World record holder David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya is the men’s 800m most favorite in the London Games. The 23-year-old World, Continental Cup champion and two-time African title holder is all aware of the immense expectations on his shoulders.
“Everyone is waiting for a good performance from me and I’m working so hard to make sure I deliver. The pressure will motivate me to achieve my goal of bringing another Olympics medal to the Rudisha home and this time, my hope is it will be gold,” said Rudisha.
At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, his father Daniel Rudisha went out on the track first as Kenya won the 4X400m relay silver, the first medal at the event for an African nation. It is the hunger to supersede his elder’s achievement 44 years later that is spurring the world record holder to achieve London glory.
“I have taken over from him and moved a step up to 800m. My father brought Kenya a silver medal and I believe this is the right year for me to go to London and compete well,” he said. “I grew up admiring his medal and dreamed that one day, I would have my own. At 15, I realized what it takes to be a champion. He (his father) helped me in training and encouraged me when he saw I had the talent to run. When I met my coach Brother Colm (O’Connell), the path to my career was opened.”
Rudisha has fully embraced modern communication gadgetry, listening to his favorite tunes from his iPhone as he does his warm-up before training or competition, reading and watching material related to his race on his iPad , Samsung Galaxy Tab or his MacBook laptop as well as regularly updating his social network Facebook and Twitter accounts.
But the world record holder is aiming at following the well established path of the men 800m running greats that bestrode the track before him to realize his London dream. Already, he has been ushered into the hallowed class of Cuba’s Alberto ‘Danger’ Juantorena, Lord Sebastian Coe and Wilson Kipketer, his predecessors as world record holder.
“I spend hours watching how they ran and to be in the same company as my idols is a great honor for me. I follow what they did to be great runners everyday and that is hard work in training, focus and determination,” he concedes.
Rudisha is however, not satisfied with just being at the same high table with the two-lap legends.
“Juantorena won the 800m gold medal at the Olympics and that is what I want to achieve as well. Although Lord Coe won an Olympic gold, it was in 1500m and Kipketer won silver when he had his chance,” he said.
“They are all my friends and when I have the chance, I listen to what they have to say to me since they are inspirational. Besides success on the track, they have moved on to be great ambassadors and for Lord Coe, he is the CEO of London Olympics so winning there would be special,” Rudisha asserts.
Since announcing his arrival to the global stage when he won the world junior 800m title in 2006, the man who broke the world record twice inside a week in 2010, first running 2:41.11 and then 2:41.01 in Berlin and Rieti, is all too aware of the threat from the competition.