Here are some quick interviews with Carolina Kluft, gold medalist, Heptathlon, Liu Xiang of China, world record holder, 110m hurdles, Craig Mottram, bronze medalist, Helsinki, 5000 meters and Kara Goucher, bronze medalist, 10,000 meters, Osaka. I hope that you enjoy them. Special thanks to Todd Klein of Reebok and Dean Stoyer of Nike for their assistance in setting up the interviews. It is great to see the various sponsors supporting interviews and access to their athletes. This was something first championed by Keith Peters, former communications head of Nike at the Goteborg World Champs in 1995. We are happy to see Dean Stoyer and his companies support as well as Todd Klein's support of these important media events.
Carolina Kluft, Sweden, three time Heptathlon gold medalist, world champs, 2004 Olympic gold medalist, European record holder, heptathlon, 7032
Carolina Kluft is the queen of the heptathlon. Her ability, her strength, her competitiveness are unmatched in her event. At the Reebok press conference on
Monday, Kluft showed her class.
When asked about the event, Kluft replied," It was a tough competition. The conditions were hot, but it was the same for all of the girls. I had a personal best in the hurdles and that started off the competition well.
When asked about whether she and Kelly Sotherton spoke before the 800 meters, Kluft said, " We spoke, as Kelly wanted a fast 800 meters and so did I. I like Kelly, she is the toughest girl I know."
About her upcoming competitions: " I want to run in the finals, but do not know if I have enought points. I will be doing the long jump, high jump and triple jump in the Finnish Swedish dual meet next month. Our coach asked me to do the three events and I want our Swedish girls to win this one!"
Kluft is a supreme athlete, whose life is based in realism. When asked about her invincibleness, she laughed, then replied seriously, " No one is invincible, I give the girls each time I compete a chance to beat me. No one, No one is invincible. "
When asked about the world record, Kluft was to the point, " JJK was a better athlete than me. I do not worry about the world record. I am not that good of an athlete. It was so hard to get this European record."
Liu Xiang, China, world record holder, 110 m high hurdles
Liu was the first of the Nike athletes that I interviewd, also in a group setting. I got in the following questions:
How did it feel when you broke the World Junior record held by the great Renaldo Nehemiah?
Liu Xiang: " I was honored to break his record. I did it in Lausanne, when I ran 13.13, the same city I broke the world record."
Nehemiah said you are so good because you manage your speed between the hurdles better than other hurdlers, what do you think?
Liu Xiang" I do not know why I am good. I do not think of that. I just hurdle."
Liu Xiang spoke of his training, and relying on his coaches and agent to figure out the competitions for him. He does not worry much, and realizes that there are many things he can not control. He is at the top of his game.
Craig Mottram, Australia, 5,000 meter bronze medalist, World Champs, Helsinki,
Interviewed August 29, 2007 at Nike Press Centre
LE: You have raced over the mile, the two mile, the 3k, the 5k and the 10k this season was this to prepare for the Worlds?
CM: smiling, I have raced over various distances to prepare for this race. The distances give me chances to race in various situations, with different types of conditions and against different tactics, which prepares me for the World Champs.
LE: How has your training been?
CM: My training has gone well. We had six weeks at home, then last six days in Chiba, I am feeling pretty good.
LE: Obviously you are prepared for a long drive or a short kick, is that why you raced Glasgow?
CM: Yes, in Glasgow, I went through 800 in 2:04 and had to do the rest myself ( edit note-Craig ran a 3:56 mile in Glasgow, after promising a sub four mile there!).
Mottram seems to have grown up alot since Helsinki. His training is going well. His racing has been superb this summer as he has concentrated on competition, not chasing records. I am picking him to take gold with Kipchoge silver and Bekele the bronze.
Kara Goucher, USA, bronze medalist, 10,000 meters, Osaka, Japan
Tell us about your race?
KG: It was hot, but I had no idea on the pace. With four laps to go, I knew that it was Pavey, Smith and me running for the bronze. I was getting very tired and started thinking about how fourth was pretty good. But I knew in my heart that I had the chance to get a medal and if I did not try, I would regret it. So I started to move and did not know if Pavey would challenge me. I know most people wanted me to wait, but I could not. I went hard, and Pavey did not challenge, so I kept running and that was it!"
How do you feel now about your bronze?
KG: " On the way to the track, my coach, Alberto Salazar told me that I could medal. I knew I had done all of the preparations I needed, so I was confident. I just wanted to stay with them and see how I could do."
How will you react in the future?
KG" In the future, I will not be just looking for a medal. I know now I can do more."
How fast can you run right now?
KG" I am in shape to run 30:40."
Kara Goucher of the U.S. showed the presense of mind in her race of a much more veteran racer. Staying out of trouble, she moved up with Kim Smith and Jo Pavey to striking distance for the bronze and did not panic. Running a superb last lap, Goucher gave a herculean effort and was rewarded with the bronze medal at 10,000 meters, the first ever medal by an American in a world champs at that distance, man or women.