BJ vs. TT: 1-on-1 with World Champs Bronze medallist Tristan T. Thomas

As we approach the two year anniversary of the stunning mens 4x400 bronze medal performance at Berlin World Championships in 2009, I talk to one of the medal winning athletes on his way back from a long injury-ridden period; Tristan Thomas. Quirky, passionate, insecure, but always armed with some banter to make your day more entertaining, the famous redhead talks about the past, the future, and why he leaves nothing behind.

BJ: Please state your name, age, your event and your favourite colour.
TT: Tristan Terrance Thomas. My age is 25 old years. My event is most likely the 400m hurdles and my favourite colour at the moment is green.
BJ: Tristan, you've been out of action for a couple of years now, man! But you are back on track, and looking good, so.... where have you been??!
TT: I have been in a void, its seems. Obviously, been injured: had surgery in August. I have had 40 000 different diagnosis for my achilles problems, and now just slowly slowly building up to the point where I can say I am an athlete again.
BJ: It's a long time away from something you obviously love so much... Have there been any tears?
TT: There haven't been tears as such, but as far as depth of emotion, there has been moments where I had to question things. But tears themselves, no. Over athletics, anyway.
BJ: And what answers have you got from those questions?
TT: The questions were "What do we do this for?", "What does it mean", and "How much does getting to the top of the mountain mean for you as a person?" They are the questions that you have to ask, and everyone has to ask as they get older, but being injured and having to tell yourself that you don't care for so long (otherwise you'd just go insane), you start to look at things differently. I'd like to think that I'll still be able to get as far as I want to go, but as with the coming of age, you've got other things in your life that mean a lot as well.
BJ: With 5 to 10 years left of your career, if you had to choose between 5-10 years performing at 90% of your potential, or 2 years at 100%, what would you prefer? 
TT: I would take the 100%. I have had many debates with people as to whether they would take the Olympic Gold or the World Record, and I am yet to find more than a couple of people that would agree that the World Record, and being the greatest, and getting to the top of the tree is better than beating the best people on the day. With that philosophy, if I can sit back in 20 years and know that I reached every little bit of potential that I could, regardless of where I finished or what teams I made, I used the talent that I had.
BJ: Alright, enough about the past. You are again on your way to superstardom, what next for Tristan Thomas? 
TT: I don't know. I would still like to say that I will have a good year this year, running some 400s. I would love for the training I am doing to correlate to a fast 400 and then making into the 4x400 team (for world champs), and to start getting you my, you know, persona out there a bit more. But realistically having had such a big injury and getting a little bit older, I would love to do amazing things, but weather it happens or not, I can only, sort of.... hope.
BJ: If you had a chance to run at any Diamond League in the world, what would it be and why?
TT: It would probably be Paris. Or, I don't know, for me now it's almost Monaco. I ran there in 2009 and I was in great shape and I went into the race thinking "this could be the day that I beat the best in the world." Training was gong really well, Angelo Taylor more than just knew who I was, but actually told me that I had had a pretty good training session the day before. I remember walking over to the startline, saying my goodbyes to Craig... Hilliard: coach, and thinking "what if I do this right? Anything could happen. I could run 48-low and, bang! Game over." And I stuffed it. Really bad. I still ran 49 twenty-something, but got last. I remember crossing the line and being devastated because I had blown the chance, so to be back in that stadium with a chance to rectify would mean more than just any other race.
BJ: So there is some unfinished business... 
Now for those young athletes out there who are envious of who you are and what you do, what would you say is so good about being a track and field athlete?
TT: I think what's best about it is that it allows you the time and the freedom to be creative enough to be able to do what you want to do without having the responsibilities of tedious 9 to 5 life. Everyone talks about going to Europe, everyone talks about wanting to see the world. Our job takes us to these places, and not only that, but how many people get to compete in front of 90 000 people like you and I did at Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where the crowd stands up as you walk to the start they cheer and get up and say "C'Mon Australia!" You may be about to get smashed, but you are someone. Athletics gives everyone in our sport an ability to be someone, which is a way to become more than just a dude in the crowd.

BJ: Alright mate, nice responses. Here is the real test though; BJ's 20 questions...

1. Are you ready?
TT: Yes.
2. What's better? Ice cream or chocolate? 
TT: Ice cream.
3. Favourite Band?
TT: Oasis.
4. Why is your hair so red? 
TT: Genetics. Although no-one else in my family has red hair.
5. Who will be our best performed athlete at the World Champs this year in Daegu?
TT: Sally Pearson. No, Steve.... No. Sally.
6. Which is your favourite Rocky film?
TT: Damn. Ummm... One.
7. Have you ever done a nude 400 meters?
TT: Negative. Ahhh... negative. 400? No.
8. What do you think you could run for a nude 400 meters?
TT: 400 meters. I don't know.
9. If you could describe yourself in 3 words only, what would they be?
TT: Tristan Terrance Thomas.
10. Who would you turn gay for?
TT: (Long pause) ... Mickey Mouse.
11. Who would you turn straight for?
TT: Minney.
12. When was the last time you washed behind your ears?
TT: The last time my Mum did it for me.
13. What is your best 10-pin bowling score?
TT: 201
14. Have you ever attempted a 'centurion'?
TT: No, but I look forward to the day I do.
15. What do you think  you would get to?
TT: Ahh.... Ummm... Ssssseventy??
16. What's your favourite item of clothing?
TT: My watch has probably got more compliments than I have. So I will go my watch.
17. At what age did you, or will you, become a man?
TT: (Long pause) Umm...  If I am remembered, hopefully a few years after my death.
18. Can Bolt run any faster?
TT: Definitely.
19. What is your favourite Sunday activity?
TT: Hmm.. Ask me again when circumstances change.
20. How many questions have I asked?
All together? Umm.. 18?


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