By Chris Hammer. Last Updated: 20/06/12 1:53pm
Greene: Aiming for gold at his first Olympics
Dai Greene believes his proven ability to deliver at major championships and his nerves of steel can give him the mental edge to complete a career grand slam of gold medals at London 2012.
The world, European and Commonwealth 400 metres hurdles champion is currently preparing for this weekend's Aviva Trials in Birmingham, where he's expected to cement his place on the Olympic team against a strong domestic challenge.
Despite not running as quickly as he would have liked in his opening two races of the season, Greene is confident he's firmly on track to reach peak form in time for his first Games having fully recovered from knee surgery in the winter and a virus which forced him out of the recent Diamond League meeting in Rome.
Puerto Rico's Javier Culson, who finished second behind Greene at last year's world championships in Daegu, currently tops the rankings while American Bershawn Jackson is also running faster than the Welshman.
But both of his main rivals, along with the rest of the world's elite, know first hand about Greene's winning habit in finals.
The 26-year-old said: "I don't know how it will affect my rivals - hopefully it will have a negative effect on them. Obviously I've won a lot of medals recently and I save my best for the big competitions.
"But I also know competitions can be won or lost in the moments beforehand, so it could play on their minds. I can't guarantee that it will and only time will tell.
"I'm very laid back anyway but what I would say is that I'm very calm because I know I've done everything to prepare for a race. I've trained very hard and I know I've done everything I can to get in the best shape possible."
Dai Greene Quotes of the week
"The home support will also play a big part in raising British performances including my own.
"I don't think I'll be intimidated by the atmosphere, I see it only as a positive. I don't get too nervous about racing. They'll still be 400m to cover and 10 hurdles to clear. I don't tend to complicate things too much.
"I know it's my first Olympics but I've experienced a lot of high level competition and I have a great team around me to deal with every situation."
Greene puts his calmness and composure on the start line down to the fact he's left no stone unturned in his unrelenting training programme and preparation.
He said: "I'm very laid back anyway but what I would say is that I'm very calm because I know I've done everything to prepare for a race. I've trained very hard and I know I've done everything I can to get in the best shape possible.
"On the day I know I'll give the best performance and the best account of myself that I can and hopefully that will be enough for a gold medal as I've done in the past.
"But I'm always at ease with myself before the start because there's nothing more I could have done to prepare."
Kriss Akabusi recently claimed Greene would have to break his 20-year-old British record of 47.82 seconds to clinch gold in London - but the world champion insists he'd be happy with any winning time.
"I might have to break it, but you don't know what conditions are going to be like in London," said Greene. "It could be rainy or windy and given the summer we've had so far, you just don't know. If everything is perfect on the day then the British record is a target to try and achieve.
"But I'm not motivated by taking Kriss' record, I'm only out to win medals and do the best I can in every race. If that results in a gold, then great. If it results in a gold in 50.1 seconds then that's also fine with me. It doesn't matter what the time is, as long as I cross the line first."
But before all that, Greene has the trials to contend with.
With four other British rivals - Jack Green, Richard Yates, Nathan Woodward and Rhys Williams - also possessing the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard, only the top two at the Alexandra Stadium are guaranteed a place on the team, with the final third spot going down to the selection panel.
Although it would be a massive shock if Greene wasn't given the discretionary place following an upset result this weekend, he is leaving nothing to chance and is eager to win a fourth straight national title.
He said: "On paper it's certainly more competitive and based on times there's five of us going for three spots. I know I'm the favourite because I've run the fastest time but they'll be eager to get one over on me.
"I'm not motivated by taking Kriss' record, I'm only out to win medals and do the best I can in every race. If that results in a gold, then great. If it results in a gold in 50.1 seconds then that's also fine with me. It doesn't matter what the time is, as long as I cross the line first."
Dai Greene Quotes of the week
"I've just got to make sure I'm not complacent and I produce a good performance because I believe that if I run to my best then the other guys should hopefully end up behind me.
"After not having the best start to the season I would have liked, I'm more eager than normal to put down a good time to show I'm still on track for London.
"The trials aren't obviously going to be as competitive as the Olympics because nobody else in the field has been below 49 seconds this year - but because I haven't raced much so far, I'm determined to perform well and get a good time. Usually when I'm the favourite you realise you can take it a bit easier and not push yourself as hard."
One of the Swansea Harrier's rivals this weekend is his young training partner Green, 21, who he feels could have a bright future under coach Malcolm Arnold.
Greene said: "He certainly has a lot of talent and is certainly very driven. I think he has aspirations of becoming one of the best in the world but he's still very young and learning the event.
"Hopefully he'll have a good few years ahead of him but because he's only 21 I'm not sure me and Malcolm could say yet if he'll be a world champion. You see a lot of people come into sport with talent and ability but not make it due to one reason or another.
"He certainly has capabilities to be fast and hopefully that will end up in medals."
Arnold was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours at the weekend and Greene doesn't think he'd be where he is today without him - and expects Green to also thrive under his stewardship.
He said: "I wouldn't have been as successful as I have been without Malcolm. I very much enjoy working with him every day and he's very motivating and determined even though he's been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt.
"He's a great person to have in your corner so certainly for Jack as a youngster coming through, he's got a training partner who is quicker than him and a coach with a wealth of experience. It's a great situation for him to be in."
Greene accepts the knee surgery he underwent this winter, which Arnold only recently revealed, did put him under added pressure in his quest to be in perfect shape for the Olympics but believes his preparations are now going well.
He said: "We had a knee problem just before Christmas which resulted in surgery but I was back running three weeks later.
"I knew I had enough time to get fit for the summer but at the same time I knew everything had to go right and not have any more injuries.
"There was a lot of pressure on. The only reason Malcolm mentioned it so recently is because I've certainly turned a corner recently and come through the other side of it. This is the first time for a long time that we're 100% sure that everything is going to plan now."
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
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