is demanding,              vociferously, you’re listening for   muscles and get my strength up.
those athletes who can either         one voice to shout out ‘hand’!, and  Also I’ve increased the general
replicate it under pressure,          8 people doing that at once, you     efficiency as to how I run in
or execute their races as             can imagine that it becomes quite    order to make sure that you’re
flawlessly as possible in a high      difficult! Never mind that this is   not wasting time or energ y in the
pressure situation, are the ones      an olympic final and this is the     race”. Talent which was once
who make potential Olympic            defining moment of your career”      raw is being constantly honed
Champions, and to get there           From experience she knows            and if weaknesses do exist she
she says “you have to have your       how difficult it is to execute a     would not just ignore them.
eyes on being technically efficient   relay baton change properly,         But they are not so much
and executing your race properly”.    despite all the most thorough        weaknesses as human
But whilst valuing efficiency         training, and the impossibility      tendencies, or what we might
and style she is still aware that     of preparing for or even             call being normal. Yes she’s
the ability to produce it in high     replicating the tensions in a        normal to the point of being
pressure situations is a key          scenario such as an Olympic          approachable and having a
requirement, and that sooner          final. So not only does              good sense of balance. This is
or later you may find yourself        she display that technical           best illustrated in her choice
in such a situation as a major        understanding required in an         of university and studies. She
championship, where the acid          event she says is more skill         wanted to have the normal
test of this technical perfection     than speed, but also reveals a       university experience as
is your ability to win medals         strong human streak, that of         opposed to the cocoon of
and breaking records.                 empathy, realising that we can       going off to college on a
She is of course aware of             all, with the best will in the       sports scholarship and so
others who have gone before           world still be fallible in those     enjoy the social and academic
and sometimes failed. If this         pressurised situations.              advantages of the experience
is in spite of having done all        Does this reveal an element          of King’s, London. Aware
they can then she is not going        of human frailty in her              of the need to respect her
to be judgmental of their             psychological makeup? I              studies she has aimed to be
failures and Montell Douglas          don’t think it does because          like any conscientious student
is such a case. Having broken         often great strengths can            with a sensible work ethic,
her 100m British record Dina          be mistakenly perceived as           respecting deadlines rather
is mindful of the experience          weaknesses. After Hengelo            than ‘literally’ running away
of the 2008 British sprint            she confessed that she had not       from them.
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