Caution: This piece includes a mention of suicide
Last year’s bronze and this year’s silver medalist, Matthew Hudson-Smith, is crystal clear on his next goal.
The British sprinter came tantalizingly close to his first global title in Budapest, falling short by just 0.09 seconds, as Jamaica’s Antonio Watson snagged the gold Hudson-Smith had hoped to claim.
Leading almost to the finish line, the 28-year-old exhibited courage and determination, putting everything on the line for the championship. His performance was not only bold but also demonstrated his potential after setting a European record in the semi-finals.
Reflecting on the race, his eyes fixed on the giant screen that bluntly showed the small gap he had missed, Hudson-Smith’s thoughts quickly shifted to making sure the outcome would differ next time.
“The gold was why I came here,” Hudson-Smith expressed, now targeting the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“You never feel completely fulfilled; you always yearn for more. I’m thankful, but I’m aware there’s still more to achieve.
“Big plans are on the horizon for next year. All I need to do is stay in good health. It’s the recurring theme of my career, but we’re making progress.
“I grabbed a bronze last year and silver this year – so next time, it’s gold.”
Hudson-Smith’s second-place finish in the world 400m was another feather in his cap, particularly in light of the physical and mental barriers he’s battled.
This season, an Achilles tendonitis issue nearly derailed his dreams, at times rendering him unable to walk. At the London Diamond League in July, he even had to be wheeled off the track.
But adversity isn’t new to Hudson-Smith. Before earning bronze in Oregon, he went through three tormenting years that culminated in an attempted suicide.
Injuries dashed his Olympic hopes and led to financial strain from medical bills and sponsorship loss. Feeling isolated during the pandemic, and away from loved ones, he hit rock bottom. But he’s since risen to achieve two global podiums.
“This year’s been a rollercoaster,” Hudson-Smith admitted.
“My Achilles is in rough shape, leading to me pulling up and being in a wheelchair in London. Walking sometimes becomes impossible.
“It’s a mental fight, but I came for gold. I faltered in the last 30 meters, but given the circumstances, I can’t complain.”
Hudson-Smith’s life took a dramatic turn in 2014 when he seized an opportunity at the Glasgow Diamond League, clocking under 45 seconds for the first time. His talent continued to flourish as he collected European and continental titles.
“Matt’s belief in his ability put him in a prime spot,” said two-time world champion Colin Jackson on BBC TV.
“He gave his heart and soul to try and clinch that title. He has no reason to feel disappointed.”
Denise Lewis chimed in, “Breaking the European record on an injured Achilles tendon is nothing short of extraordinary. It was simply amazing for him to land another medal at this stage.”
Hudson-Smith might be departing Budapest with a silver medal, but his sights are already set on the Paris podium – and that ever-coveted gold medal.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about focus keyword Matthew Hudson-Smith
What medal did Matthew Hudson-Smith win at the World Championships 2023?
He won a silver medal at the World Championships 2023 in the 400m race.
What was the gap between Hudson-Smith and the gold medalist, Antonio Watson?
Hudson-Smith finished just 0.09 seconds short of the gold medal, won by Jamaica’s Antonio Watson.
What injury did Hudson-Smith struggle with during the season?
He struggled with Achilles tendonitis during the season, which at times left him unable to walk and even required him to be helped off the track in a wheelchair.
How has Hudson-Smith’s career progressed in recent years?
He won a bronze medal last year and a silver this year, showing a clear progression. He also set a European record in the semi-finals and has his eyes set on gold for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
What personal struggles has Hudson-Smith faced in his career?
Hudson-Smith has endured significant physical and mental struggles, including injuries that cost him participation in the Tokyo Olympics, substantial debt due to medical costs, and a low point that led him to attempt suicide.
What are Hudson-Smith’s plans for the future?
He has “big plans” for the next year and his major target is the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where he aims to win gold.
Who commented on Hudson-Smith’s performance at the championships?
Two-time world champion Colin Jackson and Denise Lewis both commented on his performance, praising his belief, effort, and remarkable achievement despite his injured Achilles tendon.