"I prefer to be a good person to make a personal brand"
He says he has "much to thank popular athletes." "If the brands support me it is thanks to the shoes they buy," explains Toni Abadía, at 29, perhaps in the best time of his life. "Success is to tie your shoes again every day."
Represents clear ideas. It is also a pleasure to hear how he expresses himself, the ease with which Toni Abadía says what he means. 2020 has begun unstoppable, but that does not prevent his idea to be domiciled in the long term. "If I don't qualify to go to the Tokyo Olympics, it will be a failure," Abadía admits on the round trip that this conversation represents. We talked about how his idea of life has changed since he was 23 when he started working at en El Corte Inglés ’, when he didn't know if he would one day be a professional athlete. Today, which is, he speaks of humility as the mirror of his life. Remember that day will come when young athletes will pass him as he spent a day to his great reference: Eliseo Martín.
Question. You could make a treatise of success.
Reply. Well, for me, success is very relative. I was always clear that success is not only being among the best, but that success does not prevent you from remaining the same or does not prevent you from learning ...
P. Do youAnd what have you learned?
A. I have learned that between success and failure there is less distance than one imagined: I could never imagine that it was so short or that a second was so long. But, above all, I could not imagine that sometimes success was not to win again, but to tie back some shoes or enjoy the warm-up routine. But now that I have seen colleagues like Mayo or Escriche go through such long injuries ..., now that I have lived with all that, it is difficult for me to say to myself: ‘Toni, you have failed’.
P. Life changes us.
A. That's why I told him. That is why when I do not get what I have planned, I am no longer convinced that it has failed. Unlike. I appreciate what I learned as it happened to me with the preparation of the marathon. I don't know if it was fear or responsibility that kept me from reaching the end. But learning that, knowing how to value what happened to me, recognizing that respect / fear relationship that I have not known how to neutralize, will be important for the next time.
Q. Is it difficult to be an athlete?
A. If you don't mind, no. It doesn't have to. Athletes can't get our heads off: athletes will never die of fame ...
Q. Everyone likes to be recognized.
A. But you have to know that fame is transient here, that you are here in passing, that today you are and tomorrow there will be others, because this is so. Life is so. That is why fame is not to be superior to anyone, but the mirror of my life.
P. The mirror of his life.
A. I have the possibility to show younger people that it is possible to get to where I have come and that things can be done honestly. Especially in a time like this in which sometimes we are waiting for someone to test positive to sentence him. Well, there you are to set an example, to show that things can be done well, that there is no reason to reach those extremes.
P. What Do you need to set an example?
R. Look, I think I have a lot of feed back with popular athletes. If they look at me, because I run a little faster than they do, I also look at them because I have a lot to thank them for. I know that if the brands support me, it is thanks to them, thanks to the shoes they buy. And, for me, to keep that in mind is to set an example. It helps me not to separate my feet from the ground.
Q. That is important.
A. It is important to know how to thank all those people who take time to run after working eight hours a day, all those people who do not have the time you have and who, however, are on a starting line.
Q. You also worked at ‘El Corte Ingles’.
A. Yes, and in Decathlon. I was 23 years old and I learned not to accommodate laziness. I had the right time to train, to work, to live. He was running back home and was lucky that he arrived at a set table, that the shower was free….
P. Do youWhat did you do with your first salary?
R. I did a leisure trip with friends. But, above all, I invested that money in buying myself shoes because then I did not have a brand to sponsor me and the shoes are worth a money ... And I wanted to keep something material of that money, which I had won, because in the end the trip was over Y….
Q. It is the problem of travel. In the end, only memories remain.
A. But I can also tell you that I think that was my last leisure trip. Since I was a professional in athletics, I could tell you that I have not repeated again.
P. Do youAnd that is a problem?
R. No, what's up. Moreover, I will tell him. When Mario Mola was debating between athletics and triathlon, when I agreed with him on the Blume, he left me marked forever. He told me that at 18 he had this life so internalized that he didn't miss not having gone to the parties that other kids of his age had gone to. I started thinking about it and said to myself: ‘this guy is right’. I still think about it.
P. Do youNot going to the Olympics would be a failure for you?
A. Yes, it would be, yes. I can not fool myself. In fact, this morning I talked to Carlos Mayo because everything in our group is geared this year to go to Tokyo and if you don't go ... But, of course, if you put all the meat on the grill, if you give everything and in the end there are people Better than you ... what are you going to do. At least, you have the pride of trying, a clear conscience.
