It will soon be training time again for Canadian Olympian Damian Warner

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Damian Warner had simply accomplished his eighth of 10 occasions within the Olympic decathlon within the searing warmth of Tokyo. This was two months in the past, Aug. 5th. He cleared a private finest within the pole vault, widening his lead within the total standings to greater than 200 factors. There could be a break earlier than the night time session at Olympic Stadium.


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And whereas athletes by no means need to think about the end line whereas there’s nonetheless loads of monitor forward, Warner is human. He knew the numbers, he noticed the dimensions of his lead.

“I advised my coach, ‘We’re going to return again tonight and win a gold medal,’” Warner says. That second, and a chuckle shared between them, was the one time the 31-year-old from London, Ont., allowed himself to consider the Olympic title that was to return. After which he had extra urgent enterprise.

“I used to be simply, like, someone put me in Saran wrap or bubble wrap or one thing so I don’t damage myself within the subsequent 5 hours as a result of we had a very massive break arising.”

And so, when Warner was spending the previous couple of hours earlier than he would turn into the decathlon champion, he was transferring round rigorously, like a toddler studying his steps. “Once I was climbing down stairs or going by means of uneven grass I used to be strolling as sluggish and secure as doable,” he says. “As a result of at that time I felt like these have been the one issues that would probably jeopardize it.”


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What occurred subsequent was Olympic historical past. Warner posted a high-quality javelin throw to pad his lead even additional. The final occasion, the 1,500-metre, was as near perfunctory because it might get. He ran a 4:31:08 to complete fifth within the race, and set a brand new Olympic report of 9018 factors within the course of. He had needed to interrupt the 9,000-point barrier, so nonetheless wanted a great time. Job completed.

“I feel going into the 1,500 there was much less nerves than I’ve ever had going right into a 1500, and nonetheless, to at the present time, I’m undecided if that was a great factor or a foul factor, however I obtained the consequence I used to be on the lookout for,” Warner says.

The times since have been one thing of a blur. The aggressive season resulted in Tokyo, however there are at all times calls for on an Olympian’s time when the Video games finish, sponsors to satisfy and partnerships to take care of. He was in Hamilton to seem at a Tiger-Cats sport and on a distinct night time threw out a primary pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays sport.


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“We’ve been actually busy, but it surely’s a type of issues the place moments like this don’t come round too typically, so that you sort of take all of it in while you’re there, and I’ve been simply having loads of enjoyable with it complete factor,” Warner says. He and his accomplice Jennifer Cotten have a son, Theo, who was simply born in March, so the household has additionally been busy spending time collectively. (We’re talking by means of one in all his sponsors, Membership Home, which is that includes Warner in a marketing campaign in regards to the significance of getting outside and connecting with household over the Thanksgiving season.)

However it can quickly be time for coaching to start for the subsequent aggressive season, constructing towards the indoor athletics championships in Serbia in March after which the World Athletics Championships in Oregon subsequent summer time. From there, will probably be two years till Paris 2024, and Warner is considering one thing completely different on the street to his Olympic title defence: competing in occasions that aren’t the decathlon. It provides an enchanting subplot to his preparation: he’s already a world-class lengthy jumper, and his occasions within the 100-metre sprint and 110-metre hurdles within the Tokyo decathlon have been corresponding to these of most of the Olympians who focus on these occasions. It’s not out of the query that Warner might advance into the finals of these occasions if he centered his coaching, even for a season. Or as he places it: “Change it up, have just a little little bit of enjoyable, see how we will sort of compete towards a few of the high canine.”


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Damian Warner versus Andre De Grasse? It could be appointment viewing.

And if it looks like an uncommon option to prepare for a decathlete, it’s not like Warner is unfamiliar with switching issues up. He famously spent a lot of the build-up to Tokyo 2020 in makeshift coaching amenities like an previous, chilly London area attributable to pandemic border restrictions that saved him from travelling to the USA. Many athletes advised tales in Japan of their DIY exercise setups, however Warner was doing it for 10 occasions. And, over the ultimate stretch, with a new child in the home.

“Once I was dreaming in regards to the lead as much as the Olympics and the way I assumed it needed to be to win a gold medal, that’s not essentially how I might have predicted it — waking up in the course of night time with a child crying or (figuring out at) a hockey rink,” Warner says, with a formidable diploma of understatement.


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He credit his coaches and assist workers with serving to him cope with the curveballs of the previous yr — and takes a second to offer further appreciation to his accomplice.

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“Jen, she doesn’t get sufficient credit score for what she’s been by means of all through this complete yr,” he says. “Once I’m off to those competitions she’s watching Theo and doing loads of issues at residence, whereas additionally attempting to be a scholar.

“She’s doing a tremendous job and made my job as an athlete that a lot simpler. So, yeah, it’s very a lot appeared on just like the decathlete is a person athlete as a result of that’s all you see once we’re on the market competing, but it surely’s very a lot a staff sport.”

That every one mentioned, I ask, and understanding that we will’t predict the longer term, he should determine that the preparations for Paris will not less than be simpler?

“Oh, yeah,” Warner says with amusing. “I actually hope so.”



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