Interview with an Olympian: Jo Jackson race-walker
It's not everyday that you meet someone with the drive and determination to take their passion to the top.
Race-walker, and Olympic qualifier Jo Jackson, is definitely one of these people.
Whilst she may compete in a lesser known sport, this 26-year-old race walker is a real inspiration when it comes to aiming high.
Born in Middlesbrough, Jo
Jackson is the first British woman to win a major race walk title.
In 2010 she came first at the Commonwealth Games in India, finishing a 20km walk in 1hr 34min 22sec and now she has qualified for the Olympics 2012, she's certainly one to watch.
We managed to grab some time with the on-the-go Commonwealth winner, during a Gatorade sweat analysis test at the Manchester Velodrome.
How did you come across race walking as a sport?
Originally I did cross country and track running as well. I started with atheltics aged nine and my whole family was involved in sport, so quite often I got dragged into the dragged into the cross country stuff.
At my old athletics club there was a guy who did race walking and he'd been to the Olympics in the sixties. He was looking for people to have a go at the sport and by then I had tried every other athletics event and I thought, "OK, I'll give it a go."
I did a few weeks training with him and he said I had a natural talent for it and we started to do a few races and after I won some, it all sort of snowballed.
What do you love about it?
What is your training schedule like?
I train six days a week and have one day off. But when I train I train two times a day.
Some sessions might be running or gym sessions but most of them will be race walking out on the road.
How do you stay motivated?
I'm really committed to the sport, but the worst is on those days when it is horrible weather...
You just have to think about the end goal - and the medals! (laughs) That's what gets me out of bed.
Is there anything that you absolutely have to have when you are training?
I always use Gatorade to keep hydrated when I'm training - and a good pair of trainers!
What is your greatest sporting highlight to date?
I think the greatest highlight so far is winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in India last year. I was their favorite to win and definitely felt under pressure to be a medal favorite, but being able to do that after an injury, and to win by so much was just amazing.
So now your focus is the 2012 Olympics. Do you think that there is more pressure to perform well because the London Olympics are on home soil?
I think there is a bit more pressure being on your home turf. There's a lot of media pressure and pressure from the home towns with everyone willing you to do well - I think they expect everyone to win medals!
But I do think being at home will have the advantage of having the home crowd - especially for my event as it is on The Mall in the heart of London.
How would you celebrate if you won gold?
It would be unbelievable to actually win a medal! If I won I think I would have to have a huge party with my friends and family!
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