"Since my disappointment at the London Olympic Games, where I finished fourth in the 400m Hurdles final, I decided to call a premature end to my season. To be honest, I had lost a bit of motivation to compete and after the problems I had with my knee during the winter it made sense to have a long rest.
"I have just returned from a short break on holiday with my girlfriend and her family in France. It was good to spend some quality time with Sian’s family. We stayed about 90 minutes from Nice and not far from St Tropez. In the mornings we spend travelling through nearby villages, in the afternoon I played a bit of volleyball and sat, mainly in the shade, reading and on an evening we’d go for meals out.
"I plan to have about seven weeks off before returning to training on October 8 with my coach, Malcolm Arnold. I’ll start going out for small runs about two weeks before that date but the slightly extended break won’t be too bad as I normally take five to six weeks out at the end of every season.
"As for the Olympics it was obviously a huge disappointment for me and it may take some months to fully recover.
"Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the best shape of my life for the biggest competition of my career. The semi-finals certainly took me by surprise (Dai finished fourth and only qualified for the final as one of two fastest losers). I had aspirations to win a medal and even win the event and to get through to the final as a fastest loser was a big shock.
"In the final I also finished fourth and I was surprised by Felix Sanchez’s performance (at the London Olympic Games he ran his quickest 400m Hurdles times for eight years). He is capable of running that fast – as he has shown in the past – and you could see with his reaction after the race how much it meant to him. I was pleased for Felix, he is a great ambassador for the sport.
"My hope is that that one day I can emulate him as Olympic champion. I am eight years younger than Felix, so hopefully that means I have a couple of Olympics left in me.
"The question of why I didn’t quite perform is obviously one I have given a lot of thought to. In Paris (on July 6) I felt fantastic. I ran a personal best of 47.84 and I hoped to build on that. For some reason I didn’t work out at the Olympics but I did miss a lot of training because of the injury problems I had in the winter and I think my endurance and conditioning started to suffer.
"I haven’t watched or followed any athletics since the Olympic Games but even with my own disappointment, and I know it sounds a bit clichéd, it was genuinely great to be part of such a special event. To see so many people smiling – that pleasure wasn’t lost in my own performance.
"As for the future all I can do is try and use the disappointment of this year to re-motivate myself for next year. I desperately want to defend my World 400m Hurdles title in Moscow next summer. I’ll work closely with my coach on trying to make sure next year is a better for me. I didn’t have the chance to add extra sessions to my training programme last year and hopefully I will have that opportunity this winter.
"In the short-term, though, I can do some of the things I normally don’t get the chance to do. Last weekend I went to the Notting Hill Carnival in London thanks to an invite from a personal sponsor and I also attended my first ever wedding. I have been invited to weddings before but I have always had to turn them down because they have clashed with training or other athletics commitments. I have another wedding to go to this weekend and I’ll try and enjoy these next few weeks as much as I can before the hard grind starts again in the autumn.
"Until next time,"
Mauro Vinicius da Silva