Katerina Johnson-Thompson makes it two NRs in seven days! by Larry Eder

Katerina Johnson-Thompson, SOPOT 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

Katerina Johnson-Thompson is part of the present and future promise of British Athletics. Jessica Ennis-Hill, the 2012 Olympic champion, is back in training, after the birth of her first child. Morgan Lake, the World Junior phenom, is also doing quite well in 2015, as she did in 2014.

Over dinner the other night, I asked a keen observer of British Athletics why she believed that Britain was producing so many superb multi event women and yet, without Dean Macy, no promising male multi-eventers? She commented that the best male athletes in England, Wales and Scotland go to football or rubgy, whereas for women, athletics is where the most talented are going. 
Whatever the answer, Katerina Johnson-Thompson is someone who needs to be viewed as a medal contender in any competition she enters. Her multi event discipline has showcased her talents, but 2015 is showing us, I believe, the tip of the iceberg. 

On February 13, 2015, at the UK Trials, Katerina Johnson-Thompson broke the British indoor record for the high jump, with her 1.97m clearance after a battle with Morgan Lake, who cleared 1.94m. As the British media noted so well, this was a the first time that two British women had cleared such heights in the same competition. 

Now, move to Saturday, February 21. In the Barclaycard NIA Stadium in Birmingham, England, near the end of the Sainsbury's Indoor GP, Katerina Thompson-Johnson, competed in the long jump. In her third jump, after a 6.67 meter opener, and a foul, Katerina stormed down the runway and leaped 6.93 meters, a new personal best by a centimeter (her outdoor best is 6.92m), and a new British record! KJT's jump took over the lead. The 6.93m jump reminded world leader, Christabel Nettey of Canada, (who had cleared 6.99m in Stockholm on Thursday), that one is only as good as their last run, jump or throw. 

To British Athletics' Gareth Burrell, Katerina noted; " I am delighted to get the British record in the long jump, after doing it in the high jump last week too, things are going really well at the moment and it gives me confidence going ahead." 

Having observed Ms. Thompson-Johnson over a few years, one is taken by her sense of competitive energy and her presence during competition. She is a talented young athlete who is just convincing herself, the hardest game, of her god-given talent and how much that talent responds to focused training. This is a stage many athletes go through before achieving greatness. KJT is on such a path. One hopes that the British fans and media give her the time to develop. 

A different type of athlete than Jessica Ennis-Hill, KJT should not be compared to Ms. Ennis-Hill yet. Too early. Jessica is an Olympic champion, who took such criticism on her javelin throwing for years. Watching that brouhaha reminded me of the German philospher Nietzche, who noted something like "what does not kill you makes you stronger." Ennis-Hill should have received a medal for dealing with the javelin diatribes alone. 

The next stop on the multi-event journey for Katerina Thompson-Johnson is Prague, and the European Indoor Champs. Katerina added in her comments to British Athletics: " I think I am used to different evetns being a heptathlete. It is good to do all the different events before I actually do a heptathlon--so, it has worked out well. I am going to get back into hard training now, so in three weeks, I should be ready (for Prague)."

For Katerina Johnson-Thompson, the key is good health, good training and some good luck. While many coaches will tell you that fine training and the like keeps the luck as a smaller part of the game, which is true, there are such things as good days and bad days in our short, human lives. The same goes in sport. 

I expect Katerina Thompson-Johnson to be in the fight not only for the medals, but a good shot at the top two medals. 

RunBlogRun will see Ms. Thompson-Johnson there, March 6-8, as the best of Europe battle for indoor supremacy. 

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