Hammer legend Koji Murofushi has enjoyed an incredible international career spanning nearly twenty years. The Japanese world and Olympic champion shares his words of wisdom.

1. Rules breed beauty

“The sport of athletics is dominated by rules. For example, in my event, the hammer has to be a certain length and weight; the circle we throw in needs to be a certain size; the sector line has to be a certain degree angle.

“It doesn’t matter if you throw a world record distance, if it is over the sector line it counts as a foul. We also have strict anti-doping rules that we should all abide by. For me, it is not about relaxing any of these rules, but that everyone operates by the same rules.

“Our technique and movement is formed by the rules, and there is an intrinsic beauty in this. We can achieve this beauty without throwing a lighter hammer or taking banned substances.”

Koji Murofushi ()

Murofushi celebrates after sealing gold at the 2011 Daegu World Championships, ten years on from wining silver in Edmonton

2. Your only limit is you

“After a few years in the sport you might have set a number of PBs and believe you have reached your limit and that’s it. Yet what if you think differently and change your mindset?

“There might be a different way of training, a different recovery process. If you put limits on yourself then the only person you are limiting is yourself.

“For me, I could have put a limit on myself and stopped after winning an Olympic gold medal in Athens, but I continued because I put no limits on myself. This has allowed me to compete for a long time and enjoy a long career.”

Koji Murofushi ()

At London 2012, Japan's most decorated field athlete claimed Olympic bronze to go with the gold he won in Athens in 2004

3. Take an objective view

“It is important sometimes to take an objective view of yourself, which is something my father [Shigenobu], who was also a hammer thrower, expressed to me [Pappa Murofushi actually held the Japanese hammer record until Koji broke it]. He competed for a long time back in the 60s. Before video technology was widespread he saw himself for the time on 8mm film.

“What he saw was totally different to the feeling he was experiencing in the circle. He thought he was doing the right movements but what he saw on film was terrible. It was far from a pure rotation of the hammer. I’ve been very lucky that my father has come to all of my competitions and filmed all of my competition.

“It is not about teaching me technique, but more about allowing me to take an objective view of myself, which has served me very well throughout my career.”