Within the decathlon, what is your favorite event?
Pole vault is my favorite. It was my first love. It was my intro into track and field. On top of that, there’s nothing cooler than pole vaulting. You’re taking your life into your own hands and flying 18 or 19 feet into the air and then landing on your back is a cool feeling.
For those who don’t know how the decathlon works, explain the breakdown of it.
We compete in two to three meets a year. It’s ten events over the course of two days—five events on each day. It starts with the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-meter dash on day one. The next day is 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500-meter run.
What’s your diet like?
As I’ve gotten older it’s gotten more refined. I don’t want to say strict, but it’s definitely healthy. I juice a lot, I eat really lean, colorful and fresh. I don’t think eating this healthy is who I am; I still consider it a sacrifice. Every week and a half to two weeks I allow myself to eat what I want for a meal or two.
How does the time leading up to the 2016 Olympics compare to the time leading up to the 2012 games?
Leading up to 2012 I was on a mission. I failed miserably in 2008, but came off of that and won two world championships. I had elbow surgery right before the London games and I wasn’t even sure I was going to make the team but I was still enjoying the moment. I’ve had a run of bad luck in the build up to 2016 though. I had to bow out of 2013 and 2015 world championships, but I’ve still been at my top form. This is going to be my last Olympics. I’m letting it all hang out there and leaving no stone unturned, just so I can look back on this and not regret anything.
What does life after the Olympics look like?
I don’t know, but I’m excited for it.