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British Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton talks to Womensportreport.com about life and Beijing 08


What was your child hood dream?
I wanted to be an Air traffic controller (I don’t know why) and be married at 24 and have children straight away…..obviously didn’t work out that way!!

Do you want to tell us more about what got you into Heptathlon? I did heptathlon because I found that I was good at everything. I could run and jump so it was a natural progression to do all the events that I enjoyed doing it.


You used to work as a Debt Collector before you got your first bronze medal in Athens. How did you manage to go from working a full time job to becoming a full time athlete? I had to fit the training around work so every night I trained, and at the weekend. It did become difficult to get time off for go away for training and comps. I think they could have been a bit more supportive of me.


What made you persevere in your training while still working and not giving up the spirit? I have the will/drive to be the best I can be, and I know that if I could have a chance to compete that I would succeed. Of course I got that chance and the rest is history.

How do you feel about London being the Olympic Host City in 2012 and how are you preparing for your participation? London 2012 is too far away to think about. We have Beijing first. Once that’s gone I will then focus on London. I think it will be very strange to do the Olympics here, I just hope the weather is good.



What hopes do you have for Beijing? To win!!

photo Andrew Beckett


Nike recently ran a survey across Europe regarding how women feel about sport in general. One of the questions that stood out was what women did to feel more confident about themselves. I have to admit that I was quite shocked at the UK response. How do you feel women could improve their self esteem without having to resort to clothes and make up? Exercise should be considered a part of daily life and something that makes you feel good which is does as science has proven. If women knew all the benefits that sport can have on your well being and realise that is isn’t just about weight loss etc then maybe they participate more. It’s simple really – sport makes you look good physically, makes you feel great mentally and helps you to have a better self image.


Womensportreport.com is currently trying to work with schools on the issues regarding loss of interest in sport once (especially) female teenagers hit 14 and 15. How would you try and encourage them to stay active and remain focused on achieving their goals in life?
I think we loose girls because they don’t perceive sport to be fun. If these girls enjoyed their school sport more we would have greater participation.

Girls now just want to be skinny wags, that’s no real ambition and it’s not going to help them in life like sport can. Just look at Nike’s survey results which show that women who regularly participate in sport have more confidence, a better self image, are more likely to achieve their goals – this is something that girls should be told from an early age

I think it’s also important for girls to get involved with sport at a very young age so that it feels like a part of everyday life not just a chore to keep fit. There are lots of places that girls can go to find out more about what is available to them outside of school or collage, Nike have just launched a site that you where you can go and find out what is going on in your area - www.nikehereiam.com

Do you feel that there is a chance for female athletes to be recognized as much as their male counterparts in the future through the work of organizations such as womensportreport.com, nikehereiam.com etc.?

It will only come when the media focus on the success of female sports stars and recognise that we are actually just as successful and great as the guys. Organisations like Nike are really helping with this by working to raise the profile of female athletes within the media. Athletes are great role models for young women because they have to work hard to acquire skills; things aren’t handed to them on a plate. Athletes are also examples of strength – rather than weakness. For example - our girl’s footie team is better that the boy’s but they hardly get coverage on mainstream TV or the print press. Maybe more female journos and broadcasters is the answer!!


What are your plans for the future regarding your career?
This will depend on what further medals I win. I do want to have a family when I finish so that will be first on the list. I would like to give back to my sport in some way whether it’s coaching or advising. Id like to think that I could be successful in whatever I choose, because I am a hard worker.



What are your plans for family and settling down (if you want to share J)?
Well I have to find a man first, but I’d love to have a family, possibly a big one. I like animals so I would love to have a house in the country with ducks/hens/goats etc (I already have cats) but not necessarily here in this country. I would like to keep all options open.

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