P. I know Did you ever go to bed without a clear conscience?
A. Yes, when I have retired from a competition. Without going any further, last year in Hengelo and in Huelva. I did not like what I did. I discovered then that I retired not because I could not give more, but because I had other forecasts for those races that I saw that they were not going to be fulfilled. And I didn't know how to manage it. And athletics is not that. Athletics is something else. I realized then that something had to change and that I was going to change it.
P. Do youWhat changed?
R. The mentality. I never want to forget that on bad days you are also an athlete. I don't want to forget that it's not just about being the best. That humility is something else and that no one can underestimate anyone. That is why sometimes it is good for the competition to hit you with a humility cure. It helps you to remember that someday others will come that will overtake you because this is the law of life.
P. As happened to Perico Delgado with Indurain.
Q. And how will it happen to you?
A. I will always remember the first time I won my great reference: Eliseo Martín. I didn't think that moment would ever come. But he arrived and, from that day on, I discovered the most important thing: that it was not winning him that time, but winning him again, because he put all the means so that I did not win him. There I understood the humility of the athlete who had been everything.
Q. This anecdote should be read by everyone.
A. But I could also tell you about Jesus Spain. When I was in the Blume I left every day with my mouth open training. It seemed invulnerable to me until the day that Spanish Championship arrived in 2014 in which I won and he was third. And he came to me and congratulated me like a lord. And I will never forget it.
P. Time flies.
A. Yes, I think so. In 2020 I am going to plant myself in my 30s and sometimes it seems to me that it was yesterday ... But then I realize that my illusion has not aged, that I am the same as I came to athletics by hobby. I never thought about social recognition or money. I just thought about doing what I like and I still think about it. That's why I think the best is yet to come.
P. Do youCan you still improve?
R. I think so. It is true that I am a worked athlete, that I have been very crushing and very demanding of himself. But I think I'm still not spent, that I still can, that I still have motivation.
P. And motivation is everything.
A. Yes, I notice it when Pepe, our coach, gives us those workouts that make you shiver. And we say: ‘it has been passed, this time it has been passed’. But then at the moment we remind ourselves what we need to be where we want to be. Without going any further, look at the last training that was 10 km at an average of 3.20 ”, then 10 slopes to work the force and we finished with 4 × 1,000 at an average of 2.48”. Input you say, ‘Do youBut what is this? ’Then, you convince yourself that this is the right thing to do, that this is your life.
Q. Someday he will be missed.
A. I know, but then I will look for something else and, above all, I will continue to think what we always say in our training group: the attitude may be more important than the qualities. Moreover, I would say that if it had not been for the attitude we would never have been champions of Spain. We believe, above all, in the attitude.
P. Do youCould you have been a mediocre athlete?
R. I would tell you more. He would not have been an athlete. At 16 I wanted to stop running. But my mother insisted that I think twice and we met José Luis Mareca, my coach, who I think has been the great discovery of my life. I always say it and I won't get tired of saying it. If not for him today I would not be here. That can never be forgotten
P. Do youDoes that man know so much about athletics?
A. When I met Pepe, he was just a monitor. Then, he became a national coach thinking about us. But, do you know what happens? From that man I, above all, have learned from life. I have learned the importance of being a good person and that it never changes. Mareca has paid us for race registrations. He has given us slippers, he has given us gloves ... He has done so many things for us and, above all, he has worried so much ... He suffers for us when we are injured more than ourselves and you, for seeing him happy, do whatever ... .
P. That is the best gift.
A. Yes, because Pepe never wants anything. Look that we have tried to pay him a trip by all means, but he always says no, that nothing, that it is not necessary and you see his life and you see what he has worked and, even then, you always see him by your side ... And That has been the success: to know him. I played far left in football and was disappointed because I played little. And it was the best thing that could happen to me, that my sister told me one day, ‘do athletics’. Moreover, I would say that if tomorrow I was born again, and they offered me this same life, I would say a resounding ‘yes’.
Q. That is the best of all.
A. It is true but, above all, I think we all agree that athletics is a way of life, do it at the level you do. My mother is very proud to say that her three children run, me and my two sisters, the little girl also does taekwondo.