• London Olympics 2012

Adlington critical of gold double in Beijing

ESPN staff
July 11, 2012
Rebecca Adlington is desperate for London 2012 to arrive © Getty Images

Rebecca Adlington has offered a fascinating insight into her demanding mindset heading into London 2012, revealing her overriding feeling when looking back at her Beijing achievements is "annoyance".

Adlington walked away from the 2008 Olympic Games with two gold medals, triumphing in the 400m and 800m disciplines. The Brit also broke a 19-year world record in that 800m final.

Now she aims to defend those titles in London, knowing the weight of expectation rests heavily on her performances. Some athletes enjoy such situations, but Adlington admits she hates not knowing what the outcome will be.

"I'm a bit obsessed, [even] when it comes to films," Adlington said. "I have to know the ending before I watch them so I look at it or find out the plot on Wikipedia.

"When I read a book I must read the back page before the rest of it. I'm weird like that. But of course I don't know what will happen in London."

Reflecting on her outstanding success in Beijing four years ago, Adlington admits she can barely watch herself, despite knowing she wins. Looking back on the 400m final, she becomes critical of what she did wrong, rather than revelling in what she got right.

"I haven't even seen my races from the Worlds last year, it's something I don't do," Adlington said. "My coach has a thing on his iPad where you can break races down but I don't watch the full race.

"I've watched the races from Beijing before but that was only because the whole family were there. I probably will when I retire but at the moment we're doing it and I want to achieve more so I don't want to be looking back.

"When I did watch the Beijing races I felt nervous. I can remember seeing the 400m final and my nana had watched it so many times she knew exactly how many steps I had taken to get out of the pool.

"But I was annoyed. I was like, 'What are you doing? Why are you so far behind?' I was angry and nervous although I knew the outcome. Regardless of what happens I just want to keep improving and get faster."

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