By Roger Vaughan
MELBOURNE, Nov 12 AAP - Just as enigmatic Australian sprinter Joshua Ross approached the microphone at a book launch in Melbourne this morning, a fire drill alarm went off.
The ear-shattering blast seemed somehow fitting for a speedster who has teased with some great performances over the last three years, but generally has struggled for consistent form.
Ross did not make the Beijing Olympics team as Athletics Australia controversially decided not to send any 100 or 200m sprinters.
He took three months off from running and seriously considered quitting the sport.
But the 27-year-old wants to prove he is the boss.
Ross is a two-time Stawell Gift winner and became the only Australian to win the event off scratch with his second triumph in 2005.
I was pretty close to that (retiring), I didn't even watch the nationals this year on TV, I could hardly watch the Olympics - I just had no motivation to watch it,'' he said. I think it was always deep inside me, I just needed that time away from the sport for a little while.
Right now I'm the most motivated, hungriest I've been in my whole career. I had a bit of a bad season last year, I want to make up for that.’’
Ross, a softly-spoken character, did not want to go into what had caused his problems, only saying there had been
personal things''. He moved from Sydney to Melbourne six weeks ago and is now training with sprint coach Paul Larcom. While Ross ran at the Athens Olympics and won the 100m national title from 2004-07, he is best-known for his `05 Stawell Gift triumph. He is on the cover of the famous race's official history, the Stawell Gift Almanac, which was launched today in the midst of the fire drill. Ross has not raced at Stawell since 2006, but insists he will be back there next Easter as he aims for the 2009 world titles. I haven’t given up, I’m a champion, I believe in myself and champions always come back,’’ he said.
I've definitely missed it (Stawell) the last couple of seasons, I feel it's kind-of my home, it's where I came into pro running. Every time I walk through the gates on the grass, it’s like home and I get tingles down my spine.
Definitely I will be there come April, it's been a long time coming and hopefully I can say the boss is back.'' Ross said he was amazing himself at times while training under Larcom. Some of the things I’m doing in training at the moment, I’m freaking myself out, as well as Adam,’’ he said.
I believe in my ability, I've got the right genetics and I've got the right attitude and dedication - there's no reason I can't be up with the best in the world.'' Ross also touched on Athletics Australia's contentious decision not to send a men's 100m relay team to Beijing. It was tough to watch, not being there - we were supposed to go in the relay, they pulled us out, but that’s another story,’’ he said.
Also today, Australia Post announced they would sponsor the Gift for another year, extending their association to 15 years.
By Roger Vaughan
Focused Joshua Ross back on trackArticle from: Font size: Decrease Increase Email article: Email Print article: Print Submit comment: Submit comment Ron Reed
November 13, 2008 12:00am
JOSHUA Ross, Australia’s best sprinter, is back on the blocks after losing the plot and almost being lost to athletics.
Ross, 27, has moved from Sydney to Melbourne to reignite a decorated career that imploded last summer when he pulled out of the Olympic trials, admitting he had lost all motivation and focus.
But yesterday he said he had never been hungrier to do well.
“The fire is burning. It’s a brand new start,” Ross said.
If that translates to the world-class performances of which he has already shown he is capable, it will be great news for the sport after Athletics Australia failed to name a male sprinter for the Beijing Games.
But it will be a matter of wait and see, with even new coach Adam Larkham declining yesterday to speculate on what to expect when the domestic season begins in January.
Ross has been in such a dark place that the journey back is not being taken for granted by those around him and other experienced observers.
But he could not have sounded any more upbeat when he appeared at the launch of the Stawell Gift Almanac, an excellent history of the iconic professional footrace he has won twice, in 2003 and 2005.
The second win was off scratch, making him only the second athlete - the first was Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa in 1975 - and the first Australian to achieve a feat once considered impossible.
Ross said he would attempt a third victory at Easter.
His credentials are impressive. He has also won the national 100m title four times and made the semi-finals of the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
He has a best time of 10.08sec and has long been regarded as a potential sub-10sec runner.
But a combination of injury and a relationship break-up plunged him into depression at last year’s world championships in Osaka and he returned home early.
Asked yesterday what had gone wrong, Ross said: “A number of things, personal things. I don’t really want to go into it. Being away from home too much, too many meets.”
He also said he might have over-trained. “I believe so, yes. You live and learn,” he said.
Ross took three months off to reassess his life and came “pretty close” to quitting athletics for good.
He could hardly bring himself to watch the Olympics on TV, but said he realised that the love of the sport “was always there deep inside me”.
