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)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment