James Magnussen says horror London Olympics made him mentally tougher

Australian thanks his extended team after retaining his 100m freestyle world title. World 100m freestyle champion James Magnussen has said […]

Australian thanks his extended team after retaining his 100m freestyle world title.

World 100m freestyle champion James Magnussen has said that the lows he experienced after the London Olympics have made him appreciate the highs of victory after he retained his world title in Barcelona.

The Australian missed out on gold last year by a mere one hundredth of a second to America’s Nathan Adrian.

But he gained some measure of revenge when he pipped Adrian and James Feigen also of the US to take victory.

“I think when I won my first world title I was quite inexperienced. I came into the meet with no pressure,” said Magnussen.

“They say ignorance is bliss and that is so true. I’ve learned that over a few tough meets and this time around it was a really emotional day and race.”

Magnussen’s disappointing Olympics began when the much-fancied Aussie 4x100m relay squad missed out on a medal on the second night of competition.

And after missing out on gold in the individual 100m he was forced into publicly apologising for his behaviour after admitting to taking sleeping pills and making prank calls with teammates as a way of relaxing.

However, he believes that experience has made him a mentally stronger competitor, evidenced by his reaction to exactly the same relay result on Sunday where Australia missed out on the podium behind France, USA and Russia.

“I think I am a mentally tougher competitor. Last year the relay result rocked me a lot more than I allowed it to this year.

“I think my support team, friends and family have instilled a lot more belief in me and my character and I think there is a lot more trust in what I and the people around me do.”

Magnussen had also spoken earlier in the week of trying to keep his emotions out of his races in the Catalan capital and said he had even gone to the extremes of taking himself off all forms of social media to avoid any unnecessary distractions.

“I felt personally that social media was a distraction in London. Any little distraction was unnecessary so about four or five weeks ago when I came to Europe I switched off all my social media.

“I think that was a great decision to help prepare and I think if other people were to follow suit it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

“Social media brings in another element to the race that you don’t need. It brings in both positive and negative comments and those negative comments can weight on your mind going into the race.”

And the rejuvenated 22-year-old is even holding outside hopes of doubling up his gold medal from the 100m when the 50m freestyle gets underway on Friday.

“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it but I definitely want to be in the final.

“Once you are there anything can happen in the 50m as Florent Manaudou showed from lane seven in the Olympic final.

“It will be one of the most competitive races of the meet so the most important thing is to be put myself in with a chance by getting through the heat and the semi-final.”


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