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Inside the mind of MLF
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Mark Lewis-Francis on all the mind games of a sprinter

A sprint race is usually won and lost before anyone has got anywhere near their starting blocks.

Just ask Mark Lewis-Francis - Olympic gold medallist.

He and his 4x100m team-mates stunned the critics and American runners to become champs for GB.

It's all about mind games - so get inside the head of Mr Lewis-Francis.

I was just a kid when I studied the techniques of Linford Christie and Donovan Bailey to try and improve my running.

My whole life is now based around athletics - physios, massages, gym work - everything I do is athletics!

Sprinting is unbelievably competitive. It's like a battlefield out there on the track.

I've learned to realise that it's all about mental strength and getting rid of all negative thoughts.

Mark powers through a race
How's that head Mark?

We still all talk to each other and eat at the same table but it does feel like a war sometimes.

It's all about who you're beating, but that's what you're there to do.

You've got to tell yourself it doesn't matter if you're racing somebody who's beaten you before.

It's all in the head! I can psyche out a less experienced athlete just by looking at them - it's mind games.

I've seen Maurice Greene in the warm-up room trying to psyche everybody out.

He psyched me out once and I wasn't ready to run. I'll never let him do that again.

Mark Lewis-Francis has the edge on his rival Maurics Greene in the 4x100m final
Take that Mo!

Runners psyche you out by jumping up and down in your face and staring at you.

There are always nerves, you might be shaking and thinking this is the biggest race of your life.

You'll be thinking about all the people watching and that you're racing the world champ and world record holder.

And then someone like Maurice jumps up and down and he's looking at you like you're nothing.

But all this inspires me.

All I can do is go out there and show everybody who Mark Lewis-Francis is.

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MLF facts
Born: 04 Sept 1982
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
100m PB: 10.04secs
English Schools Junior 100m champ aged 15
Winner of the World Youth and World Junior championships
Olympic gold medal 4x100m relay, Athens 2004

Open Quote
It's the most nerve-wracking sport in the world but you never get bored
Close Quote
Mark Lewis-Francis reveals all to the Academy
Mark Lewis-Francis
Sprint star

:: World Junior champion

:: Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club

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