With all those people watching you, especially in Rio, what are the nerves like beforehand?
I think I feel the most nerves when I’m in the call room. When you’re waiting, that 20 to 25 minutes before you get into the stadium, that’s where the nerves come out a little bit. It’s not bad nerves, I feel like it’s good nerves because everyone gets nervous. Even the greatest get nervous sometimes. It’s all about controlling those nerves and saying, “I’ve been here before, it’s just another race.” I kind of just switch on as soon as they call us and we get into that stadium. I just stop thinking about all the other things and I just focus on what I need to do. That’s what helps me in my races. Before I got to this level, I’d get too nervous to compete. As time went on I got to that level where I can just do it.
In those 20 minutes waiting in the call room, is there anything you do to distract yourself?
That’s a tough question because I probably do have a routine but I don’t even remember it. It’s something you don’t want to remember; you just feel it. It’s a feeling moment. I don’t even think about it until after the race is over.
How much time do you put in at the gym?
I actually just started getting into the gym this year. After the Olympics, we saw some flaws where I could have done better and needed to develop more strength. So now I’m in the gym four times a week – two days I’m working on upper-body and two days I’m working on lower-body. I have another day where I work on core stuff, too. So now I’m actually going to weigh more than the previous Games. I’m finding it really tough to do that because I’m so weak, but I’m getting the hang of it and I’m enjoying the process.
It’s a long season. When you find yourself getting tired, what do you use as motivation to keep pushing?
The people around me motivate me a lot. I try to motivate myself too. I listen to music a lot. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and R&B. Usually when I’m in my zone I know what I need to do. Of course a lot of things are going to motivate you in life. You want to get this or that, so you’ve got to go out there and do it, especially if you want to be the best. When you want to be the best, when you want to be great, it’s not really hard to motivate yourself.