Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium is set to welcome the planet’s finest athletes in August for this year's IAAF World Championships, seven years after the iconic venue was the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games. To mark 100 days until the championships kick off, David Oliver reflects on the breakthrough bronze medal he won at those Beijing Olympics.

“I went into to my first Olympic Games better prepared than I had been in my life. Earlier that year I had run a lifetime best of 12.95 in Doha, which at that point was one of the best times in history.

“I did what I needed to do at trials [with a wind-assisted 12.95]. I was really happy. Then when transferring from the pre-Olympic camp to the [Olympic] Village I got really sick, which really put a dampener on the experience for me. I thought ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me at the Olympics – the biggest competition of my life’. I was throwing up every couple of hours, I couldn’t sleep and I was breaking out into cold sweats. Thankfully, the US doctor gave me some pills and the problem cleared up.

“During the Games it was cool to be given the chance to run four races in four days, and I just remember coming out for the morning session of my first round heat thinking I’d never experienced a stadium like this before. The nickname ‘The Bird’s Nest’ was a perfect fit.

“I remember thinking ‘wow, this is amazing’ at the warm up track, where I could see the Olympic flame. Then, when I got to compete in my first round heat I thought I’d never seen as many people in a stadium before. There were 80,000 people in there, and that added to the nervousness.

“I won my heat in 13.30, but the first round was a little bizarre because both Terrence Trammell and Liu Xiang were eliminated. It was like all the key contenders were dropping like flies.

“I then ran a decent 13.19 to win my quarter-final, but as I crossed the finish line I tweaked my left hamstring. I thought ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me on the biggest stage’.

David Oliver ()

“I looked across the line and I knew I had won a medal”

“I had some cool room-mates: Kenta Bell, Miguel Pate and Andra Manson, and that night and the one after they would have two McDonald’s [note, other fast food chains are available] grilled chicken salads and a fish fillet waiting for me. I would then go over to the next building – the USA training house – where the physios would work on my hamstring and I’d undergo acupuncture on the damaged hamstring.

Wallace Spearmon, who was also undergoing treatment, and I would be up until 2-3am before I would go back to my room and sleep until noon to prepare for the race that night. I was really nervous and scared ahead of my semi. I ran pretty poorly but managed to win in 13.31.

“I then recall my warm-up ahead of the final was terrible. It was raining and my coach [Brooks Johnson] was head coach of the 4x100m relay team and he had to deal with the team dropping the relay stick.

“My hamstring was not feeling great, then in the final I bumped into Ladji Doucoure who was in the lane next to me. Then it was like a fight-or-flight response. I somehow finished and when I looked across the line, I knew I had won a medal. I was very happy.

Dayron Robles won the gold medal and I knew he was the one who was going to win the gold medal going into that meet. Yet to win the bronze just behind my good friend, David Payne, who took the silver, was so cool because both of us were not hyped athletes coming out of college. We had just grinded our way to be the best hurdlers America had at those Games.

“I returned to the Bird’s Nest for the 2013 World Challenge meet and I remember it was almost exactly the same as I had remembered it in 2008 – the call-up room, the walk-out to the stadium. I even used the same lane when warming up as I did at the Olympics. You can’t buy those memories. They are just priceless.”

Head this way to relive the 2008 110m hurdles Olympic final.