Olympic champion and world 10,000m record holder Almaz Ayana talks to Ato Boldon for the latest episode of IAAF Inside Athletics.

In many ways, it is the race which defines her career. Indeed whenever Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana decides to hang up her spikes, there's every chance those unforgettable 25 laps of the track in Rio last year will remain the brightest star in an ever-expanding galaxy of gold.

It's no surprise, then, that she can still recall it with crystal clarity, more than seven months on from that historic morning in the Olympic Stadium when she shook up the world of distance running.

"I was a bit anxious," said Ayana, casting her mind back to what was her Olympic debut. 

The race went exactly to plan, with the Ethiopian coasting away from the field over the second half of the race to clock a world record of 29:17.45. "It was very fast from the beginning," she said. "The result happened like I expected it would."

Ayana would learn a valuable lesson about the fleeting nature of success just days later, however, as she was outrun by Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot in the 5000m final, the Ethiopian coming home only third in 14:33.59. 

"I was very shocked," said Ayana. "I was really upset. Why? Because I didn’t think I would lose."

Since Rio, life has naturally been very different for Ayana, who admitted that it's been unusual to be considered an icon for fellow athletes in Ethiopia.

"There might be young athletes who look at me as a role model," she said. "When I was young, in the countryside, there were famous athletes who were competing. This kind of athlete is important. There has been a big difference [since Rio], with the [Ethiopian] people, with my lifestyle and with my training. It’s been different in everything."

Ayana, however, is not resting on her laurels, and ahead of a 2017 season that will culminate at the IAAF World Championships in London, she's promising more fireworks on the track. "Rio gave me a big morale, but I plan to achieve even more than I have so far," she said. 

Watch the full episode below: