Interview with Christian Malcolm: Drawing inspiration from family and friends for Olympic success
Having recently made the GB Olympic team for 200m, Christian Malcolm is under no illusion that the 2012 London Olympics is his final chance to win the most prestigious medal in the biggest sporting event. Prior to 2012, he has been in two 200m Olympic finals, one in 2010 alongside Usain Bolt where he came fifth in what was considered the fastest race in the Olympic final. Despite his impressive resume of personal achievements, he by no means considers himself to be the only person behind his own success.
“Every elite sportsperson usually has a team of 5 people that includes family and friends,” says Malcolm humbly, a notion reciprocated by the Links of London campaign which he is currently supporting as part of London Olympics. As per the campaign, people are invited to show their appreciation to their “Circle of Five” who have supported them by giving them a Team GB band symbolising unity and celebration. According to Dr Rob Yeung, a psychologist and researcher on success, those five include: someone who inspires you, someone who supports you, someone who mentors you, someone you can escape with and someone you can confide in.
Malcolm himself lists his circle of five without a moment’s hesitation and his mother unsurprisingly is the first one on his list. “My mum is the ultimate,” he declares and for valid reasons. As a child he did not have the luxury of a car instead his mother walked him to the training ground, an hour away from home, and back making sure he did not miss any sessions. He fondly remembers the past acknowledging his hatred for those long walks and his mother’s determination to continue his sports activities. “We used to walk to athletics. It took us an hour, but she knew when we got there I would enjoy it. I hated the walk but she was right about the training. So, we used to do that. My mum is my backbone when I was growing up. To be honest without my mum I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
His mother’s devotion towards her son’s goal had finally paid off when in 1998 at only 14 years, Christian won the title “World Junior Athlete of the Year” and took a gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Malcolm, however, regards his surprise silver medal victory at the commonwealth games as one of his proudest moments where his mother was fully sponsored to be present in the stadium to witness him make history. “I won a medal I wasn’t expected to. So when I did my lap of honour, I saw my mum in tears and that was a special moment.”
Apart from his mother, he acknowledges his elder sister, cousin, partner and his young daughter as the remaining member of his circle of five. He has always credited his success to his family and he now has the Team GB band to show his appreciation to the members that have always been there for him; an opportunity he has not to let slip. He says: “I got team GB bands to give them, to say thank you for being there, you’re part of my team, and you’re my support.”
Malcolm is in London having just got back from Birmingham the night before following his trial for the spot in the Olympics. Pondering on the chances of Britain success, he remains hopeful. “I think the GB Olympic team is going to do exceptionally this year. I have been in the last three Olympics and what I’ve noticed is that every home team has performed well. To have that team spirit, that home support from family and friends is an important asset and it will work in our favour. I think we will bring in more medals than expected.”
Christian is supporting Links of London’s “Circle of 5” campaign by giving his five key support team a team GB band. To gift your “Circle of 5” go to Linksoflondon.com