Home Somerset county Katarina Johnson-Thompson thinks it’s time for a change

Katarina Johnson-Thompson thinks it’s time for a change


Katarina Johnson-Thompson admits she had to make some brave decisions to protect her long-term future.

The defending heptathlon champion has a different perspective after a tough build up to defending her World Championships title in Eugene.

Her 18-month injury nightmare is barely behind her and the 29-year-old arrives in Oregon amid difficult preparations, having parted ways with coach Petros Kyprianou in June just months after moving to Florida .

She only left former coach Bertrand Valcin last year after working with the Frenchman – who oversaw his 2019 world title – for five years.

Bertrand Valcin coached Johnson-Thompson to his world title. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Back in the UK, Johnson-Thompson is now under the tutelage of Aston Moore and insisted the shake-up was needed.

“I don’t want to dive into it too much with the ins and outs, but I feel like it just wasn’t working for me there,” she said, after recovering. from an Achilles break to compete in the Olympics last year, only to have his Games dream shattered by a calf injury in the 200m.

“Looking ahead to Paris (2024 Olympics), I wanted to make these decisions as soon as possible, so I made the decision to go home and move on without Petros, which is a shame.

“At the end of the day, I have to do what’s right for me and I believe that’s what it is.

“It ended amicably. That’s why I didn’t really want to get in there and make headlines unnecessarily. He and I ended up on good terms and it’s just something I felt I had to do to move forward.

“I’ve dealt with Aston in the past, he’s taken me to many different events in the Diamond Leagues in the past when my old manager couldn’t be there.

“At the end of the day, I had bigger problems to deal with than changing coaches like last year.”

Johnson-Thompson faces an uphill battle to retain her title after her third-lowest heptathlon score at the hypo-meeting in Gotzis in May.

She only scored 6,174 points, more than 800 shy of her personal best, even though it was her first full heptathlon since becoming world champion nearly three years ago.

Muller Birmingham Diamond League – Alexander Stadium
Johnson-Thompson won with a British record in Doha. (David Davies/PA)

In Doha she scored 6,981 – breaking Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British record – but two-time Olympic champion Nafi Thiam is looking to reclaim the title she won in 2017.

“Coming into Doha I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, I was constantly putting things in place in training and competing,” Johnson-Thompson said, ahead of the heptathlon which begins Sunday at Hayward Field.

“I was confident in my ability to go out there and win, but at the same time I was in the mindset of ‘what will be, will be’.

“Whatever score I got, I knew I was in good shape and was going to score well, but I didn’t really care what medal I got, I just wanted to make sure I got that. good score.

2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight - Khalifa International Stadium
Johnson-Thompson broke Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British record to win in Doha. (Martin Rickett/PA)

“At the moment it has changed in the fact that I have a new coach. Different points are prioritized right now, I feel like it’s definitely a different mindset, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get a good score.

“I had a different mindset in 2021 as I was just trying to come back from injury and I feel like I could have scored well. As athletes we adapt and we change according to the circumstances.

“Success is something that is individual to each person and success for me would be to get a good score this summer, to do both championships and to be proud of what I have achieved. I’m definitely in a different mindset.

“When you think back to my career every year and for every Olympic cycle, I’m a completely different athlete.”