Interview: Record-breaking gold medallist Nick Miller

By , Editor | 9mo
Team England's record-breaking gold medallist Nick Miller speaks to Sports Mole about 'the best performance of his life' at the Commonwealth Games.

When Team England's hammer throw hope Nick Miller produced a modest effort of 63.60m on his first attempt, before fouling his second, he would have been forgiven for thinking that it might not be his day.

However, the opening day of athletics action at the 2018 Commonwealth Games would soon see history made as Miller produced a mammoth throw of 80.26m on his fourth attempt - not only a Commonwealth Games record but also the first time the 80-metre mark had been broken in the competition.

It was the highlight of a dominant display from the Glasgow silver medallist, whose fifth throw would have also broken the previous Commonwealth record - which had stood for 12 years - and third throw would still have been enough to claim gold.

Not only was it a gold medal won in style, but it was also Team England's first of the athletics programme at the Commonwealth Games, and after his triumph Miller spoke to Sports Mole about a performance he deems the greatest of his career.

Congratulations Nick - how does it feel to be a Commonwealth Games gold medallist?

"It is an incredible sense of achievement for me. I cannot ask for any more."

Talk us through that performance yesterday because the first two throws didn't exactly go to plan...

"The first two throws I'll probably just forget about - they didn't happen as far as I'm concerned!

"The third throw, a little bit of pressure from everyone and you're either going to make it or you're not going to make it, so nice easy throw. That ended up being enough to win, that throw, then obviously fourth throw, British record, Games record. I had the best throw of my life."

Was it hard to refocus after those first two throws?

"Not too much. The likelihood is you're going to throw a good throw over a bad throw. We all do so many throws, thousands and thousands of throws a year, so you just go in and you do your routine, try and do the same thing, you don't think about the negative.

"You always think it's going to go well and hope for the best. I was lucky enough that I put a run together and made it through to the final."

It's interesting what you said about the third throw being a nice, easy throw. Was the main thing about that one just getting a good one on the board?

"Yeah, exactly. As it went I thought maybe 72, 73, then when I saw 76 I was like 'Oh man! This is the easiest 76 I've ever done in my life!'

"Of course it's getting one on the board, but it ended up being a lot better than the effort I put in, so it was a bit of a relief. I thought 76 was already going to guarantee me gold, I was pretty sure, so that's why I then started to have fun."

Coming into the competition did you think you could break the 80m mark, or was it after that third throw you thought this could be the day for it?

"I thought there was a chance. I didn't want to say it out on the news and social media and kind of jinx myself, but my training has been good. I threw 78, a new British record, a week ago and I thought there was a good chance.

"Throwing 80m in a big championship, that's a lot more difficult than throwing 80m in training or some local club match, so to do it there was something I'm very proud of."

Is achieving that landmark at a major championship a specific target you have been aiming for for a while?

"2016 I got injured after an incredible 2015. To come back, last year I got sixth at the World Championships, and now at the first major competition in 2018 to throw 80m, it's kind of ... it's a statement to my other competitors, the best guys in the world, that I'm here and it's going to be a fine year I think."

That throw would have won gold in Rio and at the World Championships last year, so that's got to give you huge confidence for the future...

"Yeah, absolutely. 80m in a championship - other than winning, it's such an accomplishment I believe. Just unbelievable."

Will that go down as your best-ever performance?

"Absolutely. Everybody had written me off after my two bad throws. I don't know why, I wasn't too stressed about it. I've done this before, I'll be alright.

"To come back from what everybody thought was going to be a terrible day and then break the record twice is definitely the best competition I've ever had in my life."

There is a great sporting rivalry between England and Australia - did beating an Australian in his own backyard make the win even more special?

"I guess. I don't really think too much about beating him or beating them, the best guy's gonna win. I think if you think like that it's a little bit personal and I don't really follow that train of thought too much.

"I think I got here maybe five days ago, so I've been up all hours of the morning and not sleeping so good, so to do that under those conditions is something I don't think a lot of people could do."

Your silver medal from Glasgow was your first at a major championship so I'm sure it holds a special place in your heart, but this one is obviously a gold so how does it compare?

"I suppose gold is gold right and nothing comes close!"

It was also England's first athletics gold of the Games - did you know that coming in and did it make you more determined to succeed?

"I didn't have any idea - before my competition I just try to stay out of it, don't get too excited or worry about things, but once I heard it's something I was very proud of.

"I hope people will be able to take some of the energy I've brought and try to carry it over to their events and do well also."

What are your plans for the future now?

"Right now, go back to training and then in August we have the European Championships in Berlin, and then I'll look to do hopefully as good as I did here, but we'll see."

Tokyo must be firmly on your radar after this performance...

"It's two years away, so I don't want to think about it too much yet, but I hope the next two years go well."

In the more immediate future - you've done your job now, so what are your plans for the rest of the Games?

"I have a few days here to support the team and do anything I can to help anybody who needs anything, even when I'm not here I'll be cheering them on."

What is the mood like in the Team England camp at the moment?

"Everybody's very positive, everybody's full of life. I think this is the most fun competition and from what I've seen, a lot of people are thinking that also."

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