• Kelly Sotherton's Olympic column

'I'm not ready to be a full-time pundit just yet'

Kelly Sotherton March 16, 2012
Get to know ESPN columnist Kelly Sotherton

I've just got back from the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Turkey, but it was a new experience for me - I was a pundit rather than a competitor. It was a massive learning curve, a great experience overall, but having to watch the guys from the studio has only made me more determined to book my place at London 2012 - I have no intention of being a spectator for the Olympics.

I would have loved to have been able to do the indoor season but it just came too soon and it was too much of a risk with London 2012 my one and only priority this season. But in another sense it came at the perfect time. I've been struggling with a few niggles that have disrupted my training a little so the decision was taken to just concentrate on the bigger picture and scrap the indoors.

I've been training hard for four months and now I've only got seven weeks until my first heptathlon. If I'd have done the indoor season I would have eased off the hard training for a while so even though I didn't compete, having that rest was probably a blessing in disguise as I was able to let my body recover.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working as a pundit on the Channel 4 coverage and whilst I'll hold my hand up and admit I made a few gaffes, I also think I said some good stuff which balanced it out! We had a hairy moment on Sunday when we had a power cut and were late coming on air, but fortunately the problem was sorted before the athletics started.

No matter how much preparation you do, you have so much information in your head it can get confusing. It was hard work but I'd love to have another go. I've had lots of good feedback but I've also had some negative stuff on Twitter, but that's life. Not everybody is going to like you or what you say.

I can't lie and say I wasn't nervous before going live on the Friday night, but it was a completely different type of nerves to how I feel before a competition. When you are competing you want to win and channel that adrenaline and nervous energy into your performance; on the television you need to appear relaxed and calm all the time. It was strange being on the "other side" - I would obviously much rather have been in the stadium rather than the studio, but it gave me an opportunity to check out my competition.

I didn't expect Natallia Dobrynska to win, but she really raised her game. It's all very well watching it on the TV but for me it was great to be able to watch it live because you can see everything - what they are doing and how they are doing it - watching their preparations for each events and being able to check out their body language, it was the equivalent of a scouting mission!

There were some great performances in the pentathlon, but I have come away feeling like I am not too far away from challenging the top girls. I may be older than her, but Dobrynska has been doing heptathlon for as long as I have.

Having to watch the guys from the studio has only made me more determined to book my place at London 2012 - I have no intention of being a spectator for the Olympics.

I still think Jessica Ennis and Tatyana Chernova are the favourites, but Dobrynska has definitely ensured her name is back in the mix. I genuinely believe I can compete with those top girls and I am so excited about testing myself.

In three of the five events Jess was amazing - her hurdling was superb, the shot was incredible and the 800m was so gutsy - it was just such a shame her long jump let her down. Silver obviously wasn't what she went to Turkey for, but she will still be the favourite in London.

There were so many great performances in Istanbul, there will be real optimism in the Team GB camp now heading in to London 2012. The 4x400m girls were amazing. I thought it was going to be close, but to be honest I did think Sanya Richards-Ross would have been able to get past Perri Shakes-Drayton. But Perri was cool and calm and did everything right.

Steve Lewis in the pole vault is showing real consistency at the top level, Holly Bleasdale won her first world medal , and then there was Andrew Osagie, Dwain Chambers, Tiffany Porter. All really great results that bode well for London.

I was really impressed by Yamile Aldama - winning her first world title at the age of 39. She tweaked her hamstring on her third jump but fortunately she had already done enough - I think if someone had managed to outjump her she would have struggled to respond, but if she hadn't hurt herself I really think she could have jumped 15 metres.

Kelly is an ambassador for sports performance brand, ASICS.

Kelly Sotherton is a GB Olympic medalist

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Kelly Sotherton is a GB Olympic medalist Kelly Sotherton is an Olympic and World Championship medal winning athlete. Writing for ESPN, Sotherton will give a personal insight into her life as an athlete.