Sweden’s European indoor long jump champion Michel Torneus talks hosiery and sneakers.
1. I have a huge sneaker collection
“I have always loved shoes since I was young. Unfortunately, growing up we didn’t have much money, so I usually had just one pair of shoes which I had to use for everything, but by the time I was 19 and I could afford shoes I started my own collection buying Nike shoes and Jordans.
“I have now been collecting for ten years and I have more than 100 pairs. I don’t know whether I should admit this, but I keep many of them in a separate room at home and also have some stashed at my mum’s house, which is 20 minutes away.
“I do like to wear each pair I have – that is what shoes are for. But don’t ask me to pick a favourite because that is a bit like asking me to choose between my favourite brother or sister: impossible! The most money I’ve ever paid on a pair of shoes is about $400 on a pair of Air Jordan 3 Black Cement sneakers.
“Do I have a dream sneaker to buy? Well, the dream would be to have my own sneakers named after me!”
2. I am punctual
“I used to always be late, but two years ago I made the decision to be punctual. So now I never turn up to anything a minute early or late. I like to be right on time.
“I think I reached this decision because I was always frustrated waiting for my best friend, the Swedish high jumper Mehdi Katib. I always used to be 15 minutes late, but he was always 30 minutes late! Yet I think the reason I was turning up late is because I hate to wait on people.
“Anyway, I had an awakening and now because I am on time I have a good routine. I can put my brain in auto-pilot and it is much easier to arrange quality family time.”
3. I always train and compete in white socks
“I always have to train and compete in white socks. I like the look of knee-high white socks as it reminds me of the old school basketball players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“My socks can have a little bit of grey or black in them, but they have to predominantly white. I don’t know what it is about black or non-white coloured socks, they just look heavy and I don’t want to be heavy when I jump.
“I remember I forgot my white socks when competing at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot. I thought to myself this is not going to work, I am not going to compete well. Fortunately, I won a bronze medal. But maybe had I competed in white socks I would have won gold.”