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Katarina Johnson-Thompson: ‘I want to prove to myself that last year was not me’

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“S tories need to be told, and athletes need to be honest,” says Katarina Johnson-Thompson, as she ruminates on her struggles and those of track and field. “It’s not a fake sport, yet you hear a lot of fake one-liners which are designed not to cause any controversy.

But I feel we should be honest with our injuries, our ups and downs, and the fact we’re not always flying high.” The former heptathlon world champion is always blisteringly frank, even though she acknowledges that opening up can mean there is a “vulnerability about you, and that aura might not be there”.

And on a glorious spring morning in Götzis, where she will begin her heptathlon season at the prestigious HypoMeeting on Saturday, she wants to open up again.

We are talking about whether her brilliant career, which has led to seven major titles on her CV and also saw her beat Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British heptathlon record when winning world championship gold in 2019, might be on the slide.

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