Having narrowly missed out on victory in the 400-meter final last night, Matt Hudson-Smith is now aiming for a gold medal at the upcoming Paris Olympics. Dealing with Achilles tendinitis since April, his condition became severe to the point where walking, let alone running, became challenging.
Hudson-Smith’s situation became dire enough that he needed assistance leaving the track in a wheelchair after his race at London Stadium prior to these championships, which cast doubts on his participation in Budapest. Despite stiffness on the morning of the final, he took an all-out approach in the race, starting aggressively but losing momentum towards the end, allowing Jamaican athlete Antonio Watson to surge ahead in the final moments.
A year ago, Hudson-Smith secured a world bronze medal and, in a subsequent revelation, disclosed his struggles with suicide attempts and thoughts of leaving athletics to pursue a career as an electrician. He was dissuaded from these thoughts by his mother and girlfriend.
Now, twelve months later, he has added a silver to his previous bronze and has set his sights on the gold medal in Paris. He shared his determination, stating, “I got a bronze last year, a silver this year, and so next time gold. It’s not over until I achieve 43 seconds and the gold. Once I do that, I’ll be content. I’m almost there. Next year, we’ve got significant plans. I just need to maintain my health. That’s been the consistent theme of my career, and we’re progressing. It’s all about maintaining consistency. Once I reach that point, it will be 43 seconds and a gold medal. I’m aiming for the gold.”
Hudson-Smith had broken a 28-year-old European record during his semi-final with a time of 44.26 seconds, a performance praised by former sprinter Michael Johnson as “flawless.” However, he fell just short of that record in the final.
The 28-year-old had kept quiet about the exact nature of his injury leading up to the championships, mentioning only a nagging discomfort throughout 2023. However, he disclosed the full extent of the problem after the final. He sought treatment from renowned specialist Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt in Germany, who had treated athletes like Usain Bolt. Upon examining Hudson-Smith’s injury, Dr. Muller-Wohlfahrt’s reaction was reportedly, “Oh s**t.” Hudson-Smith received consistent physiotherapy, rest when possible, and utilized insoles to minimize impact while running.
Reflecting on the challenging year, he stated, “It’s been a roller-coaster year. My Achilles has been severely affected. I came here aiming for the gold, but considering the circumstances, I can’t complain. It was an unusual injury. It’s the kind that requires rest, but I’m in the midst of the season, so resting wasn’t really feasible. I have the best team supporting me. They got me to the starting line. They said I only need to be at my best for three days, and I was almost there. I tried to push myself, but lacking races had an impact. I found an extra gear in the semi-finals, but it’s not fully there yet.”
Despite his challenges, Hudson-Smith affirmed his readiness to lead Britain’s efforts in the 4x400m relay, a squad guided by his former rival Martyn Rooney. He is expected to be rested for the relay heats and saved for the final on Sunday. Looking forward, he expressed his determination, saying, “I’m going to finish the season strong. I’m grateful, but I know there’s more to achieve.”Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn