In his first IAAF Online Diary, World 400m Hurdles champion Dai Greene talks about the difficult demands on his time as the London Olympics approach, experiencing the theatre for the first time, and his new puppy.
“This is my first IAAF diary column and in the coming months I hope to offer a little bit of an insight into my life as an athlete both on and off the track. I always enjoy reading the behind the scenes content of other athletes and I hope by reading my column you will all be able to understand the demands placed on an athlete, particularly one that faces huge expectation approaching a home Olympics.
“As you can imagine it is hard for me not to be reminded of the London Olympic Games and as one of only two reigning British World champions I am inundated with requests. Unfortunately, I need to be quite selective about which requests I take up away from the track so I keep focused and do not stray from my athletics commitments. Thankfully, I have a very experienced coach in Malcolm Arnold who keeps me on the straight and narrow. He summed it up succinctly by saying “you can either go out and earn as much money as you can as a World champion or you can be the best person you can be for the next five years and earn much money.”
“I quickly realised that this is exactly the right approach and I’ve been following Malcolm’s advice because I am desperate to be the best that I can and win that Olympic gold medal in August. Training has so far gone really well this winter and I seem to have progressed well over the past few months. I returned back in October and spent a month in the sunshine based in South Africa for a month from the end of December.
“We made the decision to change a few things in training, realising that if I replicated what I did the previous winter I would only achieve the same results. So this winter I’ve put in a few extra sessions in an effort to find that extra one per cent. I’ve tended to squeeze in a few more endurance sessions which we hope will reap their rewards this summer, and, most importantly, at the London Olympics.
“Although my No.1 priority is always the training, as a current World champion I have been presented some interesting opportunities. I recently appeared on a TV show called The Cube in which I have to undertake a whole series of different challenges with cash prizes. I can’t say how I got on in the show - because it has not yet been screened - but it was a lot of fun and something totally different. All the money I won went to Young Epilepsy – a charity of which I am ambassador - although I must admit training as a 400m hurdler did not really prepare me for some of the challenges I had to do!
“Also my girlfriend, Sian, recently celebrated her birthday and we both travelled to London to see the musical The Lion King. Sian loves the theatre but for me it was my first ever experience of that world. It is always nice to try something new, the sets were incredibly inventive and it was really interesting how the characters interacted.
“We are also picking up a puppy in the next couple of days – a Hungarian Viszla. My girlfriend has been keen to get a dog for a long time and I’ve finally relented, although the breed of dog was a bit of a compromise. I fancied a Greyhound or a Lurcher but Sian wanted a Labrador but we thought it was the right time to add a puppy to the home and it will add a bit more security for Sian when I’m away training and competing.
“Finally, I’m also looking forward to watching the forthcoming World Indoor Championships in Istanbul as a fan. As a 400m hurdler I never get the chance to compete indoors but to be honest I’m more than happy to watch the action unfold from the living room where I’ll be keeping a close eye on my training partner Andy Pozzi, who is making his senior Great Britain debut in the 60m hurdles.
Until next time,’”