Daley Thompson says heartbroken Katarina Johnson-Thompson's Olympic heptathlon agony revealed more about her character than any of her former glories.
World champion Johnson-Thompson, hotly tipped to topple Rio 2016 gold medallist Nafi Thiam, was forced to retire from the heptathlon when her right calf gave way while surging down the track in the 200m.
But despite the anguish and pain the injury caused her, she got to her feet and managed to finish the race - scenes reminiscent of Derek Redmond's storied exploits at Barcelona 1992.
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And two-time Olympic champion Thompson, who won decathlon gold at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, thinks Johnson-Thompson's will to finish the race through injury said it all about her character.
"I was watching it live and I think that Katarina doing that, tells you more about her than any performance you'd ever seen," said Thompson.
I thought it showed a great deal of character because I've always believed that the people who are the best in their events, are the ones who are the figureheads and do the things that are right.
"To show that kind of courage and character to finish that race was not only good, it was massively impressive."
Covid-19 has had an unsavoury impact upon athletes from all over the globe, turning the usual four-year Olympic cycle into five.
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Blood, sweat and tears go into training for what is for many the pinnacle of their careers.
And Thompson believes that 28-year-old Johnson-Thompson's mental fortitude and toughness shone through out on the Tokyo track.
"It's devastating when an injury like that happens," said Thompson. "You've not just spent five years training for the Olympics, it's been the previous 10 or 12 in terms of effort and all the stuff you've put in to it.
To not want to show yourself in a bad light and think about your responsibilities to the event and in a wider context, as a figurehead and as a leader, it's tough but I'm really glad Katarina did what she did.
"It shows how tough she is and what sort of person she is.
"For her, it has been a long old road and I'm sure she'll look back on it in six months or a year's time and think she's glad that she came but wish the outcome had been slightly different.
"It told us more about her character than anything we've ever seen previously."
And Thompson believes that Johnson-Thompson must put her recovery first before making any future plans, including any she may have about Paris 2024.
"I think the only thing Katarina can do at the moment is go away and get herself better," added Thompson.
"You have to go away and get yourself into a shape where you can start training again and then you've got to start making decisions.
"I don't think you make any decisions about your future until you're healthy again and in the right frame of mind.
"Until Katarina's healthy again, she won't be in the right frame of mind, so I think she'll need to rest up and come back stronger.
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