Adelle Tracey lit up the Olympic Games, literally, four years ago and now aims to make an impact on the track in the 800m
In the space of one Olympic cycle, Adelle Tracey has gone from being a teenage hopeful chosen to light the cauldron at London 2012 to being a contender to make Team GB at the Rio Games.
The 800m runner showed her ability by winning the British indoor 800m title earlier this year and competing at the subsequent World Indoor Championships in Portland whetted her appetite ahead of a summer that could culminate with an appearance in Brazil.
After beating, among others, Lynsey Sharp and Jenny Meadows, to win the national indoor title in Sheffield in late February, Tracey received a flurry of articles in Fleet Street newspapers. She enjoyed the moment, but was not overly fazed by the attention and remained focused on the challenges she faces ahead on the track as she attempts to qualify for the Olympics in one of the most competitive events in British athletics.
“The media really like a story and the fact I was a cauldron lighter in 2012 was a lot to do with it,” she says, looking back. “It helped raise my profile but I was keen to get back to the drawing board straight after Sheffield and concentrate on the World (Indoor) Champs.
“For me, it was amazing (to win in Sheffield) and I was pleased with the achievement. But now it’s all about focusing on the summer and getting some good training done.”
On her goals for this summer, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. “You have an aim for a season every year and this year it’s an Olympic year, so the trials will be a big goal and I’ll be trying to run as fast as I can,” she says.
On trying to crack the two-minute barrier for 800m for the first time, she adds: “I’m not really trying to run certain times. It’s more about enjoying my running and trying to make those improvements where I can.”
Currently, her best is 2:01.10, which she set winning a race in Belgium last August. In January, though, she ran within a second of that time indoors in Vienna, which bodes well for the coming track season.
“My speed is pretty good off the back of the indoor season,” she says. “For me I’m trying to build back my endurance with 1500m-type stuff and also maintaining my speed going into the outdoor season.”
Tracey enjoyed success as a young athlete and that included winning a European Youth Olympics 800m silver in Tampere in 2009 behind Ioana Doaga of Romania, while in 2010 she achieved every young athlete’s dream by capturing the English Schools title in Birmingham.
“Tampere was my first international championship best and went into the event ranked about 12th or 13th but came away with a silver medal,” Tracey says, when asked about her most pleasing achievements during the early part of her athletics life. “It was my first big trip abroad and being with a team meant a lot for me.
“But the English Schools is also high up the list in 2010 when I won the 800m. Again it was a good experience as I was part of a strong team and wanted to perform well.
“I was favourite as well so had the pressure to win. But if you can deal with that kind of pressure at a young age then it’s only going to get easier.”
» This is an extract from a five-page feature on Adelle Tracey which can be found in the April 14 edition of AW magazine