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Katarina Johnson-Thompson is going to Rio 2016 with just one thing on her mind: heptathlon gold. And Snapchat. And Trebor Softmints. And playing knock and run... πŸ˜‚

FS: You keep a competition journal full of innermost thoughts, is that right?

KJT: It started in 2010 after I had knee problems and it really kicked off in 2012 when I was trying to qualify for the Olympics. It’s interesting to sit down, when I’m in my own little world before I compete, and read what I was like when I was 19, preparing for the Olympics and big events. I just write down my feelings and then go back to it whenever I want.

How many notebooks have you gone through?

It’s the same book. I thought after last year I’d throw it away and start fresh. But it’s useful to see. Nobody writes anymore. I hope nobody actually reads mine though!

You can read my diary. I’ve just written the story of my mate at Euro 2016. He got lost from the group in Lyon and ended up finding our car in an underground car park to sleep underneath. He wanted warmth and darkness.

That’s insane.

Imagine being that desperate?

I’d have smashed the window or something and crawled in. At least you could sleep in the car.

Probably a better idea. What are you doing to prepare specifically for the conditions in Rio?

Nothing really. Beijing [last year’s world champs] was pretty intense for the heat. But I believe in Rio it will be in their winter. We always have a holding camp: just 10 days of acclimatising. So that’s the prep we’ll have. It’s the Olympics, and Team GB and the BOA (British Olympic Association) will look after everything. The athletes just have to follow instructions.

KJT ()


And what about fuelling yourself through two days of a heptathlon?

You feel completely empty. It’s not just the events, it’s the waiting in between. When you wake up on that second day, honestly, you don’t even think you can move, let alone perform.

You have to stay hydrated throughout, so I use SiS hydro tablets. They stop you getting water belly, and I also I use SiS WHEY20 straight after training and competition. I’m lucky to have people like Sport In Science to help out. 

If you could sum up your 2015 season up in a sentence or a chain of emojis, what would that be?

Want me to do it [points at her phone]?


Well it starts off… I was a bit sick πŸ˜₯. Got the British HJ indoor record, which is that one 😝 and the long jump, which is that one 😏. And then I went to Prague [KJT won gold but narrowly missed a WR] and when I crossed the line, was 😭. And then I thought about it and I was happy 😝. And then after that I was in the wars 😷. 

You’re so fluent

Then what happened? Yeah, it was a battle to get back to full fitness. They don’t have a fingers crossed one do they? Pray. The pray one. Beijing was like πŸ™πŸ½ – I haven’t had any competition practice but I’m in alright shape. Then Bejing actually happened…

The first set of events went pretty well

Yeah, okay…

Strong man!

Yeah, okay πŸ’ͺ🏾. Oh and that one πŸ˜…. I think that’s… That’s not sweat, is it? That’s like ‘phew!’. And then the long jump was that one maybe πŸ˜”. And then that one with just no face for the 800m 😢. And then Talence was just… I’m over it 😴. It’s done. And then I had my knee surgery and everything will hopefully be πŸ“ˆ. That’s a good one to end it on isn’t it?

I saw you compete in Talence last year...

Oh did yer… [laughs]

Probably wasn’t as fun for you [KJT broke down and needed to be mended by surgeons]. But at least you were a track and field pioneer of Snapchat. I think you were the first to heptathlete to do it…

Oh really? Yeah, I did enjoy doing that. I had to get my mum to do the hurdles and stuff. I had to show her how to do it ‘keep your thumb on the button’. She did the first few and then it came to an abrupt end [laughs]. I enjoyed doing the Snapchat and I think I’ll try and… it’s hard to get the balance. The thing is, it’s not a distraction anymore to be on your phone. It’s just normal behaviour. So I think I’ll try and do a bit more Snapchat in Rio.

Will you play knock and run in the athlete’s village?

Did you read my tweet yesterday?

Yeah. Research though not stalking.

It’s just a weird concept for me now, like. I was thinking after I tweeted it: do I sound old? ‘Cause kids probably don’t play that these days. It’s all on the phones.

I was just thinking last night. It’s a weird concept, we used to knock on the door and get a huge adrenaline rush. If someone did that to me now, I wouldn’t give chase to kids who played knock and run, I’d just find it funny.

Maybe homeowners used to be angrier back then. Or maybe there has been a general demise of knock and run…

Yeah, maybe you could do some research. See how many people out of 100 would actually give chase.

Well, how about in the Olympic village? Who out of Team GB would give you a leg?

Maybe one of the team physios. They’re pretty stern. They’d give chase.

If your Mum met you before you got a train, what would she get out of her handbag to give to you?

Banana. Kitchen roll. She always buys me kitchen roll. And them mints, the chewy ones.

Trebor soft mints? 

Yeah them.

To read the full feature, buy the August issue of Forever Sports. Out now in all good newsagents and at Sports Direct stores. 

What's in the mag August ()


Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a brand ambassador for sports nutrition pioneer, Science in Sport

* three emojis had to be omitted because web browsers are not as advanced as KJT's iPhone 6.


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