Decathlon legend Daley Thompson: Unfortunately, politics and sports never meet for the benefit of sports

AZ Interview with Daley Thompson: The now 63-year-old Briton is one of the best and most successful decathlon players of all time. He won gold in the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984 and was also the world champion in 1983. As a member of the Laureus Academy, he has been supporting the Sports for Good Foundation for years.

AZ: Mr. Thompson, before your brilliant decade of career you played with Chelsea as a kid. Are you still in love?
Dai Thompson: Not so much from Chelsea, but for football in general, yes.

Your favorite club?
I used to be a fitness and conditioning coach at AFC Wimbledon when I was younger – and they don’t like it that much when I like other football clubs. So I stopped owning a favorite club.

Thompson: ‘Sometimes life gets in the way’

In what position did you play?
center of defence. And if I had one advantage in my football career, it was this: I was just too clumsy.

We don’t believe a word you say! But let’s talk about the present: it’s not just the Chelsea/Abramovic example that shows that politics is increasingly affecting the sport. How did you experience the Olympic Games in Beijing?
Unfortunately, politics and sports never combine in favor of sports. There have been, and still are, times when these areas get mixed up without you being able to do anything about it, especially as an athlete. All athletes want to compete, do what they love and work for it every day. it’s hard. But sometimes life gets in the way.

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Have you watched the Beijing Games?
A little. To be honest, I’m more of a summer Olympian. But in terms of performance, athletes never let you down no matter what happens in the rest of the world. They always do their best. They don’t care about other things – and neither do I. Or what do you think?

Well, when you hear the conditions in which the athletes in Beijing had to complete their competitions, when you know that they are practically forbidden to speak, it is sad, terrible and infuriating at the same time.
The IOC gives the organizing country a lot of power. You don’t want the host to feel embarrassed. But in the end, it has to be about the athletes: they are, after all, the champions of the Olympic Games. But as much as we love sports, sometimes we need to put it aside and focus on more important things.

In 1986 she refused to be the flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. why?
I’m not that kind. I don’t like things like that, I don’t like being on top. In addition, such an event lasts two or three hours, and as a flag bearer you should be there two or three hours earlier. Stand for half a day wasting time? It’s really not good for your performance.

First, but utterly exhausted, Willie Holdorf sways across the finish line.

Willie Holdorf at the 1964 Olympics: The Troubled King of Tokyo



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According to the International Olympic Committee, Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials should not be allowed to participate in competitions.

The IOC wants to exclude athletes from Russia and Belarus



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After taking your second Olympic gold medal in 1984, you launched the video game “Daley Thompson Decathlon”, one of the best-selling games in Great Britain. How did this happen?
At that time, there were almost no games, mine was one of the first. When this was suggested to me, I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, it was so new. The funny thing is, to this day, not a day goes by that I don’t ask about this game. Some told me they destroyed the console or even their wares. It’s crazy that people are still talking about it today!

“I’m more of a guy who goes out and does something”

Why didn’t the FA take you as a coach?
I’m not such a chatter. I think in organizations like this a huge amount of time is wasted talking about what you intend to do. I’m the type to go out and do something.

In your career you had strong opponents from Germany. Are you still in contact with Guido Kretschmar and Jürgen Hengsen?
Only for Jurgen. We write and talk on the phone two or three times a year and hopefully if this pandemic ends soon, we might be able to see each other again in the summer. After all, we share a lot of history.

What do you think of Niklas Kohl, the 2019 German decathlon world champion?
He can and will probably be the best Decathlon player in the world for years to come. He seems to be in a really good mood, if his team can keep his focus, he can get really good.

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“I’d rather be a good father than a bad coach”

You have five children – are there athletes among them?
They are not that bad. One of my sons is among the top five decathlon players in England, and another plays rugby for Scotland’s under-20 team.

Did you train the tenth son?
No, I’d rather be a good father than a bad coach.

What is your sport today?
My sport is primarily watching my kids play sports.

Does that mean you can’t do 10.26 more than 100 meters anymore?
I promise, there’s not even a chance of 26.10 seconds!

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