David Rudisha Climbing Toward Olympic Goal

David Rudisha, the 800m world-record holder and world champion, is hoping to add an Olympic gold medal to his already impressive resume this summer. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The 800m world-record holder and world champion will race in New York on June 9. 

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

World record holder and world champion David Rudisha hopes 2012 will be like a ladder, each race a rung above the last. In a conference call Tuesday morning, the 23-year-old Rudisha told reporters that training was going well and that his main focus is the top of the aforementioned ladder: the 800m Olympic final on August 9 in London.

“I know it’s a very tough year because it’s an Olympic year, but we are doing well. The important thing is the training, and so far the training is going on well, and my body is responding,” said Rudisha, who currently holds the 800m world record at 1:41.01. “This year is going to be very tough because every competitor is really working hard to see that they perform their best during the Olympics.”

Rudisha will be making his debut appearance in the United States at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9, the sixth stop of the Samsung Diamond League.

“Wow, I’m very excited to come to the U.S. for the first time,” said Rudisha, the excitement clearly audible in his voice. “I heard much about the city and the people, and I’ve been watching the races previously when the athletes compete over there.”

The native of Kenya explained in depth his training philosophy for the year, positioned as a mix between 2010, when he was solely training for the world record, and 2011, when his main focus was tactical training for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Referring to the ladder –where each performance is faster that the last– Rudisha said everything was going just as planned.

“I started in Australia [at the Qantas Melbourne Track Classic] with 1:44.33. Coming to Doha [for the Samsung Diamond League meeting], I did 1:43.10. So always I want in my program, if everything goes well, just to keep on improving,” he said. “I want to reduce that time, to go a little bit down. Maybe what I’ll be focusing in New York will be 1:42. That will be a good preparation as part of my training.”

After the adidas Grand Prix in New York, Rudisha does plan on competing at the Kenyan Athletics Championships, then the Olympic Games in London.

Rudisha isn’t fazed by the fact that no 800m world record holder has won Olympic gold since 1976, when Alberto Juantorena did so.

“It’s tough, it’s tough. I know it is a lot of pressure for me to win the Olympics,” he said, noting how not even Sebastian Coe was able to achieve gold while holding the world record in the event at the 1980 Games [although he did win the 1500m in Moscow]. “It’s an added pressure on me but I’m really working hard to see that I do something this year.”

Knowing the spotlight is on him, Rudisha is confident that he can perform up to expectations and rise to the top of the ladder at the right time, for the Olympic final.

“I think I’m ready and I am prepared for that. I know how to do championship running,” he said.

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