Phuket Sports: Olympic medalist comes to Phuket
PHUKET: Two-time Olympic medalist David Davies spoke to the Phuket Gazette about his upcoming trip to Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club to teach a Swimming Stroke Clinic tomorrow.
Phuket Gazette: What brings you to Phuket and will this be your first time in Thailand?
David Davies: It will be my first time in Thailand. Following my third consecutive Olympics, I thought I’d like to see a bit of the world [and] see if I could give something back to the sport. I’ve done several swim clinics before and I really enjoy it.
Luckily enough, I have the contacts in Thailand, so I saw it as an opportunity for a working holiday. I’m really looking forward to the trip.
Is there anything you are most looking forward to about your trip to Phuket?
I’d like to see some of the beaches, as everybody always talks about how nice they are (hopefully the weather is good while I am there) and also experience the general culture of Thailand. It’s obviously very different to the UK, but it is very popular with the Brits who move there or go on holiday. I’m going in very open–minded and really looking forward to it.
Whenever I go away, I always get involved with the local cuisine, so I’ll definitely be going for all of the local foods.
You’ve been to an incredible three Olympic games, medaling in 2004 and 2008, and racing very well this year in London 2012. Which was your most memorable and why?
That’s a very tricky question as they are all special in so many ways. The first one was in Athens, where the Olympics originated from, and I never expected to get a medal, so the massive hysteria and shock from winning a medal was amazing.
Beijing 2008 was probably my most courageous performance; with the last part of the 10km open water swim being incredibly painful, but I managed to hang in there for an Olympic Silver medal in my second consecutive Olympic games. I was very proud to have maintained such a high level of performance over two consecutive games, and so that for me, was a huge achievement.
This year’s event in London was such a historical event in my home nation, that had been talked about every day for years and years, and then to finally be there racing with the home crowd cheering on was a magnificent feeling. The whole nation got behind us and it was a really nice way to finish my Olympic career really.
Walking through the Olympic Park every day with so much support was just an incredible feeling.
What would you single out as your best achievement or what do you feel you will always take with you long after you quit swimming?
As an athlete, it was always about the Olympic Games for me. That’s what inspired me to get into the sport and that’s why I competed and that’s what I wanted to succeed in.
I think doing it twice [winning medals in 2004 and 2008] and having the commitment, desire and motivation to continue for another four years after Athens… maintain that level of performance and win another medal, was something very unique and special to me.
The race in Beijing was actually only my 3rd open water race, so I was very inexperienced and it was a new sport to me. I probably won that medal through courage and determination on the day. I had absolutely nothing left. I wanted absolutely no regrets and as an athlete, that’s all you can do.
I’m not a massively talented athlete, I’m just a very hard working honest guy and that was the result of my work ethic really.
How did you keep your motivation to train at such a high level over three Olympic Games?
When I look back now, I think that it is a long time to keep that motivation.
However, there are no short cuts to get to the top, and the Olympics was always my focus.
I always remember a coach of mine saying that when I’m struggling to get out of bed, one of my competitors on the other side of the world won’t be and that they will be getting an edge on their training.
I’ve always believed in doing it the hard way and with 100 per cent effort and commitment.
What advice would you give swimmers starting out on their own ‘Olympic Journey’?
I would say that you should never give up on your dreams.
I remember a huge idol of mine, Grant Hackett from Australia, was my motivation as a youth swimmer growing up. All I wanted to do was to be like him and emulate his successes in the pool.
Then in 2004 at the Olympic Final, I found myself qualified fastest for the 1,500m Final with Grant in the lane next to me! It was a strange feeling, however, it shows that with hard work and consistency even your most distant dreams can become reality.
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