Yohan Blake: What I've Learned

There's only one man on earth who can run faster than Yohan Blake - his best friend. Here the 23-year-old talks about competing with Bolt, the injury that's preventing him from defending his World Championship title this year and what life as a professional athlete has taught him so far.

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My life can’t be like a normal person’s life. Even if you miss just two days of training, your body suffers and you create a mountain for yourself to climb.


If I wasn’t an athlete I’d be a cricketer.  I’d be playing either for England or the West Indies. Once I quit track and field, I’m going to give it a go.


I try not to live my life with regrets. I wouldn’t tell my younger self a thing - well, except maybe ‘don’t get injured’. That would be useful. When I learned I wasn’t going to be able to go back to World Championship to defend my title this year, I was furious. But you have to see it as an opportunity to come back stronger.

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My biggest hero is Michael Jackson. He wanted to change the world, and he did. That’s what I really admire. I want to do the same thing.

I’ve known Usain Bolt from when I was in high school. He came to me one day and said: ‘look, son, you don’t need to be running so much. You’re just a kid.’ I didn’t listen to him.


Friendship can transcend rivalry. Usain and I train a lot together and we have fun, there is a lot of chemistry between us. People think he’s cocky, but he’s not. He’s a good guy. He’s a kid, just like me.

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On the track, it’s business. I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me. But after the line, whoever has won, we are still friends.


At 2012, we made the whole stadium come alive. Jamaica, in the 4x100m relay. The first time any team has ever done it in under 37 seconds. We ran faster than human beings ever could before.


Hearing the crowd roar causes the adrenaline that makes you run faster. It’s what keeps you moving. They also help in a practical way. When they shout louder that means someone is coming up behind you. It means you don’t have to look.


I am lucky - my work is relaxing. But off the track, I play cricket with friends or read books. I like horror stories. Otherwise I am out talking to kids, trying to motivate them to be a better person.


The one thing I wish I could do in life but I can’t? Trust me, I can’t tell you what that is. Maybe after the interview.


I will get faster. I became the youngest world champion ever when I was just twenty. 26-27 – they’re your peak years. Just imagine what time I will be running then.


The RM59-01 Yohan Blake tourbillon watch is available now at Richard Mille in Harrods, London, £438,000, richardmille.com.

 

 


MORE WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
Sebastian Coe
Jack Nicholson
Samuel L Jackson

 

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