SPIKES chats to top sprints and jumps coach Rana Reiderwho crossed the Atlantic to take up a leading position for UK Athletics in 2012. He reveals why GB is the place to be, and his airport problems with Christian Taylor and Dwight Phillips. 

What’s so good about the UK?

"The programme is amazing. The lottery funding, the sports-science, everything. We have access to the sports-psych; I’ve never seen anything like it.

"The challenge of putting the sports science to work on the track is exciting for me. To watch how the athletes react to the training and their long-term development is the pinnacle."

Great Britain has enjoyed a relatively successful recent period. Do you feel any extra pressure to succeed?

"If these athletes don’t run fast or jump far: I won’t get paid. I enjoy the thrill of competition.

"I woke up at 4am the other day thinking about this relay sports-psych stuff [involving UKA’s head of sports psychiatry Steve Peters]. I get excited every day to come to practice."

The fans at the London 2012 Olympic Games were amazing. Was the passion shown by the supporters a factor in you taking up the role?

"I remember flying into London my with training group ahead of the Olympics. The lady at passport control recognised Christian [Taylor, then reigning world champion] and she said: ‘You were the guy who beat Phillips’ [Idowu, at the 2011 World Championships].

"She made certain Christian was the last person in the queue she let through. I remember in the US all I got was a $750 cheque for Christian winning the Olympics. They don’t really care."

image

Home advantage: You beat our Idowu, so you’re last in line at border control, Taylor.

What are the cultural differences between US and UK athletes?

"I’m not sure that they are any. With any athlete that wants to be good, they need to understand you are there to make them fast. You need to show them your 100 percent support. If stuff goes wrong then you are there to make that adjustment. It is pretty simple."

Do you have a coaching story that makes you feel proud? 

"In 2011, Dwight Phillips [four-time world long jump champ] had been injured for most of the year so we had to modify his training to get him to win in Daegu [at the 2011 World Championships]. The day he was due to fly out to Daegu, he even didn’t want to get on the plane in the airport."