With the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, we are paying homage to our Olympians past and present, as they reflect on the incredible experiences they have gained from competing at the Olympic Games.
Today, Liverpool’s David Price looks back on his success at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he won a bronze medal in the super-heavyweight division.
Can you describe what your Olympic Journey was like, and how did you feel after you were picked?
Price: “I tried to qualify for the Athens Olympics in 2004 and just fell short and lost in the qualifying bout, so that was a big disappointment for me and I always wanted to put that right.
“It was four years to Beijing, and it may seem like a long time, but a lot of different things were happening in between and I was developing as a boxer and coming towards my peak as the Olympics came.
“We had to go through qualifying tournaments in Europe where you had to get to the final to qualify. There were only three tournaments, and the first two tournaments I missed out on through injury and then a bad decision where I was unlucky not to get the nod.
“The last tournament was in Athens and it was my last chance to qualify, so it was all or nothing. I came through and won the silver medal at the tournament. I pulled out of the final as I’d already qualified and had a bad mouth injury from the previous fight, but that was an unbelievable experience and feeling to qualify. It was a lifelong dream, and to become an Olympian was amazing.”
What were the preparations you made before the competition?
Price: “The preparation before the competition was really intense. We spent a lot of time in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport, and then a few weeks before the games arrived, we flew out to Macau to go to the holding camp to acclimatise and get used to the time difference.
“We spent two weeks there, but before that there were many weeks and weekends in camp in various places. We had an Olympic training camp in France where other countries also attended, and it was really serious stuff.
“For most of us, we were coming to the culmination of the peak of our amateur careers, so we were all taking it really seriously and having proper preparation.”
What were some of your memorable experiences at the Olympic Village?
Price: “My memorable experience was the general energy at the village and the buzz of the entire size of the event. You could feel it in the air. You were seeing different superstars of sport walking around the village, like Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and Kobe Byrant to name a few.
“They are absolute superstars of sport, and you were rubbing shoulders with them around the village, so it was quite a sight and was a great feel. Everybody was just buzzing to be there as it’s the greatest show on earth. We were there for business though, that’s the main reason.”
What advice can you give to the Olympians traveling to Tokyo this week?
Price: “The advice I’d give to the ones going to Tokyo is to seize the moment. You’ll likely only go to one Olympics as a boxer, as it’s likely you’ll turn professional after it, so just seize the moment and grab it with both hands.
“Embrace it and take it all in. We’re all guilty of it when we’re in these events to not really realise how big a deal it is. It’s only when I look back now I realise how massive the Olympics are.
“You knew at the time it was big, but it’s when you see the build up now as an outsider, you realise just how special it was, so just embrace it and enjoy it.”
Anything you learned and gained from the Olympics?
Price: “What I gained from it was seeing that we are just all one. The village was full of athletes from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds, but we all had the same goal and dream.
“You’re living that dream by even being there, so it just makes you realise that we are all equal. One of the key values is seeing that the Olympic spirit is just a fantastic way of life.
“You’re competing and taking part, and just everything about the Olympic Games screams greatness, that’s why it’s one of my proudest things to have been a part of.”
Keep checking MTK Global throughout the week, as more Olympians past and present share their memories from their Olympic journeys.
(Kristian von Sponneck)
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