Pole vault star Björn Otto can fly… literally

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Last year, no-one with a pole soared higher than Olympic silver medallist Björn Otto, who tied for seventh on the all-time list with a clearance of 6.01m in Aachen. Here, Otto tells SPIKES how he hopes to go even higher when he hangs up his poles, as a commercial airline pilot.

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Shutter speed: rising sprint star has an eye for photography

When Jodie Williams isn’t hunting a PB, the record-breaking teenage sprinter is searching for the perfect photograph. Here, she talks to SPIKES about her creative side…

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Jodie Williams: “I think a lot of sports people have that creative side, away from sport.”

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"I knew I was fast as a kid but in those days it was all about football"

Olympic 4x100m silver medallist and 100m fifth place finisher Ryan Bailey is a genuine (American) football fanatic who would love to still be playing the game.

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"I knew I was fast as a kid but back in those days it was all about football. I liked to hit and I liked to tackle and that’s why I liked the sport so much. It helped me get all of my aggression out.

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Why I love… painting

Former junior shot put world champion and Olympic finalist Natalia Duco is so good she’s had her artwork displayed at an exhibition in her native Chile. And she has kindly agreed to let SPIKES show off some of her best work…

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Why I love… Rugby League and Wigan’s ‘chunky nugget’

Great Britain’s European Indoor 800m champion Jenny Meadows on Rugby League.

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My dad was a massive fan and it was he who got me into Rugby League. My first ever memories of the sport was sat on my dad’s knee watching Wigan Warriors play at their old Central Park ground, but to be honest I was more interested in the sweets than the action on the pitch.

Over time, though, I slowly fell in love with the game and I was very lucky that my team, Wigan, were the dominant force in the English if not the world game. I loved watching Shaun Edwards play, a great reader of the game and playmaker and Andy Gregory – a powerful ‘chunky nugget’ who was a little general on the pitch.

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Why I love… football

Olympic 800m finalist Alysia Montano tells SPIKES about her love of the beautiful game and how it helps her on the track

 

I played soccer from the age of five through high school and I had some offers to play soccer at college. It was a tough choice but I decided to concentrate on track. It made sense academically and from a sporting view. Having said that, I loved team sports.

I played in midfield both centrally and on the left and occasionally as a striker. I wasn’t predominantly right-footed but I had a good left foot and that’s why I played out on the left.

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The climbing hurdler

Lawrence Clarke, who finished fourth in the Olympic 110m hurdles final, talks rock and mountain climbing.

“My parents were always very keen on the mountains, but I thought skiing on a piste was very dull, so I went off-piste skiing which was fun because you have to climb up a mountain and ski down it. My mother hooked me up with a guide when I went to the Alps to climb. Obviously I couldn’t go to the Alps every week, so I went to the Lake District, Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia; it became an addiction.

“I got more involved at school, where we had a mountaineering society. Bear Grylls was as former student and he spoke at our school. I was also met a climber called Tim Emmett a few times and that motivated me and got me very interested. By the time I was 13 I climbed Mont Blanc, which was exhilarating.

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