Michael Tinsley has been around the sport for quite some time. The world and Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist shares his words of wisdom with SPIKES.

1. Tackle mental weakness

“I would go into some races and not take them seriously. I showed mental weakness. I would go into a race and copy other athletes’ races, which would then mess up my rhythm for the next race.

“I would run erratically, but since 2012 I have become more disciplined. Since 2012 I started digging in more mentally and reading psychology books.”

Michael Tinsley London ()

At London 2012 Tinsley had to settle for silver behind evergreen Domincan Félix Sánchez

2. Don’t take talent for granted

“At college I relied a lot on natural talent and when I turned pro I continued with that attitude. In 2008 I failed to make it past the first round of the US Olympic Trials. It was the first time I had never made the finals of a meet.

“It was a real wake-up call and the moment I thought the sport is bigger than Michael Tinsley. To be a world or Olympic champion, I have to train hard and study my craft.”

Michael Tinsley Moscow ()

"The sport is bigger than Michael Tinsley"

3. Party less

“Travelling overseas and spending a lot of time hanging out, I spent too much time after meets during the season partying.

“After winning Olympic silver in 2012, I cut a lot of that out. I became much more disciplined because I didn’t want to do anything which would potentially make my career go backwards.”