I hope you all had an enjoyable break over Christmas and New Year and very best of luck in 2013!
I haven’t written a blog in a few months so this is a bit of a summary of 2012 – what a year it was! It’s undoubtedly been the most rewarding and enjoyable year of my sporting career thus far.
Back in 2002 I remember sitting down with my coach with a list of career goals and an accurate timeline to match. Each season for the next ten years showed target times and selection to the international stage along the way. I was behind on this schedule from 2002 until 2010.
Like any person, athlete or not, I can vividly recount some experiences along the way that I knew were important, character building chapters.
One of the biggest challenges of my career was the move to Paris after falling a mile short of Olympic qualification in 2008. The move was a gamble, the last throw of the dice. I was 19 going on 20, not fast enough to qualify for Lottery funding, with one international cap, contemplating early retirement and in desperate need of a sizeable personal best.
Due to the fact my parents were my main financial sponsors and on a budget, I moved into an attic room in the city which wasn’t much wider than my wingspan. It was very basic. The small shower cubicle doubled up as a wardrobe, there was one hob to cook on, a communal toilet and no elevator – 123 stairs to the top. I had no TV and was without a washing machine, having to carry a suitcase full of washing every fortnight to the local launderette and wait four hours with a book of Sudoku until it finished – I couldn’t bear to climb the stairs on a Sunday, my day off!
I immersed myself in a new culture and attempted to learn a new language. Surprisingly, the Glaswegian accent was very helpful, rolling R’s and pronouncing accents wasn’t much of a problem however it became a very lonely place at times and maintaining motivation was difficult. I knew this was a key season in my career.
In the end the move proved to be the right decision, I made some huge improvements and although my parents were close to financial meltdown, I was back on track!
I’ve had some incredible opportunities and experiences since the Games which I’m hugely thankful for - meeting Pele, a true sporting legend and a half time parade at Celtic Park being the highlights.
These events have only increased my hunger and motivation for the coming seasons. My journey to this stage has been a long one but it has more than paid off in the experiences I’ve had. The Olympic Games and an Olympic medal have changed my life but it has not changed my personality. I finished second, which was a great result but we have now started a new four year cycle with World Championships, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the horizon. It’s taken ten years to reach the standard I want to be at and I want to stay there for as long as possible, enjoying the journey along the way! :)
Thanks Michael - it's always great to hear from you! You always provide such a great insight into life as a top sportsman. I wonder how many of us would be prepared to go another country and live in less than ideal circumstances in the pursuit of a dream. It helps having parents like Jackie and Michael too.
Like the rest of 'Team Jamieson', we're all looking forward to seeing how you get on in 2013 and cheering you on along the way!