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When Girl on the River Met New 400m World Champion Chrissy Ohuruogu

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver
When Girl on the River met new 400m World Champion Chrissy Ohuruogu

Starstruck!

One of the highlights of the 2013 World Championships was the thrilling win in a photo finish by Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m. To celebrate Chrissy’s win, I thought it was high time I published my interview last year (at Leisure Industry Week) with the gorgeous Chrissy O, when she told me about coming second at the Olympics, her love of netball, how hard rowing is (oh yes!) and her hopes for the World Championships. Chrissy is a thoroughly lovely person – really warm and down to earth, with an infectious laugh and an unstarry personality. Here’s what she had to say.

Girl on the River: You said after winning silver at London that you were heartbroken – how are you feeling now?

Chrissy O: I felt a bit guilty afterwards, actually. For me I train to win. I knew it was going to be a long shot  but at the same time I think coming second has taught me that sometimes it’s not always winning or nothing. I’ve got so much out of winning silver and for me sometimes a fight means more than winning in the end. It has definitely taught me a lot. I know it sounds a bit sentimental but it really is. This medal [the silver medal from London 2012] will probably mean a lot more to me than the one in Beijing. I had to fight tooth and nail for it. I still train to win – that’s never going to change. That’s just part of my genetics – we never train for second place, but I’m happy that I gave it everything I could have done and I nearly won!

When Girl on the River met new 400m World Champion Chrissy Ohuruogu

Chrissy’s silver medal from London 2012

Girl on the River: To be successful in sport you have to be good at coming back. What makes you strong?

Chrissy O: Definitely my faith. I just had it in me that I could do it and I just believed that I could.

Girl on the River: If you weren’t doing running, is there another sport that you would do?

Chrissy O: I used to play netball. I played for England U19 so I absolutely love netball. It devastated me to have to pick between the two because there’s no way I could have done both of them. A lot of girls I used to play with are now England first team players and I grew up with them. It’s great to see them doing really well.

Girl on the River: And what about rowing? Have you ever tried that?

Chrissy O: I actually do a lot of indoor rowing, once a week, as part of my cross training. It’s hard, though! Maybe I will try it one day, but it is hard!!

Girl on the River: And what’s next?

Chrissy O: There’s the World Championships next year. For us it’s a year on year thing. The Olympics are great, but so much can happen in four years so you just train every year and see what happens. I’ve definitely kept the door open for Rio and I hope I won’t change my mind, but I think I’d like to go on to Rio. There’s nothing in me that tells me now that I wouldn’t want to be there.

Girl on the River: They say 400m is one of the hardest distances as it’s sort of in between sprint and endurance. Have you ever been tempted to try a different distance?

Chrissy O: No! It’s hard and when you’re out there running you think, ‘Why do I do this to myself?’ And even with the training you think, ‘Why?’ But nothing beats coming home knowing you’ve had a hard day and you’ve looked fear in the face and you’ve survived because some of the stuff we have to do is horrendous, but it’s a daily challenge. You’re pushing yourself all the time and that does wonders for your self-confidence, knowing that. Even if you don’t have a good day you think, OK, I’m going to come again tomorrow and I’m going to knock it on the head. Knowing you’ve done that is really cool.

Congratulations, Chrissy!


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