“I just needed that time away to freshen up,” he said.
“I never gave up. I’m a champion and I believe champions always come back. You keep up the fight. So here I am, fit and well.”
Ross said he was performing so well in the gym that it “is freaking me and Adam out” and was showing up in his speed on the track.
But it’s not just the training that has him in such a positive frame of mind.
“I’m living with a friend of the coach, and for the first time in a long time I’ve got some stability in my life,” he said.
"I’m single, living it up and just really enjoying life - something I lost the spirit for for a little while. It’s most definitely back now.
“I believe in my ability, I’ve got the right genetics, the right attitude, the right motivation, so there’s no reason I can’t be up there with the best in the world.”
That’s just what the athletics community wants to hear. Hopefully it’s also what it will get to see soon.
November 13, 2008
HE SHOULD be the fastest man in Australia — and he still believes he is. But Joshua Ross has a habit of running into trouble.
He also has a habit of getting a little bit lost. Yesterday at the launch of a book celebrating the history of the Stawell Gift, Ross — who graces the cover — was a tardy guest of honour. The 27-year-old held up proceedings as he arrived 10 minutes late, lost in traffic in the heart of his new home town — Melbourne.
It has been a nightmare year in which the man many judge as Australia’s most talented sprinter has spent much of his time lost and wandering. After heading to Europe for a long campaign, Ross struggled with depression and homesickness, changing coach three times and missing selection for the Beijing Olympics. Now, he says, he is back and flying and owes it all to a move to Victoria.
“I’m loving it here, I’ve been in Melbourne for six weeks, training with Adam Larcom and everything is going well,” he said. "There’s a lot of new things I’m doing in the gym and on the track and I feel very fresh.
“The things I am doing in training, I am freaking myself out, as well as Adam. I have got the right genetics, the right attitude and the right dedication. There’s no reason I can’t be up with the best in the world.”
After struggling for motivation during 2008, Ross considered walking away from the sport and spent three months away from the training track, partying and relaxing with friends in Sydney. He did not even watch this year’s national championships where the 100-metres title he had won four consecutive times was inherited by Otis Gowa. He could barely tune in again during the Beijing Olympics, as Usain Bolt stunned the world — shattered after failing to qualify for an individual spot and left out of the team when Athletics Australia decided not to field a relay quartet.
“It was tough to watch, not being there, I just didn’t have the motivation to watch it,” he said yesterday.
It has been some fall for the man long held up as Australia’s great sprint hope. Ross had won two Stawell Gifts — in the second catching the field from scratch. He made a quarter-final at the Athens Olympics and the semi a year later at the world championships, his times steadily improving as expectations rose accordingly. [b]Last March, he ran 10.08 — the fastest 100-metres time ever by an Australian in Australia.
And then came the disastrous move to dump long-term coach Tony Fairweather for Emil Rizk [/b]and embark on a European campaign that destroyed his motivation and damaged his love for the sport.
[I THOUGHT ROSS WAS ALREADY WITH RIZK WHEN HE RAN THAT 10.08?! THE CHANGE TO RIZK MAY HAVE BEEN “DISASTROUS” BUT ROSS DID RUN FASTER THAN HE HAD EVER RUN BEFORE OR SINCE OVER 100M & 200M. CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE PLEASE. kk]
“I needed to re-evaluate where I was going, not only with athletics but with my life,” he said yesterday. “They were personal things, being away from home for too long, too many meets … but you live and you learn and I am much stronger for it.”
Ross says he is as hungry as he has ever been and is desperate to take back his title as the nation’s fastest man, make the world championship team for Berlin next year and make a mark on the athletics world when he gets there.
He is setting weekly personal bests in the gym and on the track. “It’s just sickening,” he said. “I shouldn’t be doing that at 27 … The fire is burning and this is the most dedicated I have been.” The move to Melbourne happened by accident when he ran into Larcom and the Victorian — who has coached Kyle Vander-Kuyp and Adam Basil and also worked with several AFL clubs — suggested a change of scenery might help. He came down for a week and is still here. Known for his attachment to the nightclub scene in Sydney, Ross is now living at a more subdued pace in suburban Tullamarine.
“For the first time in a long time I have got stability in my life. I am just living and breathing and eating athletics and I’m loving it,” he said.
World championships are the goal but in the meantime a return to Stawell — where he has not raced for two years — is on the cards. With a diamond earring glistening, a swagger in his step and a lot of ground to make up, Ross is talking confidently. But making up ground has not been a problem for a man accustomed to winning from scratch.
