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)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Guru Careers: HR Administrator / Training Coordinator

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: An HR Administrator / Training Coordinator is requi...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'