Thursday, March 31, 2011

'It can't ever be about proving people wrong or sticking two fingers up'

Paula Radcliffe reached for the DVD handset and pushed the play button.

Onto her screen came a recording of the Olympic Marathon in Athens from the summer of 2004. Her darkest hour.

"You learn bigger lessons and you become a stronger person from negatives," explained Britain's long-distance running queen.

She had not wanted to remind herself of what happened the day she started the race as favourite and failed to finish, ending up with head in hands, a picture of despair.

But Radcliffe needed answers because, as she put it: "A lot of people said I quit, that I just gave up."

She knew she had not, that she is no choker. But the criticism got to her so she went through it all again.