The heptathlete has had a fresh start in France but reflecting on past experiences has formed part of preparations as she gets ready for London
After finishing fourth in one of the greatest heptathlon competitions of all time in Götzis earlier this year, Katarina Johnson-Thompson is ready for her time to shine.
The 24-year-old improved her PB to 6691 at the Hypo Meeting to strengthen her position as No.3 on the UK all-time list but, such was the standard of the contest, she finished outside the top three.
However, reflecting on that, and other experiences in her career, has set her up ahead of her return to the London Stadium in which she competed as a 19-year-old at the Olympics.
“That stadium is always going to hold a special place in my heart,” says Johnson-Thompson ahead of the IAAF World Championships in the UK capital. “Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been watching videos of 2012 and it definitely brings back a lot of emotions.
“I’m fully prepared now. I feel like in 2012 I didn’t really understand the enormity of it, I was just going along with the wind really. Now I can look back and feel like it is a special time. I’m fully prepared and try and make new memories in the stadium that I can cherish forever.”
There are, of course, some memories that are not recalled quite so fondly, but looking back on those is also part of the process.
“It’s important that you look at the good times in sport and the bad times as well to see how far along you’ve come and how different you are,” says the Rio Olympic sixth-placer, who is also set to contest the individual high jump in London. “I feel like it’s important to reflect on both, but finish on the good ones!”
Reflecting also includes appreciating the sensational 7013-point score achieved by Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam in Austria and, rather than feel intimidated by it, become even more motivated.
“I think what Thiam did was expected because she’s a really good performer,” says the Briton on a performance which moved the Belgian athlete to third on the world all-time list. “I think she can count herself as a big-stage performer and I expect her to do the exact same come London.
“Now it’s my turn to step up and hopefully try to do the same and get a couple of PBs in the heptathlon which I haven’t been able to do for a couple of years. So that’s what I focus on.
“I know where she’s at and what she’s capable of and now I’ve got to shine a light on my performances. I need to make sure my strengths are strong and my weaknesses are the best they can be.”
As well as enjoying what Johnson-Thompson describes as probably the best competition build-up to she’s ever had, a move to France has also given the Montpellier-based athlete “a fresh outlook on everything”.
“It’s one of those things where I felt like it was time for a change and it’s definitely been the right move to mentally step away from everything in England and be without a care in the world in the south of France,” the European pentathlon champion explains. “It definitely bodes well for my preparations. I’ve done a lot of technical work and not been injured all year.
“I feel like I’ve had the best preparation of my life now so it’s just down to me to try and perform on the day.”
» The heptathlon gets under way with the 100m hurdles at 10:05 on Saturday