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Famous ear cup story

Sep 21, 02:07 pm

“The night before the final I was lying in bed and trying not to think about the finals. I was trying to think about fun stuff and how to get the finals off my mind.

“I had seen Usain do all his dances and expressions, and I just thought I’ll do my own thing in the competition and I couldn’t think of anything more to do at the time than put my hands to my ear. I went for it just to get a reaction from the crowd and they responded well.

“This [picture] was after my 2.32m clearance. I can tell it was 2.32m because the 2.34m [cup to my ear] I was more upright.

“I was really nervous because I missed 2.29m, so it was a big risk. I just felt relief so I just wanted the crowd to feel what I was thinking at the time. When I cleared the bar I felt a big roar and when I did this with my hands I started doing crazy stuff. I did the same thing in Gateshead and got a similar response.

“I remember that night I didn’t get to sleep until 5am because my adrenaline was still pumping. I didn’t get to do much that night. I only made one phone call to my brother who lives in Birmingham, Damian Mason. When I called him he was screaming. I told him to watch BBC because I’m going to be on a minute. I was sharing with Alex Nelson and he was like, ‘why are you so calm?’ I was still up [that night] just thinking about everything.

“It wasn’t until later into the Games that I went out [to party] with some of the British guys and the Jamaicans who had won the 4×100m. It was so natural for the British athletes and the Jamaicans [to get along] and we also went out with the Australians and Trinidadians. We were like one big family. There was this popular night club [in Beijing] called China Doll where we all went to.

“To win the silver medal was the best day of my life because of all I’d been through for the previous four or five years. When I moved from the junior stage the transition went really well and I was No.2 in the world but I went to the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Budapest and ruptured by tendon and that was a big disappointment. I really struggled with injuries and after I had surgery on my patella tendon – doctors said I only had a 50-50 chance that I will ever jump again but I wanted to prove them wrong.”
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