Josh Kerr vows to use SPOTY disappointment as motivation ahead of Olympic bid

By Sports Desk December 14, 2023

Athletics world champion Josh Kerr intends to use his disappointment at not being shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award as “big motivation” going into the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The 26-year-old Scot won the 1500m title at the World Championships in August after finishing ahead of favourite Jakob Ingebrigtsen in Budapest, an achievement which many thought would earn him a place on the SPOTY list, including World Athletics president Lord Coe.

The list of nominees which was announced on Tuesday included former cricketer Stuart Broad, jockey Frankie Dettori, footballer Mary Earps, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, golfer Rory McIlroy and Kerr’s fellow athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Kerr admitted he was “massively disappointed” at not being on the list but thinks it will drive him on to turn the bronze he earned at Tokyo 2020 into a gold in Paris 2024.

He said: “I’ve been honoured in many different ways by a lot of fantastic people but we always think about the ones we didn’t get so it’s big motivation for me.

“Obviously massively disappointed, it’s such a prestigious event and award that I would loved to have been involved in.

“There’s nothing I can do. We are in a cut and dry sport – not a lot of things in my career have been up to other people’s judgement and I’ve always been taught to leave no doubt and obviously I left an element of doubt.

“I’m an Olympic bronze medallist and I’m going to go after that gold medal. I’ve earned everything I got in my career to this point and I’m going to earn the right to be in that conversation and I’ll show that through my performance and mental resilience.”

Team GB team-mate Johnson-Thompson also brought home a gold medal from the 2023 World Championships when a second-placed finish in the 800 metres guaranteed her heptathlon gold.

Kerr had already planned to attend the BBC event but now says he will go and support Johnson-Thompson to win the award ahead of a big year for the sport.

He added: “I will be there to represent athletics but KJT (Johnson-Thompson) had such an amazing comeback from 2019 and I think we are all proud to be there to support her.

“I’m not sitting crying about it, I’m getting out the door and start working for next year but I’ll be there to support her and that’s my job now.

“I was someone that brought a gold medal home for Britain and so was she. I’m excited in supporting her in hopefully winning this next week.

“I was hoping to get my flights covered if I’m honest but I don’t think that’s quite covered this time – I was hoping to be on that shortlist but I’m not, I’m still going to enjoy that experience.”

Kerr’s attention now switches to the Paris Games where he will look to earn another gold medal next August, and can take huge confidence from his win in Budapest after beating Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Ingebrigtsen of Norway to the world title.

He said: “I known I’ve always had the capabilities of being the best in the world but having the ability to do it and not just say I’m good enough… I’ve been in all these finals and not quite been able to do it so it’s nice to have one in the bag knowing my mind and body are capable of that big moment.

“I’m thinking like a champion and my life is getting structured like a world champion so instead of thinking I’m good enough, I’m just going to be on that roadmap to success!

“I’ve had this Olympic circle for a long time and I knew at age 26 I will be at the peak of my career in the 1500m and this would be the one so I’m excited to continue that dream.”

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