News & Updates

6 August 2021 • Uncategorised

Nick Willis out of Tokyo 2020 Olympic 1500m final contention

Nick Willis competes in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic 1500m semi-finals (Photo credit: Alisha Lovrich)

In his fifth Olympic 1500m semi-final at his fifth consecutive Olympics, Nick Willis has placed 9th crossing in 3:35.41, a new seasons best time but outside of contention for a place in the final.

After posting his best time in three years to make the semi-final, it was always going to be a hard battle for the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze and 2008 Beijing Olympic silver medallist.  

Nick ran his heat to perfection and no doubt a clear strategy was guiding his semi-final race. The slowest of the 13 runners this season, he settled near the back of the group as they moved together through the first laps, and was third from the back at the bell. Sitting 10th with 300m to go Nick began to make his move over the final 200m, but despite a vicious kick he was not able to gain enough places to make the final.

“It was a perfect situation for me to be able to have a chance at qualifying for one of those fastest time spots,” Nick told Sky following the race. “But I was two spots out of that so, head held high I’m really proud of myself.”

The 38-year-old, who originally hails from the Hutt Valley, said that any pre-race nerves were long gone: “I don’t get nervous anymore. The only thing I’m nervous for is the pain. Not for my result, I don’t care about my result, it’s more I’m worried I’m not going to reach the finish line.”

When asked if he’d thought about what next, Nick said that was still to be confirmed: “I honestly haven’t, that’s sort of the fun thing is I haven’t even contemplated what I’m going to do. I’ve committed to my training partners, I’m going to train through to the next Olympics and pace them every single day and help them, but from a racing standpoint no idea.”

“I just love running and at 38 to feel lean and mean and like it’s a real privilege. Running’s keeping me feeling amazing and I want to keep feeling like this as long as I can.”