14 October 2019

5 minutes with Katarina Johnson-Thompson

May 14, 2013
5 minutes with Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Ever since Katarina Johnson-Thompson broke Jessica Ennis’ British junior heptathlon record in Italy last May, the Liverpudlian has been tipped as the Olympic champion’s natural successor.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson-1

And winning world junior long jump gold last year has definitely underlined this potential. Not only this, but Katarina went on to finish a credible 15th at London 2012 in her first Olympic experience aged just 19, so it’s exciting to see what the future holds.

Sportsister’s Lizzie caught up with her for five minutes as she sets her sights on Rio and beyond…

So tell me what a typical training week is like for you at the moment?

At the moment I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m just coming up to competition, but normally I train five days a week.

Mondays are the gym session where I’d just be doing arm and leg exercises,  Tuesday will be conditioning and I’d really work on my shot-put and javelin and then do track sessions.

Wednesdays I have off. Thursdays we just do track sessions and Friday is a technical session and again I really try to work on my javelin and shot-put. Saturdays I train but then Sundays I have off.

When I’m doing conditioning and technical I’m with my coach, but when I’m doing track session I train with some of the lads and get motivated by chasing them!

You’ve mentioned training a lot on javelin and shot-put, would you say that these are your two weakest disciplines?

Yeah definitely. I’m always trying to work on them to make them much stronger, I don’t want to embarrass myself by them!

Do you ever go abroad to do training?

No. I did actually had the option to go away this year to Florida but I wanted to stay at home.

How did you get into the sport initially?

It was really strange I was into other sports at an early age, but then at school I tried a high jump competition and immediately broke a record without any previous experience. From then I just start picking up more and more events until I found heptathlon.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson-warm-up

You’ve got a big year ahead with the U23 European Championships, the Anniversary Games and the UK trials for the World Championships in Moscow, does London 2012 still inspire you to push yourself?

Definitely it still inspires me, I want to get that feeling again and I don’t care where I am to get it. I have since deferred a year at my university so I can focus completely on sport. I’ve decided that education is something that I can go back to, right now I just want to give my all at the moment to athletics.

What impact do you think that London 2012 has had on athletics in this country?

The general public has really been affected by the Olympics, so many more people have got involved with athletics, and the interest hasn’t died down.

Looking ahead to Rio are you aiming for a medal?

Of course yes at Rio I do want to win a medal but I don’t mind which colour! I’m 20 years old now so in Rio I’ll be 23 and then the following Olympics I’ll be 27. Jess is a huge inspiration to me and she’s 27 now so yes I definitely I want to do well in both of them.

If you could get front row tickets to Rio event what would it be?

I think I’d pick the cycling in the velodrome, also as well maybe the diving that always looks great.

With seven events your kit bag must be pretty full! What essential item do you always make sure you carry with you?

Yes being a heptathlete I carry around a lot of stuff at all times! But I do listen to music during training and competition, so that is always with me.

If you hadn’t had done heptathlon what do you think you would be doing?

I don’t know I’ve always wanted to do sport. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy my sport science course at uni, I’ve thought about maybe going into the nutritional side of things though.

And finally, what is the greatest advice that you’ve been given?

My coach is always giving me great tips, but they’re always funny. I don’t know he’d appreciate me telling you! But he will say a song lyric like Pink’s song Try – he will says the words “You’ve got to get up and ty try try try!”

You’ve also got to try and find something that you enjoy doing, that’s really important.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson was speaking at the McCain Home Grown Talent Winners Day. The Home Grown Talent Winners Day brought together talented athletes from the UK to help the youngsters continue their development and encourage their interest in the sport.

Lizzie Flint,  Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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