Right now I’m the most motivated, hungriest I’ve been in my whole career.
We will find out soon whether this is true, or perhaps not. :rolleyes:
Being “hungriest” in my view means - focused to a single detail. Being a scatter-brain,…not sure if he is serious or temporarily optimistic
The time will tell, I guess.
Josh Ross and his new stablemate - Aaron Rouger-Serrett are entered for the Mt Gambier Gift, next Saturday 29th November. I guess we will get an idea where he is at next Saturday.
Ross last ran at Mt Gambier in 2006 when 2nd (off scratch) in the 120m Gift final behind Keith Sheehy (3.50m), running 12.16s.
Today - Saturday 29th Nov
MT GAMBIER GIFT HEAT RESULTS
S - South Australian
V - Victorian
- Josh Tiu V (8.25)
- Brad Letton S (9.25)
- Nathan Dixon V (8.75)
- Craig Brown V (5.50)
- Russell Scott S (8.50)
- Michael Nitschke S (9.50)
- Matt Hargreaves V (7.25)
- Clay Watkins S (4.50)
- Ryan Hancock S (10.50)
- Peter Dudkiewicz V (9.50)
- Andrew Steeele S (7.25)
- Carl Morehouse (4.50)
1. Aaron Rouge-Serrett V (2.50)
2. Damian Tohl S (8.00)
3. Paul Tancredi V (8.75)
- Leon Burckhardt S (11.50)
2. Joshua Ross V (0.00)
- David Gross S (10.00)
Aaron Rouge Serrett just smashed open the Mt Gambier Gift with a very impressive 2nd semi final win in the day’s fastest time of 12.13.
In the first semi, Ryan Hancock held on to narrowly beat Peter Dudkiewicz with Russell Scott 3rd in 12.21s.
In the toughest of the 3, Rouge-Serrett won the 2nd semi from Matt Hargreaves with Clay Watkins just missing out.
The third semi was won Andrew Steele in the slowest of the three semis - 12.27 with Craig Brown 2nd and Michael Nitschke just missing in 3rd spot. Josh Ross was apparently just behind the placegetters.
Mt Gambier Gift Final to be run at 6.30pm SA time
Aaron Rouge-Serrett (2.50)
Craig Brown (5.50)
Matthew Hargreaves (7.25)
Andrew Steele (7.25)
Peter Dudkiewicz (9.50)
Ryan Hancock (10.50)
The tip is Rouge-Serrett looks the one to beat with possibly Hargreaves 2nd and anyone’s guess for the minors.
Had to go out before the final was run. Only just arrived back.
Apparently the Mt Gambier Gift final was a cracker with 6/1000 between 1st and 2nd.
1st. Aaron Rouge-Serrett V (2.50)
2nd. Matthew Hargreaves V (7.25)
3rd. Peter Dudkiewicz V (9.50)
4th. Ryan Hancock S (10.50)
5th. Andrew Steele S (7.25)
6th. Craig Brown V (5.50)
Top class effort from ARS to just grab Matt Hargreaves who for the second week in a row has finished in the top 3 of a major Gift after his 3rd at Queanbeyan.
Is that Andrew Steele the GB 400m runner?
What can we conclude from the gift? It is hard to make real comparisons running grass to mondo etc but,
A) ARS has improved this season…or has remained constant (time adj 10.55)?
B) JR is slowly coming back to form but ARS is still in front (time adj 10.57)?
What is the Mt G track like? The conditions?
When will these guys have a hit out on the track? So we can compare times realistically!
Josh Ross was apparently just behind the placegetters.
Weren’t they all?
ARS not in any sprint program or any AA development squads.
Mt Gambier is one of the fastest grass tracks on the national pro-running circuit. Several weeks go into its preparation to ensure its in superb condition. And there’s normally a prevailing tail wind each year which was pretty strong on Saturday.
Rouge-Serrett apparently looked terrific and since he gave a 10.74 100m runnner, 2m start and beat him by 1m - it suggests he’s probably around mid 10.4’s shape.
Did Josh Ross use to follow a long to short program with Emil R then go to short to long with his new coach (and no offence meant at all) and it didn’t work for him?? I am sure there was more to it than this but does this show that short to long is not always best??
there was a LOT of discussion about this at the time and from what I understand your first comment I am sure there was more to it than this is more relevant to this situation than the second does this show that short to long is not always best?? That said L-S does suit some better.