It’s possible that he consumed six eggs at daybreak and he arrives in ordinary clothes like every morning to take a look at the stadium smelling the atmosphere and getting acquainted with the environment.
Gunnar which part of the States do you come from?
I’m from Oklahoma! Farms and fields. It’s as flat as flat can be. Worst place for tornado’s.
You’ve seen them?
Once I saw 15 – 20 tornado’s, not the big ones – in a surrounding area.
Oklahoma is a native name?
It is. The government tried at the time to move all the native tribes to Oklahoma. It’s the place where Jim Thorpe comes from!
Maybe you have native blood in you, a second Jim Thorpe?
My father was adopted, I think it’s really possible you know!
When did you start with athletics?
I was fifteen and I liked it very much. I liked the long jump and the hurdles. The high jump wasn’t my thing although, look at my results, today It’s one of my favorites. I have a pb of 2.17 which I jumped twice!
You trained with another young and good performer Kevin Lazas?
In 2012 I trained with Kevin but now I’m coaching myself.
And you will continue to train yourself?
I had the feeling before that they over-trained me, and when I started on my own I improved this winter for example from 7.09 to 6.86 for the 60 meters and from 8.09 to 7.93 for the 60 hurdles and as you know I made an absolute age record in the heptathlon. We’ll see, I’m invited to go to an Olympic training center in Chula Vista in California. Probably more eyes watching me can help me to correct things in training.
What is your biggest challenge from the ten events?
Maybe the pole vault. I have to be careful not to learn a wrong pattern in this event. I’m waiting for a good coach. I’m lucky – till now I haven’t been injured.
Do you have time to relax as a young man?
I have my hobby’s, I like fishing (like Daley Thompson), I play basketball with friends. At the time I played baseball and (American) football.
What is your goal in decathlon?
At least doing 8200 this year and progress in all events, especially the 100, the hurdles and the long jump. If I have to call it a challenge I would say do 8400 this year.
You aim high?
Yes, let’s say 9000 must be possible one day!
Chris Vlamynck for Decathlon 2000