World-class high jumper Erik Kynard knows how to handle nerves, but has no idea what to do with his old spikes.
1. Nerves don’t get to me
“I never got nervous or anxious for a high jump competition. The last time I was nervous was on my first senior team back at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Back then I didn’t handle the nerves well at all. I finished 14th in qualification and missed a place in the final.
“After Daegu I made a conscious effort to learn to control my emotions. It took patience to learn and to master. I now put myself in a place of peace for a competition. I embrace nerves like excitement, but I’m never fearful of the competition.
“I think to control nerves is a very important factor in an event like the high jump, where you can be out in the arena for several hours for some competitions.”
2. I’m a different person off the track
“I might be a showman on the high jump apron, but off it I’m a quiet, softly-spoken guy, which some people might be surprised in. I like to give of myself on the track, but I’m different off it.
“I guess that is no different to many of us who are likely to be different in their place of work compared to life at home.”
3. I like shoes. And socks.
“I’m a little bit of a hoarder. I take good care of all my things and I like to keep them.
“As a youngster – because I didn’t have everything – it becomes very important that when you have something you take good care of it.
“I have a pretty substantial collection of shoes and socks. I have between 400 and 700 pairs of shoes, which I keep in a storage locker.
“I keep almost everything – except old spikes. I don’t really know what to do with old spikes. I only recently just got rid of some old clothes from the London Olympics. Maybe one day I’ll grow out of wanting to collect and keep hold of everything.”