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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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 Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam