"I'll get there if I put the effort in," says the 800m UK title holder.
Raise Your Game: How do you deal with the pressure of performing on the big stage?
Michael Rimmer: You've just got to channel it in the right way. I take it as a compliment. A couple of years ago I was struggling as a junior and I was losing the belief that I could get to the top. As a youngster of 13, 14 and 15-years-old I was breaking UK records here, there and everywhere.
I came fourth in the world under eighteens and I wasn't really training that often. It looked as though the world was my oyster. I thought I could get anything I wanted if I put my mind to it but I got lazy, and people who were way behind in my age group went past me. That was a big wake-up call so, since then, I've just knuckled down and I've got back on top.
RYG: What did you do to bring about the transformation in your performances?
MR: I changed my coach. I was lucky enough that my old coach, John Bradshaw, saw that I was losing my interest and said 'I think it's time you moved on.' Not too many coaches would've passed me on. My new coach shook me out of that lazy attitude.
RYG: How important is the relationship between an athlete and their coach?
3 February 1986
- Silver - 800m, European Championships, Barcelona (2010)
- Fourth - 800m, Aviva British Grand Prix, Gateshead, (2009)
- Winner - UK AAA National Championships (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- The first male 800m runner in British history to win national titles at U15, U17, U20 and senior level.
MR: It's massive. You have to trust your coach completely. I talk to Norman Poole twice a day. He's almost like my girlfriend (laughs). He calls me all the time to make sure I'm alright. If I go to the physio for a massage he'll check up on me afterwards. You have to be really close so they can spot the little things that make a difference at this level. If he sees that you're a little off colour in training he'll say 'drop out.' It's a massively important relationship.
RYG: What does your coach say to get the best out of you?
MR: He just tells me to believe in myself. He's a massive inspiration. He's coached so many athletes to world and Olympic finals. He just tells me that I'll get there if I put the effort in. He's on at me all the time. I needed someone like a school teacher to give me a kick up the backside (laughs).
RYG: How important is preparation if you want to be the best?
MR: I had good natural speed and I was good in a one off race but I struggled in rounds. I needed to get up in the morning, go for a morning run and build up the mileage. I've prepared well this year and I'm so much stronger. I can keep pushing further than I used to be able to because I've been training harder than I ever have before. That's because the Olympics are the big one.
RYG: What are your hopes for the future?
MR: I want to run in an Olympic final in Beijing and to progress into 2012. I want to win a gold medal there. I think I've got the ability. I'll be 26, bang in my peak, and I'd love to come away with a gold medal in 2012.
RYG: What advice would you give to young people looking to get involved in sport?
MR: First of all you've got to enjoy it. Try different things. If times are hard, don't give up on it. I tried the 800m and it just clicked. This is my event now. Four or five years ago I wouldn't have thought it. Keep believing and keep your interest.
I will be back tomorrow and I will do better.
Olympic silver medal long distance runner
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