EXCLUSIVE: Nick Symmonds’ track and field manifesto

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Few current athletes are as keen to stick their head above the parapet as world 800m silver medallist Nick Symmonds. The US middle-distance star tells SPIKES his big ideas to improve the sport he loves: from alcohol to advertising; and what athletics can learn from the likes of Nascar and tennis.

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Shara Proctor: Daytona Beach is quite similar to Loughborough

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Ahead of her battle with Darya Klishina for European Indoor gold tomorrow, we speak to Britain’s longest jumper Shara Proctor about being an island sports hero, swapping sunny Florida for snowy England, and her plan to be the world’s best.

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Is Andy Murray as fast as Usain Bolt? Yes, says his fitness coach

Tennis ace Andy Murray is just as quick as Usain Bolt – over 10m at least – according to his fitness coach Jez Green.

Speaking to the press ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the year, Green told reporters that the World No.3 was deceptively fast moving around the court and often hits the same speeds as the world’s fastest man.

“Andy has lazy speed,” said Green. “He doesn’t look as if he’s moving that fast, but it’s deceptive. He’s been clocked at moving at ten metres per second over very short intervals, maybe even as short as a single step, which is as fast as Usain Bolt.

“I’m not saying he is that fast over 100m, but he has great acceleration when he is chasing down a drop shot.”

Green, a former competitive kick-boxer who travels with Murray to many of his tournaments added that Murray’s ability to stop and turn quickly is of greater importance than his flat speed but acknowledged that the US Open champ is naturally fast.

“He could probably run a 50 second 400m if he trained for it.”

Murray himself admitted in a BBC column he sometimes carries out 400m sprints as part of his training and has recorded 52 seconds for the distance.

 

Andy Murray admits decent 400m PB

Tennis star Andy Murray revealed as part of his BBC sport column his 400m personal best is a respectable 52 seconds.

Answering the tweeted question; If you can win any tournament/achievement in any other sport, which would it be? Murray, the US Open champion and Olympic men’s singles champion, says: ‘It would be cool to win the 100m at the Olympics and be the fastest man in the world. I never do 100m in training because there’s a chance you could pull a hamstring, but I do 400m sometimes. The fastest I’ve done is about 52 seconds, which is reasonable but a long way short of Olympic standard. To give you a bit of context, Mo Farah ran a 52 second lap in the 5000m (at London 2012), but it was after he’d already run 4600m!”

SPIKES is impressed by Murray’s best time, but we wondered which sportsman from outside athletics could run the quickest 400m? Tweet @spikesmag.com with your suggestions, or tell us on our Facebook page.

#athleteswap

Those eagle-eyed folks over at EME news report that the great Jan Zelezný and European champ Vítezslav Veselý chanced their considerable javelin arms at tennis this week.

During a Maria Sharapova/Petra Kvitová exhibition match in Prague, Zelezný and Veselý both attempted to serve at a paper figure of Sharapova. Veselý won, recording a service speed of 122 km/h (76 mph). To put that in context, Serena Williams averaged a first serve of 177 km/h (110 mph) in the 2012 US Open final.

We already know that Bolt and Blake are handy cricketers, and that Adam Gemili could have been a pro footballer. But are there any athletes out there convinced they could transfer from athletics to another elite sport? Tweet @spikesmag #athleteswap, and let’s see if we can help an athlete’s sporting dream to come true…