Daley Thompson is the greatest all-round athlete that this country has ever produced and was twice an Olympic champion.
I caught up with him to talk about his new project with Daz, his career and the London Games.
- You are involved in the new Daz advert and Dazathon with Shaun Williamson so can you tell me a little bit about them?
Shaun and I had a wonderful couple of days making these ads. Basically it is about me being a diving coach and needing somebody on my team because someone has dropped out or is injured and I have to go back to the white retired dove to see if he will come and help the team out.
It’s about me doing that and trying to get him into shape because he is working in a café and is not in the shape that he was.
- You have been training Shaun for the Dazathon challenge so how have you been finding that?
Shaun is a really good laugh and while we were practising for some of things I was giving him a few pointers on how not to throw like a girl and how to run like a man.
- The Olympic Games are now just a handful of weeks away so how excited are you at the prospect of a home Games? And what kind of show do you think that London is going to be put on?
The British are the best in the world and putting on those great big pageantry type shows and the Olympic Games is the biggest show on earth.
So I think that we are going to put on a fantastic Games and the athletes are going to justify the fact that we have spent whole load of money over the last few years and win more medals that we have ever won. And the sun is going to shine.
- You were an ambassador for the Games during the bid stage where you focused on the befits that the Olympics would bring so what was it like playing a role in bringing the Games to the UK?
It was a lot of fun as I did a fair bit of travelling with Seb Coe and it was nice to spend some time with a mate.
And we are all hoping that the Games brings with it not just seventeen or eighteen days of fun, festival and sport but it also brings some real benefits in terms of getting kids out there playing sports and living healthier lifestyles.
- You are widely recognised as the greatest all-round athlete that this country has ever produced so how would you sum up your career when you look back on it now?
Unbelievable, unbelievable that a young guy from Ladbroke Grove can do so well.
- You were twice an Olympic champion, in 1980 & 1984, so what is your greatest memory of the two Games?
It was just the complete contrast of the two as one was held behind the Iron Curtain and Moscow was a really dark and dingy place where people didn’t smile and wore drab clothes.
In complete contrast to that when we went to LA in 1984 it is the centre of the entertainment world and the sun was shining and people were smiling and it is a great place. So yeah the contrast was definitely my greatest memory.
- All eyes will be on the British team as the Games creep closer with the likes of Mo Farah and Jess Ennis being the major focus, so how did you deal with the pressure and expectation ahead of a major tournament?
From my own point of view you just go away and prepare; you get yourself into a training camp and you don’t answer the phone. You just do whatever needs to be done in those last few weeks.
- In the last couple of week we have seen the trials for the athletics squad so what do you think about the potential of the team for the summer?
I think that they are obviously the best prepared team that we have ever had and I hopefully they will come back with eight or ten medals and hopefully one or two gold’s. I think that they will do us proud.
- We have had a few baron year in terms of success in the Decathlon so why do you think that youngster don’t take up this event?
I think it is too hard. You have to spend too long training for it and kids want to be successful much sooner.
If you were just a discus thrower it would still take you three or four years, even if you are immensely talented, to become any good but if you are doing the decathlon it can take five, six or seven years to get really good.
So there’s no shortcuts and kids these days don’t seem to want to spend the time serving, for want of a better word, an apprenticeship.
- How exciting do you think the decathlon is going to be in London this summer? And who are you tipping for medals?
I am thinking that it is going to be so exciting. I think that the Americans have got a good chance with Trey Hardy but I think that the winner is going to be Ashton Eaton.
- The Olympics are going to be a major inspiration for kids up and down the country so for any of them who want to take up athletics what advice would you give?
Well it’s not just athletics but all of the sports just get down to your local club and I am sure that they will be most welcoming. And whatever sport you take up just make sure that you have some fun.
- How do you get into Decathlon in the first place?
It was somebody else’s idea; my coach Bob just came and asked it I would do it for the club and it just went from there.
- Finally what’s coming up for you?
Well like I mentioned at the moment I am working on the new Daz Cleaner Close campaign and then it is all about the Olympics.
I am working with Australian Television, Channel 9 throughout the Olympics and I also hope to take my kids along to the games.
See Daley host the ‘Dazathlon’ at facebook.com/dazsoapclub and find his missing trophies to be in with a chance of winning a cash prize.
Helen Earnshaw - FemaleFirst