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In the starting blocks with Usain Bolt! Rio hopeful Keith Ricks reveals what it’s like to race his idol!
What are your medium and long-term sporting goals?
I would say my medium-term goals would be to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing later this year. Being a sprinter, the event is always deep in talent. I have been training hard and steadily improving over the past couple of years so I’m definitely looking forward to this summer. Past that, my main focus is qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
How do you balance your work-life, training and competitions?
I had to balance training, competitions and life as a full-time student in a Master’s in Sport Management. It was important for me to prioritise and manage my time efficiently, and it helped that I was able to conduct elements of the Master’s programme online. Later, I also found a bit of flexibility working with Adecco, which I was placed in through the IOC Athlete Career Programme.
Have you thought about life after sport and what you would like to do?
Definitely! Even though I am young in my athletic career, I know there will come a time when I am no longer an athlete. I would still like to work in sport since that is my passion. I have been fortunate enough to gain some work experience in sport while being a full-time athlete, which has been a huge benefit. At the end of the day, I’ll be sad to leave the athlete role, but very excited to take on the sports administration role.
You race the likes of Usain Bolt on a regular basis. What's it like competing with the fastest runner on Earth?
It’s very exciting! Every time I line up against the world’s best, my competition level goes up. It definitely pushes me to the next level since I already know what they are capable of and I am trying to put out the best performance possible. The fans really get into the race when they see the best athletes in the world running. That pumps me up too! I love the atmosphere the fans bring whenever there is a big race!
We have heard of the large amounts of calories Olympians consume in their preparation period. How many calories does a 100m runner consume daily?
Pre-season, I am usually eating more since I have longer training sessions with longer runs in the grass. That kind of training takes more calories than short sprint training that I get into later in-season. I aim for 3,000-3,500 calories a day. Off-season when there is no training, I eat like a pig! No restrictions in my diet; I eat everything that I see.
Favourite food? Spaghetti and sweet potatoes!
Do you have superstitious rituals you do before racing? Listen to music to get in the zone.
Top tracks on your playlist? Pharrell and Drake.
Any creative or unusual talents? I used to play many instruments including the drums, guitar, piano, cello and violin. I am best at the drums and guitar.
Spending time with my family and friends makes me happy. Being an athlete, I spend most of the year travelling and very little time at home. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family during the off-season since I never get many chances during the year.