Credo: Daley Thompson

'Athletes these days are too robotic; people like to see emotion'

I have the mentality of a winner I first went to the Olympic Games when I was 17, three weeks after my O-levels, and I remember sitting in a dining-hall filled with the world's best athletes. I felt so excited, and I wanted people to react to me in the same way I was reacting to them – and in my heart I believed that one day they would.

 

I took on the Decathlon under sufferance When [former coach] Bob Mortimer suggested I do the event, I told him, "Good athletes don't do it, so it's not something I want." But when someone from my athletics club dropped out of a competition, I was sent instead. By the end I thought, "I could be wicked at this!"

 

The Olympics has provided a big lift to the nation You only have to look at the torch relays. I was in Manchester the other day and it was pouring with rain, but there were still thousands of spectators out in the street at 6am, lining the route. We love a big event in this country.

 

Retiring was hard I'd spent 15 years doing something I loved but when you get older everything seems to go. When I started spending too long with the physio and the doctor, I knew it was time to call it a day. But I had no preparation for being retired and I didn't know what to do.

 

If you work hard in real life, people tend to get in your way – either from inertia or prejudice – and they stop you achieving things. It's the worst thing about real life compared with sports, where you generally get what you deserve: if you're the fastest guy, you win; there are no other games being played.

 

Athletes these days are too robotic People like to see performances filled with emotion. In my career I tried to be amusing, to differentiate myself from the other champions. So what I like about [British triathlete medal hopefuls] the Brownlee brothers, is that they're old school; they enjoy a party, and it's followed by going out at 6am the next morning to train.

 

Extra-thick milkshakes are my guilty pleasure I was in an Ed's Diner yesterday and I went for a mint-chocolate milkshake, followed by a banana and strawberry one, and they tasted wonderful. I still train six days a week, and I'd rather do that and have them than not have them.

 

I believe in god You could argue that with three-quarters of the planet suffering, how could there be a god? But I don't think that way, as I'm an optimist.

 

I wish I had a pound every time someone mentioned my computer game [Daley Thompson's Decathlon, released in 1984] It was one of the first sports games. I laughed at the finished game and told the developers, "That doesn't look like me – it's a white bloke!" Still, I used to play it a lot and beat my own javelin records. I was wicked.

 

As a double-Olympic-gold-winning decathlete, Daley Thompson, 53, broke the event's world record four times. He supports BT's Art of Sport (btartofsport.com)

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