GB athletes too soft - Thompson

Double Olympic champion Daley Thompson accused Britain’s athletes of “having it too easy” as he revealed he is to take up a role with UK Athletics.

“You have to be prepared to walk over broken glass to succeed,” Thompson, who will help Britain’s under-23s in a part-time capacity, told BBC Sport.

"I trained three times on Christmas Day every year for 15 years.

“Our athletes get it way too easy, but it is something (UK Athletics chief) Dave Collins is trying to put right.”

Thompson, who won gold at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, added: "There’s a saying I like - ‘your altitude is dictated by your attitude’.

“Our athletes don’t have that kind of attitude. It’s a cultural problem and it’s not only us who suffer from it, but all western countries.”

Thompson will take up his new role on 1 July, but said the exact “parameters” of the role had not yet been finalised

It’s the first time someone like me has been part of UK Athletics

Daley Thompson

The 47-year-old has never previously been involved with UK Athletics, but Collins has been talking to “several high-profile former athletes”, including Thompson, about future roles with the organisation.

“You’ll have to ask the powers that be why I haven’t been asked to come on board before,” Thompson said.

"It’s taken a long time for me to get involved and it’s the first time someone like me has been part of UK Athletics.

“I’ve never worried about it though, because I’ve had lots of other things to do.”

Thompson said he would have a lot to offer in his new role.

“I know about the commitment and professionalism it takes to be a champion,” he said.

"I coached the decathlon champion at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (Erki Nool) and worked with three or four of the best coaches in the world for 15 years while I was competing.

Thompson was speaking at a workshop for the Sainsbury’s Future Champions Scheme in Sheffield.

Outstanding school athletes selected by the English Schools Athletics Association were able to gain advice from Thompson as well as dieticians, lifestyle managers and psychologists.

“I’m trying to help them understand what it takes to be a British sportsman,” said Thompson, whose 1984 world record stood for eight years.

Sports like athletics are mentally and physically hard and don’t always appeal to the kids

Daley Thompson

"Sports like athletics are mentally and physically hard and don’t always appeal to the kids.

"It takes a lot of pain to succeed in athletics, whereas kids can go on their playstations and win straight away nowadays.

"It all goes down to a love of it. If you love something, you’re prepared to do what it takes to succeed.

"Our job is to get the kids involved in athletics and loving the sport.

"Let’s be honest, not all of them will have what it takes to be champions - that requires a lot of natural talent as well as hard work.

“But what we want to do is get people involved in the sport and enjoying it, and that way we’ll uncover a few champions as well.”

I’m not sure if they are “too soft” but based on what I have seen the UKs top sprinters don’t know how to warm up for training, which to me means lack of professionalism.

Re lack of professionalism is that the athletes or coaches or both?

In this case it was the athletes. While its only an oppinion, i believe professionals take time to do things right which includes warming up so they can perform, rather than talking about which car they are going to buy next! :smiley: