Jason Richardson in the mens 110mH at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Series

Work, rest and play – Jason Richardson

The 2011 world 110m hurdles champion Jason Richardson is regarded as one of the most charismatic athletes on the circuit.

Here the US sprint hurdler answers our work, rest and play questions.

Jason at work


What is your favourite session?

Jason Richardson: My favourite mixes up a little bit of sprinting and hurdling because I love to do the two. Anything that makes me feel Bolt-ish but also Nehemiah-ish and Kingdom-ish is what I like to feel.


What is your least favourite session?

JR: That would be 150s. I find 150s are like the end of a loaf of bread – unnecessary; 150s are neither too long or too short. I'm from a 400m hurdles background, so 300m and 500m are fine but for some reason running 150s is the session that wipes me out.


What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

JR: My favourite thing is it allows me to able to retain a nice body. The second thing is it allows me to travel the world, so I now have more stamps on my passport than many people. The third thing is the family I've created through athletics both at a collegiate and professional level.


What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

JR: This sounds a really weird answer, but in some ways track and field is an arrested development in that sometimes we don't have a chance to grow up as normal individuals.

We often don’t have to face those real-world issues. For example, many athletes have never been fired from a job or had to work long hours for a boss they hate. Many of us (athletes) have never learned how to compromise because we never have to. Sometimes that makes it difficult to navigate through a world that isn't always roses.

The other downside is it is hard to maintain relationships when you are competing on the circuit. Now there are definitely athletes that have strong relationships and healthy marriages on the circuit, but it is tough.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but I don’t know if that is true. It is really hard when you are dating and trying to establish a meaningful relationship and then you say, ‘bye, I’m going to be gone for three months.’


Do you have an all-time favourite training partner?

JR: Carmelita Jeter for the reason her and I have trained and travelled alongside each other for a long time.

We often support each other when practise gets really hard. There are times when both of us have been on the edge of breaking down in practise but both of us know the right thing to say to calm the other down.

Jason at rest


Do you have a favourite place to relax?

JR: Where I find true serenity is in the comfort of my bed sheets. If it was up to me, I would sleep more hours than I would be awake. Rest is important for track and field and training, but rest is important for life. You have to reset yourself at some point. When I get stressed I tend to go to sleep.


Describe your perfect non-training day.

JR: I would wake up without an alarm clock, let my body wake up and go up to the curtains and dramatically open them to great sunlight, like in the movies. I would shower and spend the morning buying a couple of luxury items. I’d then spend time with my friends and maybe have something to eat. I like to eat healthily. If it is the off season, I might grab a couple of cocktails and have a bit of a party.


If you could pick one person from the world of track and field to spend a day to relax with, who would it be?

JR: I’m big friends with Carmelita Jeter, she’s as crazy as I am! Allyson Felix and Brianna Rollins are two of the most calm, peaceful people I know, so they would have a calming effect.

Another person would be Ryan Wilson. He’s a real urban hippy. Nothing ever bothers him. He’s always chilled. I’ve never known him get angry in all the time I’ve known him.


What are your favourite TV shows to relax to?

JR: I don't watch a lot of TV but when I do I enjoy watching any of the reality TV shows because they are just ridiculous and don’t require me to think. Another programme I really enjoy is Downton Abbey, Jenny Simpson put me on that.

Jason at play


When did your passion for fashion begin?

JR: It started when I was at high school. Back then I was incredibly skinny and it became difficult to shop for clothes. Yet when I went to shop at a couple of high-end stores the fit was better. European fit is always slimmer. When I went pro and started to make more money, I shopped for more European brands and developed more of a European style.


Do you have a favourite fashion label?

JR: My favourite men’s label would be Rick Owens. He has a good blend of European style, which is still pretty clean. I have a beard and dreads but I need to keep it polished so that I look employed! Celine make the best jewellery and I also include my adidas boost shoes. They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever put on. They are like a warm Christian hug. I know I’m paid to say that but, even if I wasn’t, I would still say it!


Do you have a favourite store to shop in?

JR: The store would be Barneys in LA. I go in so often that the shop assistants greet me by name. It is sad when I’ve been overseas and when you return the shop assistants say we haven’t seen you in a while! I spend a serious amount of time in Barneys. I love it because they have really good sales. You can get some great stuff at 50 or 70 percent off.   


Have you had any fashion disasters?

JR: Anyone that is willing to experiment and make a statement with fashion will go a little off message every now and then. The way I dressed at college was definitely sad, even though it worked at the time. Back then I wore baggier clothes, very different to how I dress now.


Who is the most fashionable person in track in field?

JR: The most fashionable person I have ever seen and who makes my eyes stand up is Murielle Ahoure. The clothes she wears are never loud but if you know your labels, the pieces she wears are really tailored and really well made.


Steve Landells for the IAAF