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The National (Scotland)

Laura Muir has sights set on three golds this summer

Laura Muir has sights set on three golds this summer

THREE gold medals. Three golds in the space of five weeks. 

This time last year, Laura Muir wouldn’t have dared to dream about doing the triple – World, Commonwealth and European gold – this summer. 

There’s nothing quite like an Olympic medal to elevate ambitions and change perspectives though and now, she’s happy to admit that goal is very much in her thoughts. 

Despite Muir having knocked on the door of major championship success for a number of years, it wasn’t until she actually produced the goods on the day that her mindset, and aspirations, changed. 

Her glorious 1500m silver medal in Tokyo last summer was celebrated by many but it is the shift it caused in Muir herself that is the most significant legacy of her Olympic success. 

This summer’s calendar, which sees the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships all take place, is unusually packed and many of Britain’s top athletes have elected to sit out one of the trio for fear of asking too much of themselves by targeting all three. 

Not Muir though. 

For someone who, despite her achievements, remains charmingly unassuming, her Olympic success has, she admits, allowed her to open herself up to the possibility of what would be a quite incredible achievement; winning gold at all three events. 

“Before last year, I perhaps wouldn’t have let myself think this but now, I’m like yeah, why not go for all three?,” the 29-year-old says. 

“It’s going to be incredibly tough, obviously – at the Worlds you’ve got everybody and at the Commonwealths, the endurance events are extremely strong but it’s in the right order for me in terms of trying to perform my best.” 

Muir’s Olympic silver was so celebrated, at least in part, because of how many times she had come close to major championship silverware but been left empty-handed. 

However, her performance in Tokyo last summer proved not only to herself but to everyone else that she did, in fact, have what it takes and the result of getting her hands on that medal has, she says, taken much of the pressure off her this season. 

“My Olympic silver has changed my mindset in that even though I always knew I could do it, it’s a very different thing knowing you can do something and actually doing it. So it was nice to prove to everyone that I was able to do what I’d been saying I could do,” says Muir, who is a Wellness Ambassador for JP Morgan Glasgow, promoting physical and mental wellness.  

“I feel like there’s still the internal pressure but the external pressure is, I feel, less now in the sense that I’m now an Olympic medallist. 

“I’m still aware of there being pressure but rather than see it as a negative, I see it as a good thing that people expect me to do well.  

“I don’t have anything more to prove so I can just go out there and try to pick up as many medals as I can because whatever happens, I’ll always have that Olympic silver. 

“Regardless of how things go from here, I’ll always be an Olympic medallist so I can go into races a bit more relaxed. I’m still very serious going into races and if anything, I’m that bit more confident on the start line.” 

Muir will begin her season on Saturday, at the Diamond League event in Birmingham where she will take on, amongst others, her fellow Scot and training partner, Jemma Reekie over 1500m. 

Her build-up has been less than ideal; a back injury derailed her winter plans significantly, leaving her unable to run for almost two months but she admits that since returning to full training, she has been pleasantly surprised about her fitness levels. 

“I’m actually very surprised at the shape I’m in,” she says.  

“This has been probably the most significant injury I’ve had in my career so far so I wasn’t sure how I was going to be coming back from it but I cross trained and since getting back into running, my fitness has been better than expected so I’m really happy with where I’m at.  

“Injuries are bittersweet because you’re not able to do what you want to do but also, it’s your body telling you you’re not as strong and resilient in that area as you could be and so it makes you stop, take a look at things and work on that and in the long term, you could be running faster as a result.” 

While Muir is not prioritising any one major event this summer, she admits the prospect of competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games is particularly significant. 

Of all the major championships, the Commonwealth Games has been the least fruitful for her, ultimately finishing in eleventh place after being tripped when in contention for a medal at Glasgow 2014. 

She was absent from the 2018 Games to complete her final veterinary exams and so eight years on from her last appearance for Team Scotland, she is in no doubt that she has a score to settle. 

“Unfinished business is exactly how I feel about he Commonwealth Games,” she says.  

“I was devastated in 2014 to miss out on a medal and then missing Gold Coast so I’m really looking forward to Birmingham and it’s almost on home soil so it’ll be really special to be able to compete for Scotland, so close to home.” 

Laura Muir is the first-ever Wellness Ambassador for JP Morgan Glasgow, promoting physical and mental wellness as well as highlighting STEM opportunities.