August 5, 2021

Katarina Johnson-Thompson could be Britain’s best ever – Daley Thompson

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Daley Thompson
Thompson took Olympic decathlon gold at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984

Katarina Johnson-Thompson could surpass Jessica Ennis-Hill and Denise Lewis to become Britain’s greatest heptathlete, says multi-event legend Daley Thompson.

“She has the potential to be the best among them,” Thompson told BBC Sport.

“She has few more things to win. Kat is world champion, but being Olympic champion is different class.”

Ennis-Hill and Lewis won Olympic gold at London 2012 and Sydney 2000 respectively, while Mary Peters won pentathlon gold at Munich 1972, before heptathlon replaced it in the Olympic programme.

Double Olympic decathlon champion Thompson, who recently interviewed Lewis for his podcast series,external-link believes that the postponed Tokyo Games next summer is a chance for Johnson-Thompson to lead that elite group.

“Winning that world gold is a huge boost. It should prove to her that she is in with a chance – things have not always gone her way, but she has found a way to get through all of that,” added Thompson.

“Her belief in herself will have grown, she has got a brilliant chance. She has so much talent, she can beat anyone.”

‘Our best girls have been better than our best blokes’

Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson competed alongside each other at London 2012 and Rio 2016

Since Thompson finished fourth at Seoul 1988, only Dean Macey, with fourth-placed finishes in 2000 and 2004, has made the top 10 in the Olympic decathlon for Britain.

Thompson believes that that Britain’s recent strength in female multi-eventing is a result of the quality of those concentrating on heptathlon.

“The calibre of athlete that comes in to decathlon is not the same,” he added.

“It takes a little longer to get good at decathlon, because it is 10 as opposed to seven events, so a lot of guys with a bit of talent don’t want to be not very good at something for the five, six years it takes to learn the discus, the pole vault, the hurdles.

“The natural talent that our best girls have brought for the last 10-15 years, have been better than our best blokes.”