- Title: UK: ATHLETICS: Olympic athletes attend sports fashion event in London
- Date: 17th February 2008
- Summary: AUDIENCE APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 3rd March 2008 12:00
- Topics: Fashion,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA79DV75VN0JW66A05TTK1JFOGU
- Story Text: Former British Olympic 100 metres champion Linford Christie said on Friday (February 15) that British athletes competing in this year's Olympic Games in Beijing should stay focused on their game in order to being home medals.
"Having won the gold before, the only advice I can give to our athletes is to just go out there and do your best. Can't ask for more than that. Just don't put pressure on yourself, don't get involved in anything that isn't ... that's going to take your focus away from what you're supposed to be doing," said Christie at a news event organised by the sportswear company Puma.
Christie, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999 when he was semi-retired, was reluctant to say whether he would be able to attend the Olympic games which are being held in Beijing in August.
"Well I'm hoping that I will be. I've got a guy, Christian Malcolm, who I'm coaching, and I'm coaching lots of other youngsters as well so fingers crossed when the trials come around, you never know what they may do. They may surprise everybody and make the team and if they do make the team then obviously I'll go as a personal coach," said Christie, who has always denied taking performance enhancing drugs.
British athletes will do well in Beijing, Christie said, although this year's Games in August will mostly be an important experience for young, up-and-coming athletes to prepare for the London Olympics in 2012.
Christie, now a full-time trainer, said athletes should not be drawn into discussing or acting on political issues like China's record on human rights or Beijing's pollution.
Jamaica's Usian Bolt, who also attended the Puma news event, said he was going for gold at the Beijing Olympics.
"Well I'm really looking forward to it because I got a silver medal at the world champs last year and I really want to get the gold. So I am really working for it and working hard and really looking forward to going to Beijing," said Bolt, who won a silver medal in the 200 metres at the world championships in Osaka.
When asked if he had been learning any Mandarin Chinese ahead of the Olympics, Bolt said: "No, actually the only thing I know how to do is I know how to use chopsticks from being in Japan last year."
"I'll definitely try and learn a few word before I leave," he added.
Later Christie, Bolt and Norwegian Athlete Kristine Eikrem Engeset attended a catwalk show as part of London Fashion Week where a new Puma collection inspired by the Beijing games was unveiled to the public.
Speaking after the show, Christie said: "I thought it [the catwalk show] was pretty good. Some of the stuff was quite impressive, some, you know, a bit dodgy, but, you know, yeah. Overall, you can see that effort went into and it was great."
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