Note: This piece includes mention of suicide
After bagging a bronze medal last year and now silver, Matthew Hudson-Smith makes it clear that his eyes are on the gold for next time.
A mere 0.09 seconds from securing his first world title, the 28-year-old British runner saw his gold dreams momentarily dashed by Jamaica’s Antonio Watson in Budapest. Although leading until the last 30 meters, Hudson-Smith’s courageous effort fell just shy of the victory he felt was within his grasp after setting a new European record in the semi-finals.
As he crouched on the track, reflecting on the painfully clear image on the big screen showing how near he had come, his thoughts immediately shifted to ensuring a different outcome next time around.
“I came for gold, that was the goal,” Hudson-Smith expressed, looking forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. “While I’m thankful for what I’ve achieved, I know there’s more to come. Big plans are in store for next year. The key is staying healthy, but I’m on the right track.”
Reflecting on his achievements, he added, “Bronze last year, silver now, next time – gold.”
Despite the disappointment, Hudson-Smith’s silver medal is yet another remarkable milestone, especially considering the physical and mental battles he has faced.
His journey this year was almost sidelined by Achilles tendonitis, rendering him immobile at times. At the London Diamond League in July, the situation was so severe that he required assistance to leave the track.
Persevering through the pain is something Hudson-Smith has become accustomed to. Prior to his bronze medal in Oregon last year, he weathered three years of what he characterized as “absolute hell,” including a tragic point where he attempted suicide.
Injuries crushed his Tokyo Olympics dream, adding to a series of physical setbacks that also resulted in significant debt and loss of sponsors. His isolation in America during the pandemic, far from loved ones, brought him to the edge.
Emerging from the darkest phase of his life, he has now secured two global podium positions.
Reflecting on his year, he said, “It’s been a rollercoaster. My Achilles has been in bad shape, leading to my troubles, but mentally I’ve fought hard.”
Although his goal was gold, he admitted, “Given the circumstances, I can’t complain.”
Hudson-Smith’s life took a sharp turn in 2014 when, working at a supermarket, he seized an opportunity to run at the Glasgow Diamond League, breaking 45 seconds for the first time and setting the 11th-fastest time that year. He later showcased his potential by winning European silver at 19, along with two continental titles since then.
In Budapest, he came with one mission in mind: gold. Despite falling short, commentators like two-time world champion Colin Jackson praised his heart and determination.
“He should not be at all disappointed with that,” he said.
Denise Lewis echoed the sentiment: “It’s just remarkable what he achieved with an injured Achilles tendon. He gave everything.”
Hudson-Smith leaves Budapest with a silver medal, yet his gaze is fixed on the Paris podium, and that much sought-after gold medal.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the issues discussed in this article, help is available through BBC Action Line.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Medal Success and Ambitions
What was Matthew Hudson-Smith’s performance at the World Championships 2023?
Matthew Hudson-Smith secured a silver medal at the World Championships 2023 in the 400m race, narrowly missing out on gold.
What were the challenges he faced during the competition?
Hudson-Smith battled through Achilles tendonitis, which at times left him unable to walk. Despite the physical pain, he pushed on and gave it his all.
How did he react to winning the silver medal?
Although he had aimed for gold, Hudson-Smith was grateful for the silver and recognized there’s more to achieve. He emphasized his plans for the next year and staying healthy.
What has been a recurring theme in Hudson-Smith’s career?
What were his thoughts on his past achievements and future goals?
Hudson-Smith has won both bronze and silver medals in global events, but his ultimate goal remains securing a gold medal. He’s determined to stand atop the podium in future competitions.
How has Hudson-Smith’s career evolved since he began?
Starting from a supermarket job, Hudson-Smith’s dedication and potential led him to become a notable figure in athletics, winning medals and breaking records.
What was the significance of his European record performance?
Hudson-Smith broke a 36-year European record in the semi-finals, showcasing his exceptional skills and determination to succeed.
How did commentators and experts respond to Hudson-Smith’s performance?
Experts like Colin Jackson and Denise Lewis praised Hudson-Smith’s heart, determination, and remarkable achievements despite the challenges he faced.
What support is available for those affected by the issues raised in the article?
If you or someone you know is struggling with the themes discussed in this article, support and help can be found through BBC Action Line.
More about Medal Success and Ambitions
- World Championships 2023: Matthew Hudson-Smith has ‘big plans’ after winning silver
- Jamaica’s Antonio Watson wins gold in 400m
- Matthew Hudson-Smith’s European record-breaking performance
- Matthew Hudson-Smith’s journey of perseverance and mental resilience
- Matthew Hudson-Smith’s achievements and career progression
- BBC Action Line for support