Top Olympic athletes Laura Asadauskatie, Miles Chamley-Watson and Michael Jung reveal some tips, personal information and what motivates them to be the best they can be in both their sports careers and personal life.
Click on an image below for their full story.
LAURA ASADAUSKATIESkip to content
World and Olympic modern pentathlon champion Laura Asadauskatie of Lithuania reveals what makes her tick and what makes her such a fierce and successful competitor.
In modern pentathlon you need experience – champions are not made overnight. Then you need to be healthy, both physically and mentally, with strength, speed and endurance. Psychology also plays a big part in pentathlon. Of course you need to hone your technique and be good tactically. The mix of skills and psychology are what makes you successful or not.
Mental strength gives you the ability to fence better; there are a lot of mind games on the pistes. Size helps in swimming, big hands and feet help you to propel yourself better. For riding you need the competition experience, how to get to know a horse with little time. For running, hard training is the best way of getting faster. In shooting you need to free your mind – this one is all mental.
I am a firm believer that hard work gets you results. I am smaller than a lot of the competitors and have to make up for it somehow, so I train a lot. You always have to be better prepared than your opponents. There is not much difference between me or anyone else, but I think training more gives me that edge. It helps me feel strong physically and mentally. When you feel light on my feet it gives you confidence – you know you can cover ground very quickly.
I eat lots of fruit and vegetables of course. No milk. Eggs in the morning, yoghurt, cornflakes, brown bread and butter, coffee. Lunch is meat with vegetables and so is the evening. If I have rice or pasta, it is usually bio or brown as it has the most nutrients. Sometimes I have a post-training protein shake because I am small and my kidneys are small. My doctors tell me to have additional protein in my diet because I expend a lot of energy with all the training.
London 2012 was the culmination of a good season. Everything came together for me at the right time. The idea of getting a gold in London had given me such a huge focus and drive that everything else was secondary. I am now thinking about gold in Rio. You can never plan too far ahead because many things can happen but the focus now is well and truly on Rio.
Being a mother takes up all of my time when I’m not training, so being in competition is a relaxing time for me!
In my kit bag, you will not find that much apart from the essential gear but I wear compression on my calves during the combined and full legging compression after competition. It is my first season wearing these but I am enjoying them. I like my lip balm, I apply a lot, like most girls. I like to wear perfume when I compete, people might think that is weird but I like it, it is for myself.
When I drive I listen to whatever music is on the radio. I run a lot in the forest but never listen to music then, I enjoy the sound of nature, it’s relaxing. I have my personal Facebook account but no Twitter and no fan page. I do one beach holiday and one skiing holiday with my husband (and coach Andrejus Zadneprovskis, the double Olympic medallist) and my baby.
MILESSkip to content
After a disappointing London 2012, reigning foil world champion Miles Chamley-Watson of the United States is ready to show what he’s made of on the Olympic stage. Here he reveals the secrets to his success.
The main thing in fencing is to be fast. You can be short or tall but I think to have a fast hand or fast legs is the key. In our sport there’s no real precise physical trait to have, but to be quick and mentally strong is probably the most important.
I eat extremely healthily. I have fruit and oatmeal in the morning, salad with some protein for lunch and then for dinner I’ll have some fish. I try to stay away from carbs and stick to pure protein; that’s what makes me strong. I don’t eat any fried food generally. In the beginning it was kind of difficult and I wanted to eat fattier foods, but you need to understand that eating right is important, so I take it very seriously. No matter where I am, I still make sure I eat healthily.
My coach has always told me from a young age to not think about fencing at all near a competition. I’ll walk around where we’re staying, watch movies with my roommate and try to take myself out of the fencing world; that’s my goal. Usually two to three hours before my match I’m up getting ready and thinking about it a lot.
I was most nervous before London 2012. I was number two in the world and I was fencing amazingly. Then I changed routine, which was a terrible idea. I took a year off school and I was only training, not doing anything else, so I was burnt out. I ended up losing in the round of eight. I don’t really get nervous, I’m pretty much nerveless, but that was the one time that I was.
I have a signature mask, which is what I fence in every day; it’s my USA flag mask. Mine is a lot brighter and my flag is wavier than other people’s, so I’m the only one with that specific mask. I used it for the first time [last year] in the World Championships and I won.
I use Twitter, Instagram and my Facebook fan page. The fans have been great to me. I have lots of little kids in my club and wherever I go kids look up to me. It’s very motivating because I’m also doing it for them, so they can see that fencing can take them to the places it’s taken me.
In my spare time I like to visit my friends. A lot of my best friends play in the NFL, so I try to see them play if I can. I also like to go to the beach in Miami, because it’s only two hours away from me, and just hang out with friends and not talk about fencing. I don’t have that many friends in fencing because I’m so different but it’s great for me because I have a different outlook. It’s nice to do other things.
MICHAEL JUNGSkip to content
Following individual and team eventing gold medals in London in 2012, Germany’s Michael Jung reveals what keeps him at the top of the equestrian world
To succeed in eventing, you have to be a real all-rounder, with skills in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. As I compete in all three equestrian disciplines – not only eventing, but also in dressage and jumping – I think that gives me an advantage. You also have to know how to train your horse and how much work it needs. Every horse is different.
You have to have a good general physical condition, as you have to be able to support your horse during a long course of more than 6,000 metres. You need physical strength to keep your body tension up until the very last jump and to keep control. You should also have a good feeling for balance.
You have to be able to concentrate completely on what you are doing. You must be focused on your next start and not allow too many other elements to influence you. As I ride many different horses every day, I do not tend to be nervous before I start. I have about 20 horses in training – not only eventers but also for Grand Prix jumping and dressage – so I have a lot of set routines.
Before I start in a cross-country ride, I make an exact plan depending on what suits my horse best. What are his strengths, what are his weak points? There may be a fence, for example, where everybody takes the less difficult alternative, but for my horse the straight route may be better. Or it may be the other way around. It is very important to stick to your plan and not to let other people’s opinions influence you too much.
I generally try to eat healthy food, drink a lot of water and control my weight, but nothing special. It’s basically just the things that are recommended for everybody who wants to keep fit.
We have a lot of equipment, more than most other athletes, as you have to take the equipment for your horse as well. I tend to carry even more than the usual specialised dressage or show jumping rider. That means for me: a couple of white riding trousers, one for every day, two pairs of boots for dressage and jumping/cross-country, tailcoat and top hat for dressage, sweatshirt and helmet for cross-country, jacket and a different helmet for jumping, plus spurs, whip and gloves. There is even more equipment for the horse: two different saddles, bridles, head collars, different bits, several rugs, bandages plus food. And you have to take some reserve tack as very often something gets broken.
I like to listen to music in the stable or when I am riding, but not really to motivate myself – more to have a nice sound in the background. My taste isn’t very sophisticated. I listen to the music on the radio, such as modern hits and rock songs.
I have no problem to unwind after a competition. I find it easy to relax. There is not much spare time to be honest, but I try to do some exercise, especially athletics.