McLeod: Gold medal was the priority in Rio
MONTE CARLO, Monaco:
Olympic champion Omar McLeod described his gold-medal run at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as technically his worst, but he underlined that with Olympic gold now fixed around his neck, his ambition has turned to breaking the 110 metres hurdles world record.
McLeod capped a dominant year in the event with a 13.05 seconds run in a soaked Olympic Games final in Rio de Janeiro but noted that in that race, his focus was simply to cross the line in front and win his and Jamaica's first Olympic gold medal in the event.
"Technically, the Rio final was my worst race of the season. I didn't get out; I was just preserving, holding back," McLeod said. "I wanted to be an Olympic champion first. I didn't want to overdo it. I had nothing to prove. I knew all I needed to do was stay in my comfort zone and hurdle, and once I got over the barriers, I would be a clear winner.
"When I was at the Olympics, I told myself that all I needed to do was hurdle, not to try anything spectacular, just hurdle and be an Olympic champion first, and then I have all my career to break the world record," added McLeod.
McLeod, earlier in the year also won gold in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships, which he said helped his confidence going into the rest of the year.
"It's definitely an ambition. It's every athlete's goal to be the best at what they do, to break a world record to go in the history books, and I am no different. I think I was in great shape to do it this year, but, in this sport, you have to set your priorities straight," said McLeod.
"I have the speed, but it tends to get the better of me at times, such as when I had the two falls before the Olympics, but it goes to show that I was in great shape and ready to run fast, but I had to make an adjustment.
"Being an Olympic champion - it's an amazing feeling. That's the pinnacle of all sport," McLeod continued. "Just to be an Olympian is a big deal, so to be an Olympic champion, it's even a bigger deal, and never in a million years did I think I would achieve that so early. I remember it like yesterday. It's an indescribable feeling. It's awesome to be honest."
McLeod, who is switching his technique to a seven-step approach, added that his win indoors came as a surprise and went some distance towards helping towards his Rio success.
"I was really impressed that I actually won. I didn't go there with that expectancy. I am not doubting myself, but there were experienced people there who also medalled already in the event, so I was just going there to have fun and it led to a gold medal, so I was really grateful," McLeod said.