Martyn Rooney is ready to avenge his racing demons. In last year’s World Championships in Daegu he crashed out in the 400m semi-finals - now he's using that memory to fuel his London 2012 training.
With a strong finish at the Beijing Olympics under his belt, the 400m and 4x400m sprinter reveals his tactics for this summer.
I’ve been to four World Championships but nothing prepares you for an Olympics. I could go on about it for hours; it’s such an amazing experience.
Standing in the Beijing stadium was scary. During the heats and semi finals I was really nervous; I was sick a couple of times before each race and I was almost shaking. The blood was pumping and the adrenaline was ridiculously high.
You have to remember that you’re there to do a job. In the heats make sure you get through to the semis, in the semis make sure you get to the final. Go out and run it the same way you’ve ran all season and don’t lose your head.
Competing in an Olympic final is quite electrifying; you do feel that shiver up your spine.
The 4x400m relay team in Beijing were close-knit. Whenever we were nervous, we’d have a bit of a joke - we ended up singing stuff from The Mighty Boosh. Running for a team gives you a new perspective - you want to do your best for the other guys.
People are moaning about taxpayers' money being used for London 2012 and Londoners are saying, “we have to put up with roadworks”. I promise people will love London 2012 when it starts. It’s such a unique experience being in an Olympic city.
The Olympic race that inspired me most was Donna Fraser coming fourth in the 400m in Sydney. She was from the same club as me and grew up in the same area - that’s when I really got the buzz for athletics.
I’ve got a picture of the London Olympic stadium saved on my computer at home. Every time I switch it on it’s a reminder of my goal.
When I visualise the 400m final, I imagine myself running the perfect race, crossing the line and winning on the dip – it’s quite close. I’d rather it was with a good five metre gap, but I think my brain’s quite realistic, it knows it’s going to be tight.
I try to block out the crowds when I’m running. I take in the atmosphere a little as we’re walking to the start, but once you’ve lined up I try not to look outside of the lane. It’s tunnel vision; you just focus on what you’re doing.
Do you remember there was a streaker who took out the lead marathon runner in the Athens Olympics? I wanted someone to come and take me out at the World Championships in Daegu at 200m, so at least I had an excuse for doing so badly. But there was no excuse. I don’t want that feeling ever again, so that motivates me every day in training.
It’s going to be odd having a home Olympics with so many people with British flags shouting out your name. A positive crowd can help us win medals.
Obesity is becoming an issue in the UK. The Olympics is a shop window where people can see a sport they’re never seen before, be tempted to try it and enjoy it - at any level.
My post-Olympics reward will be a Dominos Meat Feast pizza on a BBQ base. That’s me letting my hair down. I can’t wait.
Coach: Nick Dakin
Club: Croydon Harriers
2010 – European Championships 4x400m relay silver
2010 – European Championships 400m bronze
2009 – World Championships 4x400m relay silver
2008 – Beijing Olympics 400m sixth place
2006 - IAAF World Junior Championships 400m bronze
June 2012 - Aviva 2012 Trials
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