In this special podcast episode I talk to Kelly Sotherton just after receiving a retrospectively awarded Olympic medal for the 4x400m, ten years after the Beijing games.

Show notes
1:00 Introduction to Kelly Sotherton and the award of 4x400m medal from the Beijing Olympics alongside Marilyn Okoro, Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders
3:15 Background of how we developed 400m running performance from heptathlon training
5:25 Sadness and hope. Sadness that athletes and countries resorted to cheating. Hope that the authorities are punishing athletes retrospectively
6:13 Athletes taking the courage to speak out against cheating
6:37 The moment the women’s 4x400m team received their medals
7:29 Finally got the medal
8:00 Heptathlon medal still to come
8:20 Mixed emotions, when Kelly retired there was a sense of bitterness and being heartbroken but being reflective that she did everything to get her in the best shape possible
9:10 After Athens 2004 Olympics, her coach Charles van Comenee left the UK, Kelly pulls together a group of coaches
10:20 The running begins to plateau – where the two of us started to work together
11:30 The fact finding mission at a training camp in Portugal
12:00 The results start to come. Kelly medals at the Worlds Championships. Kelly calls out Lyudmila Blonska, someone who already cheated. The gamble of investing in a new approach to running
13:00 Focussed on speed to renew Kelly’s running ability and my transition to the coaching team
14:10 Background to Kelly calling out other athletes as dopers
15:23 How Kelly felt about competing against athletes. Blonska and Chernova effects Kelly performance
17:20 The headline is injustice, sympathy for missing out on the moment, loss of earnings – but competing against dopers did negatively affect her performance
18:39 Kelly’s hopes that we don’t see these retrospective medal awards
19:00 Sport won’t forget athletes like Kelly as victims of cheaters
19:45 Many athletes haven’t received their rightful medals, so Kelly feels fortunate to have the moment. Goldie Sayers still waiting
20:45 How Kelly and I came across the 400m while focussing on developing the 300m ability
22:00 Top Britain in 2008 indoor season and 8th in World – leading to a curiosity in her 400m ability
22:55 Not getting distracted by the 400m. A trial of whether Kelly’s ability could contribute to the 4x400m team, running 51s split
24:00 In shape for heptathlon – but capable of a great 400m performance. A pivotal 300m trial that impresses the 4x400m coaches
25:10 8th fastest GB 400m split of all time
26:15 A lesson in rounded training that can help overall performance
27:00 Reflecting on what could be but blighted by injury, trying different training methods to keep Kelly fit when injured
28:25 Kelly applies the lessons learned from her career to athletes now
29:35 Heptathlon medal still to come, how Kelly focuses on the individual medal having more meaning
30:43 Three time Olympic medallist
31:20 The consequences of being cheated
32:10 Kelly being active as a coach, team leader, establishing the athlete commission, “What are you doing about it?” Make it happen, make it better

Follow Kelly on Twitter and Instagram @kellysotherton


Posted in


Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

Leave a Comment