The 2014 Diamond Race long jump winner Tianna Bartoletta has enjoyed a lengthy career in the sport. The US sprinter-jumper answers some questions about her world at work, rest and play.
Tianna at work
What is your favourite training session?
Tianna Bartoletta: I love to bound. I feel I am tireless when it comes to that workout. It combines speed and springiness which is me in a nutshell being a sprinter/jumper.
What is your least favourite training session?
TB: I’m not a fan of running any farther than 200m – even if I know it is a necessary evil.
What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?
TB: World travel and the visibility you get from performing well on the world stage. The third thing I would say is the competition. I respect all levels of competition, especially the head-to-head nature of the 100m.
Who is your favourite training partner?
TB: I don’t really have any one person, but what I will say is the IMG Academy have been gracious enough to allow me to train with their high school football team. I sit in my blocks about two metres behind them and we race. They are my favourite training partners because they try their hardest to beat me but can’t!
What is the worst thing about being an athlete?
TB: I feel it traps you in a space and time between being a teenager and an adult. Some of us compete for a long time, yet when it is over we are suddenly thrown into adult life that some of us may or may not have been diligent enough to prepare for. So I feel as an athlete we are in a never- never land, going on trips, having room-mates, being herded on buses, etc.
Tianna at rest
What is your favourite music to chill to?
TB: I like a lot of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. That is a genre of music I like to listen to. It helps me unwind. I like the smoothness in their voice. Their delivery disarms and relaxes me.
Describe your perfect day without training.
TB: It would normally be a typical Sunday. My husband wakes before me, so when I get up there will be Italian opera music playing and he would have made breakfast. It will then be a lazy Sunday either in the pool or watching (American) football at this time of year. When it comes to a non-training day, I like to do absolutely nothing.
If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to relax, who would it be?
TB: Someone who has succeeded at the long jump, so I’ll go for Jackie Joyner-Kersee. She was also an amazing heptathlete and I’d like to ask her how she found the transition between training for heptathlon and long jump because I struggle switching from my sprinting rhythm on the runway to running in the 100m. She would be the perfect person for me to relax with. She’s already been successful and has a heart for philanthropy which I’m completely drawn to. She would be a great person to shoot the breeze with.
Where is your favourite place to relax?
TB: On my couch, in front of my television at home. We have an 80in flat-screen television and although my husband has a very busy job, if I say ‘I’ll meet you on the couch at 7.30pm’ he’ll be there. It is also the second-best place to watch movies after the movie theatre.
Do you have an all-time favourite movie?
TB: I love Cinderella Man. I relate to his story of once being great, losing his way and then coming back and being great again.
Tianna at play
When did your passion for books begin?
TB: As soon as I could read! Books are a great escape for me, especially during tougher periods of my life. Reading a book can totally take me out of that space and transport me elsewhere.
Do you have a favourite book?
TB: The Alchemist because I feel I can relate to that story. I also have some go-to authors. I will always read anything by James Rollins – he’s a thriller writer. When it comes to reading books on the circuit, I choose large epics.
What are you reading now?
TB: I’m currently reading the fourth book in the Outlander series – Drums of Autumn. The premise is a woman who lives in the 1940s touches one of those standing stone circles and is transported back to 1743 and she has to figure out how to survive and how to get back. The author did a great job of creating a whole new world.
Do you prefer to read a kindle or real books?
TB: I love books and the way they smell. I read real books.
If you were to write a fiction book, what would be the plot?
TB: It would be a realistic thriller, so when people run upstairs there would not be a no-exit sign!
Steve Landells for the IAAF