Team GB athlete Eilidh Doyle was presented with our latest piece of Home Support artwork, ‘Shine Through’ by Leighton McIntosh. We chatted to Eilidh about the artwork, her dreams for Tokyo and the importance of home support.
What do you think of the Purplebricks Home Support campaign?
This year the support from home is going to be massive. There are obviously going to be no overseas fans in Tokyo and having competed at a home Olympics myself, I know the British fans are just incredible. I think the Home Support campaign is a nice way for the fans to have a way of showing their support, and an outlet of getting behind us. From the athletes’ point of view, if you know there’s a whole campaign going on back home and people getting behind you, it’s nice and it really makes a difference.
What do you think of the Home Support artwork?
I wasn’t sure what to expect but being able to speak to Leighton – the artist behind this latest piece of artwork – was great. We spoke about what it represents, and there’s a whole deeper meaning behind it. It’s great to have that there and have that represented, and it’s such a special and unique way of doing it. It’s clear that it’s about the Olympics, but there’s so much more depth to it.
What are your goals for Tokyo?
I’m doing everything I can to be there, it’s just going to be something I must take day by day, week by week. At the moment, everything’s going in the right direction.
I broke my toe, but it’s my pinky toe so I can still do things on it. The big issue was tearing my calf before I did it, and my biggest issue just now is that because I’m trying to protect the broken toe I’m putting a lot of weight on my big toe, which is causing problems with my calf. It’s just trying to get this balancing act and managing that.
Plans have changed – I obviously wanted to target the hurdles – but that’s not going to be an option now because I’m just not going to have the time to get to where I need to be for that. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get the quality in to compete in the 400m relay. I’m determined to do everything in my power to make sure I’m putting myself in the best position possible to be selected.
Describe your Olympic experiences.
My two Olympics have been quite contrasting. In London there was this massive home support. That was my first Olympics, and it was quite overwhelming and quite intimidating. It didn’t matter who you were – whether you were Jessica Ennis-Hill or myself at my first Olympic Games – as soon as you came out on to the track with a GB tracksuit on the stadium just erupted and cheered for you.
An Olympics Games can be overwhelming anyway because even in the Olympic village you’ll see all sorts of athletes, people who are legends of their sports. You don’t necessarily see them being an athlete – I’m used to seeing Usain Bolt because I go to lots of different athletics events – but you get used to seeing all the Usain Bolt equivalents in all the sports.
Then with Rio, I was going there as a much more experienced athlete, knowing a lot more about performing on that big stage and being able to be part of the team that won the medal out there.
I learned so much from both Olympics but in different ways, and both were such fantastic experiences, but again in different ways – in London it was the home side of things, and in Rio it was about winning that medal. The nice thing about Rio was coming home to that support, being able to come home with a medal and show it to everybody. There was the time difference over there too, so knowing people were getting up at all hours to support and watch you was amazing.
In London I had all my family there – they all travelled down and stayed with my uncle, who lives in Reading, and all of them came to watch the sessions I was competing in. They were there which was fantastic, but none of them travelled out to Rio. I remember the night we won the medal, picking my bag up and looking at my phone, and seeing all the thousands of messages, and then going on social media afterwards and seeing all the messages. It was nice to see that support was there, but in a different way to London.
How can people show their support for Team GB when they’re out in Tokyo?
I think social media will be important. In Rio I was very aware of all the support that was going on back home, because they weren’t there physically. I think for the fans as well, to it will be good to have an outlet where they can share how they’re supporting the team.
If people are watching it and sharing all their pictures and reactions, they can enjoy it together. You’ve seen it with the football where there’s no spectators, so all the fans are online instead. I think that’ll be massive welcome to the Tokyo Olympics. All the overseas fans can’t be there, so it’ll be great for the athletes to see that everyone back home is cheering them on and supporting them.