Athletics

Grabarz unhappy with attention after Olympic bronze

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Grabarz in action at the European Indoors in March (©GettyImages)
Grabarz in action at the European Indoors in March (©GettyImages).

Olympic bronze medalist Robbie Grabarz has admitted he has struggled to deal with the limelight in the aftermath of the London games last summer, and says he is relieved he didn't claim gold because of the attention it would bring.

The high-jumper came home in 3rd place at the Olympics last summer, but hasn't found life easy to adjust to since.

The 25-year-old is in action at the first Diamond League event of the season in Doha today, and says he has found distractions away from sport hard to deal with since he won bronze at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford last summer.

His low spell coincided with a poor performance at the European Indoor Championships in March, where he finished 6th.

"The turning point was immediately when I f****d up the Europeans," he said. "I thought this isn't fun. I felt like a serious athlete and I don't want to be that. The pressure got to me.

"Everyone expects you to do well, jump here, jump there, and it distracted me from enjoying it. Enjoyment is the only reason I do this. If I didn't enjoy it, then I'd pack it in tomorrow. It was difficult for me to turn up to the track and not enjoy it.

"I took a week off and kind of did not know what to expect. It's the second album this year, it's difficult. I expected so much for myself and if you expect high things off the back of nothing, then you don't achieve them and it's quite depressing. So I am coming into the summer with expectations, but not heights or goals, just to enjoy myself."

Asked if he was happy that he didn't win gold at the 2012 Olympics because it would have put him further in the limelight, he said: Yes, I don't like the fame, I never wanted to be famous. It almost makes you want to hinder your performance, I never would obviously but I'd rather not be famous. After the Games, people recognise you in the same way they recognise a reserve football team.

"My whole life is around fun and, if I'm not enjoying it, I will stop. I'd rather have no money and be smiling at home in the pub. That's the way I was brought up. I thought people cared but they don't, I thought I was famous but you're nothing to anyone, other than the 11,000 people who follow me on Twitter."

Grabarz is in action in the High Jump in the first Diamond League event of the season later this evening.

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