13th July 2016 – I don’t usually do this, but here goes…
Rio 2016 will be my fourth and final Olympic Games. Incidentally, my professional athletic career actually begun at the Athens Olympic Games 2004. At that time, making the team to compete in the individual 400m was far more than I had expected for that year. I would have been very very happy to just make the relay team and maybe get a run out in one of the rounds.
I have survived 3 Olympic cycles, quite a feat for an individual event and it has been quite a journey from 2004. It has been far from easy; many ups and many downs, lots of smiles lots of frowns. I have had big losses but then have had big wins. I am proud that in all of that I am still standing and able to earn my rightful place on the team. Untypically, it was a late qualification, nevertheless it was the result I needed to get me to Rio.
I would first like to thank the selectors for giving me this opportunity to go out and represent my country. I never take anything for granted and every moment I spend on the track competing at an Olympic Games is truly honouring – an experience that can’t be re-created anywhere. I would like to thank them for their continued faith in me.
I didn’t do all this alone; I really couldn’t (even though I like to think that I can!) and I am extremely grateful for those who have graced with me with their presence over my journey, however small or large a part that was played. So many people come to mind and every interaction (positive and negative!) has helped propel me forward eventually presenting me at the point I find myself in today. From my personal team who work with me daily, helping me to stay focused on my aims and my goals, the people who man the centres that I train at (Pete and Mick – this is for you!) to those who have long moved on and so our paths don’t cross anymore. From physios, doctors, coaches – past and present – support staff, sponsors, my agents, Stuart Weir and Jules Wilkinson (not too sure which category to put you two in!) NEB Athletics Club who have seen me from complete novice to a seasoned professional. The list is endless! Then I have my friends, that I struggle to keep up with, but are always gracious in their support. My family who are there with me every step of the way, every complaint, every moan, every stress, they are there and they keep me uplifted. Love you guys so much. I couldn’t list everyone here and that’s the danger of attempting to list people; you invariably miss LOTS of people out… but I know you all and I hope you all accept my heartfelt appreciation.
Thank you all for your encouragement and patience, kind words, stern tone (when needed), your hellos, your smiles, your jokes. I love laughing and wherever I am, I am guaranteed a laugh every day from someone. On some days that’s the perfect cheer up that I need to put me in the right mood to get on with my training, or to pick me up after a stressful day. I am indebted to your contribution.
And then the fans out there! Some of you guys have followed my entire journey, some haven’t, but for reaching out to me – thank you. I don’t always get around to responding to everyone, but I do read the messages (even the horrible ones, I will even mention the trolls too! Good motivation for me!) Thank you guys for supporting myself and the other athletes, sport is nothing without the fans
The biggest thanks I have to reserve for my coach, Mr Lloyd Cowan. Ours has been a long partnership, we have had our disappointments and bumped heads many times, but with our singular goal we made it work. He ingrained in my mind that I was to give a good account of myself, no excuses, no matter what. He made me walk with my head high. He taught me how to be a warrior, to never run away from any challenge despite how big the odds were against me – despite sometimes being unfit or underprepared. He made sure that when I got to the start line, I was taller than everyone else. He had absolute belief in me, when very few did. My medals are our medals.
Thanks for your prayers and best wishes. X