Yohan Blake -August Face Cover

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He is the youngest 100 mtr world champion and Usain bolt calls him the “beast”… but while chatting with him, FACE’s Editor Neha Sachar Mittal found out some lesser known secrets like his first love is actually cricket, he doesn’t play favourites when it comes to picking sportsmen and that he lives life without any “average days”…. Read on for more.

1) Let’s begin where it all began… your first love in sports was cricket I believe…. Until  your school principal saw you and urged you to try sprinting? Is this true? Yes.  Can you share the whole incident with our readers and also what was going on in your head at  the time?

 “It all started when I was in school all confused and not sure what I wanted to become at the  time, but I knew my father loved cricket so I always tried to be around him to learn the game.  So, everyday I would go to school and try to be the best bowler and one day while I was  running to bowl, I was running in so fast that the principal had to stop me and call me to approach him. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know why the principal of the school would  be calling at me. Nevertheless, I stopped and I was surprised that he actually liked my running  form. Not for cricket but for running/track & field. So, from there ‘all hell broke loose.’ I started  to run at sports day that would showcase me more as a sprinter. He would also take me to  local track meets where I would run against other students in different parishes. Because I  wasn’t a top athlete, I didn’t win any races but that was a learning curve of what was in store  for the future. At the time, I didn’t know it was something I loved but I later developed a love for  it, even though it was hard, tiresome and very taxing on the body. My principal would always  tell me “ Yohan, this is going to be the way out for you.” Hearing that voice, made me go  stronger and developed a real love for track & field. Here I am today, not just the second fastest  man in the world, but in the universe. 

2) What is it like being the youngest 100m world champion? 

Being the youngest world champion in the 100m, it’s a dream that every sprinter dreams of. I  am flattered that I held that position. Just knowing that every time the world championship  is going on, my name will always be called as the youngest world champion. Kids around the  world look up to me as their hero and I am able to share tips on training of how I became the  youngest champion. Being in this position, helped me to be a force to reckon with being  amongst the gladiators in life. 

3) What according to you does it take to be the best at what you do? Any tips and tricks  that work for you? 

What makes the second fastest man in the universe…I would say when it’s time for me to train,  I would go to an old house and remember that I have to work myself out of that house that is  leaking with water, with the floor under my feet giving way. Putting myself in this situation  would help me to look at life differently with what I do and to work hard every day, very hard to  get out of that situation. That is what I would say would make the best at what I do. 

4) Mr.Usain Bolt gave you the nickname “Beast”… What kind of relationship do you share  with him? I am sure there is admiration but also a slight sense of competition? 

Throughout the decade that I have known Usain, we have pushed each other as training  partners, everyday everyday everyday and I exaggerate that “everyday” because in training we  would push each other to the brink of vomiting and one day after we ran 10 300m…we looked  at each other and he said “Yohan, you are a beast!”. Our hard work with each other was

unmatched when we go on the track. From that day on, with Usain Bolt giving me that name, I  decided to resurrect that name and bring it to life. 

5) What does an average day look like for you? How many hours do you train? What kind  of diet do you have to follow?

There is no average day for me. Being “a Beast” doesn’t have an average day. I believe in  always working hard and being the best sprinter in the world. Each day I train 2-3 hours and  maintain a very 85% strict diet. Simple proteins and carbs.  

Sitting down and watching videos , how can I be the best at what I do? Occasionally, one thing  can deter me from that and it would be cricket. So, when I look back at everything I have done,  there is never an average day for me, everyday is a working force for me. 

6) You suffered some injuries in the years 2012 and 2013… injuries are pretty normal in an  athlete’s life, and also largely out of your control. But does it still come as a setback in this  super competitive world? How do you deal with it mentally? 

My injuries started mainly in 2012 and 2014. In 2013, I got a grade 5 tear in my right hamstring  which caused me to be mentally stressed. However with a lot of rehab and hard work, I  decided that I was not finished. So, I pushed myself and got back fit again. Breaking a long  standing 4 by 200m record, running one of the fastest ever split on a 200m in the history of  track and field 19 seconds flat. I thought I was unstoppable by the end of 2013 going into  2014. But in 2014, I ruptured my hamstring, meaning the muscle came off the bone. In the  race, I had to drop myself and roll almost 4 times with flashes in my memory that everything is  all over. Everyone brought wheelchairs and beds to the track to escort me to the doctors. I  flew straight to Germany to see Dr. Muller and right away I needed surgery. Being that the  doctor thought everything was done for me and I was completely out of it, almost everyone had  given up on me by then but God never did. He kept on showing me memories of me running  fast and breaking records and reminded me that I was the second fastest man in the universe. I  had to keep pushing myself in physical therapy to get better. When I got back to the sport, my  body was physically good but mentally, I was not ok. So to answer your question, Yes…my  injuries do play a role in today’s world. By trusting God, my family and just believing in myself,  that’s how I overcame my injuries mentally. 

7) We believe you continue to follow cricket, even dabble in it occasionally. Who is your  favorite cricketer from the Indian cricket team and would you ever want to play for India if the  opportunity arises? 

 I dabble in cricket everyday. Right now, as I am answering your questions, I am watching the  West Indies versus New Zealand. Cricket is my first love, so any chance I get, I am watching cricket. I would travel with 5 laptops because of different time zones to watch cricket, so I can  also learn the history because I want to be a commentator as well. I wouldn’t say I have a  favorite cricketer, I don’t do favorites. I love player of the sport.

8) What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your life till date?

I am very proud of the person I have become. Being known around the world and also being able to touch lives of the lesser fortunate. To quote from one the person I look up to in this day  and time Micheal Jackson, he says we should “start with the man in the mirror and ask him to  change his ways” and when I get up everyday and look in the mirror, is see ‘that man’. So I am  proud of that man.

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