Robbie Grabarz – Interview

This interview first appeared just after the London Olympics.  Rio coming very soon, thought a revisit might be in order!

Robbie Grabarz

The London 2012 Olympics saw Robbie rise to the challenge (sorry for the awful pun), after what had been a disappointing 2011. After having asked himself some very tough questions, moved to Birmingham to continue his training, what has emerged is the real talent that Robbie has harbored all this time, something his coach Fuzz Ahmed has known all along, commenting: “If I hadn’t found him backing and if he didn’t have a credit card, I would have funded him, because that’s how much I believed in him. I recognised he had matured into a person that wanted to be a world class high jumper, rather than somebody who was just a very good high jumper

It has been tremendous to watch Robbie excel in his chosen sport, flying the Union Jack, and with a grin that says it all. His story of determination is something you’d expect from Hollywood, and finally, Robbie is starting to reap the rewards of all that hard work.

2012 was a fantastic year, Olympic Bronze, 2.37 at Lausanne, Gold at Helsinki, short-listed for the male European Athlete of the Year. Have you had time to sit down and really reflect on your successes, or has it been non-stop work since you started training for London 2012? And has this made you more determined (if that’s possible)?

I am as motivated as ever and I am constantly learning. I had some time out in Australia and came back ready for focussed training.

UK Athletics now has a centralised facility at Loughborough University, how important do you think that move will become over the coming years for UK Athletics, and how is it important?

It will allow a more centralised focus on the sport and more unity within the sport also, it will enable faster communication and information sharing between, staff, coaches and athletes too.

You’ve mentioned before the important role played by Fuzz Ahmed, how hard is it to find a coach of that calibre? If you had to describe his coaching style, what would it be?

Fuzz is obviously a very important part of my training and helps keep me motivated and understands who I am as an individual, I like to be challenged in most aspects of my life and his coaching style challenges me and forces me to ask him and myself questions allowing me to fully understand high jumping.

What sort of training do you do for High Jump (core stability etc), and how important are rest days?

We do a huge variety of training covering all aspects of athletic training, trying to get the very most out of my body. My rest days are more vital then my training days, if I don’t recover well I will not be able to train hard the following day, making that day less valuable than it could have been.

How much fun was “Super Stars”, and how serious did you all take it? Who was the most competitive?

Superstars was a complete laugh and it was great to take part and felt like being back at school. I just took it as it came, definitely not serious at all, there was way too much endurance involved for my liking. I think Anthony Joshua took it most seriously/competitively, it paid off though, he won!

Has taking part in Question of Sport and Super Stars been a bit of a surreal experience?

It has been fun taking part in a few media projects, I have picked and chosen the events I wanted to do and enjoyed doing, it was great fun to be in a show I watched as kid.

You’ve said before you’re not a huge fan of watching sports, and that you often take to reading your kindle, just wondering what genres you prefer to read, and which books you’ve particularly enjoyed lately.

I read all sorts and usual have a few books on the go at the same time, at the moment I am reading ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins, ‘The Whisperer’ by Donato Carissi and ‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova.

I see you have a nice shiny Alfa Romeo, are you of the same opinion as Top Gear that “to be a bona fide petrolhead at some point you have to own, or have owned an Alfa Romeo”? If given the chance would you do Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car?

Yes absolutely – sign me up! I love my car it’s great fun to drive and looks great, it’s nice to drive a modern car that feels like it’s a car that likes to be driven.

If money were no object, and you could have any 3 cars, what would they be and why?

I don’t particularly have expensive taste when it comes to cars, I’d probably own a 1967 Porsche 911, a 1969 Buick LeSabre and a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air.


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