The one lesson I‘ve learned from life: Colin Jackson on patience being the secret of success

The one lesson I‘ve learned from life: Colin Jackson on patience being the secret of success

Former Olympic athlete Colin Jackson says patience is the secret of success

Colin Jackson CBE, 53, is an Olympic medal-winning sprint and hurdling athlete. Since retiring in 2003, he has worked as a sports commentator and TV presenter. Single, he lives in Cardiff.

PATIENCE IS THE SECRET OF SUCCESS

In 1989, I was battling with the Olympic champion Roger Kingdom to be world number one. At the Grand Prix race in Nice, I got out of the blocks and cleared the ten barriers. I came off the final hurdle, took two strides of only four to get to the finish but, because I was rushing, I ended up stumbling. From being a metre in front, I finished second by half a metre. I was devastated. I realised that rushing to the finish line had just taken me to defeat.

By 1994 my coach said that I was capable of breaking the world indoor 60-metre record. My personal best was 7.41, the European record. I went to the first competition sprinting well, but found myself rushing again and ended up smashing a couple of hurdles. I frustrated my coach — and myself.

In the second competition I ran 7.38, a new European record. I knew at this stage I could break the world record, then 7.36, but I kept being a hundredth of a second off, time after time.

Eventually, at one competition, Merlene Ottey, the Jamaican sprinter, who became the fastest woman to run 60 metres, said: ‘If you are going to get any headlines tomorrow, you‘re going to have to do something really special.‘ I thought: ‘Merlene‘s right. She‘s got the headlines, there‘s nothing I can do. I am a hundredth off the record and that‘s it.‘

I relaxed and amazingly, I went on to absolutely nail the race. I dashed across the finishing line and saw the clock. It said 7.29 — a new world record! Because the pressure was off, I hadn‘t rushed and I hit the headlines.

Since then I have had far more patience over things that I have no control over. In 2006, the News of the World broke a story about me which led to me coming out to my parents and friends. It wasn‘t a problem — they will always love me.

I am free and single now and I am enjoying that fact. Am I waiting patiently for the perfect man? Ha! He doesn‘t exist!

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