Nick Woodbridge is warned of Olympic mind games risk

Jan Bartu today warned Nick Woodbridge he must prepare for the Olympic mind games if he wants to win modern pentathlon gold.

Nick Woodbridge
Nick Woodbridge

Jan Bartu today warned Nick Woodbridge he must prepare for the Olympic mind games if he wants to win modern pentathlon gold.

The Wellington ace competes tomorrow on the penultimate day of the Games with serious hopes of launching a medal challenge.

And performance director Bartu insisted Woodbridge, 26, needs to be ready for the mental battle.

He said: “It’s more about managing energy and getting the mindset right. At the end of the day it’ll be about mind games – there will be other athletes in a similar situation who are fit and getting ready to win medals.

“It’s a long day. We’re dealing with five different disciplines and it’s hard.

“Each athlete has their individual programmes for the day.

“You can imagine spending three hours in the fencing hall under heavy stress – it’s a demanding exercise – and then going to swim 200m as fast as you can.

“Going from swimming to equestrian there is a transfer from the Olympic Park to Greenwich and we need to manage that and riding is stressful by itself.

“You’re riding in a massive stadium with 3,000 people which none of the athletes have experienced before. It will require real focus.”

Woodbridge took bronze in the World Cup final – also the London 2012 test event – last year and is joined in the squad by Mhairi Spence, Samantha Murray and Sam Weale.

They have been kept away from Team GB and only moved into the athletes’ village this week to avoid distractions.

The competition marks a century of modern pentathlon at the Olympics after it was first included in the Stockholm 1912 Games.

And Bartu believes Team GB’s rivals are stronger than ever and refused to rule out a shock winner.

He said: “There are about 15 top women and about 20 top men who can realistically win a medal.

“It’s about the day. It starts on zero and we need to forget what has happened this season and in previous seasons.

“The Olympics competition is very special, there’s always someone coming out of the woods all of a sudden and you have a medallist you never expected.”