Phillips Idowu turned to Twitter yesterday in an attempt to show the world his Olympic hopes are hanging by something more substantial than a thread.
In the wake of the triple-jumper's late withdrawal from the London Grand Prix meeting at Crystal Palace on Saturday, after suffering a hip problem in the warm-up, and a report yesterday that he had hired medical help from outside the UK Athletics system in a bid to get fit for the looming London Games, he posted a video of himself lifting weights in the gym and looking anything but a physical wreck.
It was accompanied by the message: "A Lil squat session to start the day. Can U guess the weight?"
Idowu did not specify on which day the video was shot, but the obvious implication was that it was yesterday. If that were the case, he would have made a very swift recovery from the problem that caused the 33-year-old former world champion to back out of the Crystal Palace competition, his last scheduled test before the heats of the men's triple jump in the Olympic Stadium three weeks today. In the clip, he is seen flexing his hips with no difficulty, squatting with a loaded weightlifting bar resting on his shoulders.
UK Athletics refused to comment on the report that Idowu had sought his own medical treatment. Like Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, the Londoner is known to have had regular treatment from UK Athletics' widely respected lead for sports science and medicine, Neil Black, a former international middle-distance runner.
It would not be uncommon for a leading British athlete to seek private help, however – particularly in a time of crisis, ahead of a major championship.
Only two weeks ago Paula Radcliffe flew to Munich to have a foot injury treated by the celebrated German sports doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, who also numbers Usain Bolt among his clients.
Idowu has not competed since he landed awkwardly during a Diamond League meeting in the US on 2 June. He insisted last week he had not been injured. After the pull-out at the Palace and the video yesterday, it is difficult to know what to think, which is probably how the enigmatic Idowu would like it just over a week away from the opening of the Games.
The Hackney man was not the only British athlete who suffered an injury scare at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Tiffany Porter aggravated a back problem and left the track in tears after struggling home last in her 100m hurdles heat.
However, the US-born British record holder tweeted yesterday: "Rest assured this half of #teamPorter will be ready for the Games." The other half of Team Porter, husband and fellow hurdler Jeff, is in the US Olympic track and field squad.
He was in action at Crystal Palace on Friday night, finishing third in a heat won by Liu Xiang. The world-record holder from China withdrew from the final, his coach saying he did not want his charge to risk aggravating a back problem so close to the Games in cold and wet conditions.
Liu, who broke down injured in the heats at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, has also withdrawn from his London training camp because of the English climate. He had been due to prepare for the Games with rest of the Chinese track and field team at St Mary's University College in Twickenham but has set up camp in Dusseldorf instead.
"Due to the low temperatures in London many Chinese athletes and other sports teams have chosen to look for other training bases," Liu's coach, Sun Haipang, said yesterday. "Liu Xiang is not the only one."
One athlete definitely out of the Games is Delano Williams, the 18-year-old from the Turks and Caicos Islands who has a British passport because his Caribbean homeland is a British Overseas Territory and who tried out for the British Olympic team last month because Turks and Caicos has no National Olympic Committee. He finished seventh in the 200m at trials in Birmingham but on Friday won the world junior 200m title in Barcelona, clocking 20.48sec.
Williams might not have made the Team GB grade but it was announced yesterday that he would be joining the Racers Track Club in Kingston, Jamaica, as a training partner of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
Remind you of anyone? Witness the fitness
Phillips Idowu's Twitter post is not the first time an athlete has circulated a training video amid doubts about their fitness.
A year ago, former England footballer Owen Hargreaves posted a series of videos of himself working vigorously in the gym on YouTube.
Hargreaves, then 30, had been released by Manchester United three months previously, after making only 27 appearances in four injury-strewn years, and was seeking to attract a new club.
The video appeared to do the trick as the midfielder signed for Manchester City the following month. Unfortunately, Hargreaves only managed four appearances for his new club before being released.Reuse content