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David Oliver

Did you know? Man mountain and 2013 sprint hurdle world champion David Oliver's strength coach calls him Bob. Why? This is why!

1. I'm keen on DIY

“My passion for interior design and DIY started when I worked at the Home Depot store, before I got my first shoe contract in 2008. I worked in different departments; I started out in kitchen and bathroom, moved on to the paint department and then into outside garden. I picked knowledge up along the way. I had always dreamed of owning my own home, so when I did I was keen to start a number of DIY projects.

“Probably the most ambitious project was when I did redesigned my bathroom and laid the hardwood floors. I put in three counter tops, sinks, back splashes – at one point I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew. The hardest part was definitely the plumbing and for that I had to bring in some assistance. I recall coming home from training every day and working on the bathroom but the whole project only took me 17 days.

“My strength coach calls me Bob the Builder and I remember showing up at practice with paint on my arms and around my ear. It was fun.”

2. I was a shy kid

“Today I’m very confident and very blunt, but when I was a kid I was really shy and disliked public speaking. At high school I used to express myself through playing sports whether that was football, basketball or baseball. I was definitely not a super popular dude at high school.

“It was only when I started college did I become less shy. I worked harder on public speaking and it was weird in that from that point on, people started to gravitate towards me and it became infectious. I had never lacked my self-confidence in my sport or schoolwork and now I was becoming less shy in public.

“Today I enjoy public speaking, but even now for the first ten to 15 seconds I find speaking in public like at a press conference quite tough until I get into the flow.”

3. I was a poor long jumper

“I only started track aged 16 so I could improve my speed for American football. I started out quite late in my sophomore [second] year at high school as a long jumper and a triple jumper, but although I was okay at triple jump I struggled at the long jump because I could never hit the board. My team-mates used to make fun of me and called me DJ Scratch!

“It was only in my junior [third] year when the team were a man short and I got asked to run a leg of the shuttle hurdles relay did my track career take a new, more successful path.”