Grabarz’s high hopes for 2013

He’s tested the water, now Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz says it’s time we’ll start seeing some bigger heights

Alfa Romeo Track Day - Robbie Grabarz

The post Olympic period – a perfect time to shake up training and test out new things. That’s exactly what Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz has been doing, and now is the time, he says, that we’ll start seeing some bigger heights.

The 25-year-old’s start to the season has been well documented by the media, as have his struggles with dealing with the pressure that comes from having had such a successful 2012.

Not only did the year in which he claimed bronze at the Olympics see him add nine centimetres to his personal best, he also equalled the UK record with that 2.37m PB, became European champion and won the Diamond League title after claiming top-three spots in all of his outdoor competitions.

Following such highs, he didn’t do as well as he’d hoped at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in March, finishing sixth, but says everything is positive now and the past couple of months have been about seeing where he’s at ahead of peaking for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.

“I’ve changed my training,” he told AW. “We’ve been testing the water, seeing what stuff works and what stuff doesn’t.

“It’s the perfect time to do it just after a major Games so from here on up we’ll start seeing some bigger heights.”

Having worked with his coach Fuzz Ahmed on changes including altering the shape of his run up slightly (“to try and get a few more centimetres out of me”), Grabarz is focused on Moscow and although some high marks have already been set this season, he’s aware that each athlete will be at different stages of their preparation.

“Obviously Mutaz Barshim has got 2.40m this season which is pretty special,” commented Grabarz, with the Qatari athlete setting an overall Diamond League record in Eugene earlier this month. “But then none of the Russians have pulled anything out of the bag yet,” he continued, with Russia’s Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov having finished eighth with 2.21m at that meet in Eugene, where Grabarz recorded a season’s best 2.26m for sixth.

“I know they’ll be doing similar to me and changing stuff and training hard because they are going to want to peak for the championships in their back garden.

“Everyone is at different stages of their preparation and the World Championships is where everyone is focused.”

The Birmingham-based athlete is now looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd at the first UK leg of the Diamond League series at the end of this month, though is also keen to form part of Great Britain’s team for the European Athletics Team Championships on June 22-23, the squad for which is due to be announced tomorrow.

“It would be really good fun,” he said of competing in Gateshead. “It’s always good to put the vest on so I’ll be looking forward to that if I get selected.”

For now though, it’s about enjoying what he’s doing. His passion for cars, particularly of the classic variety, is well known and as we speak at a press day held by Alfa Romeo for who he is an ambassador, he explains how important it is to have things to focus on away from athletics.

“I’m not really a massive sports fan so those distractions are really useful for me, to have something else to think about and be concerned for,” he said.

On having spent some time with sports psychologist Steve Peters who has worked with some of the British Cycling team, he continued: “I just wanted to take more pleasure in what I was doing, because if I’m not enjoying something I’m not going to do it any longer.

“It was just dealing with the pressure of having such a good year last year and the expectations I put on myself.

“I’m my harshest critic so it’s always a tough thing to do, to please myself before anyone else.”

» Robbie Grabarz is an ambassador for Alfa Romeo – official car supplier to British Athletics, visit

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