Tokyo 2020: Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s battles with damage & self-doubt in pursuit of Olympic gold

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s sliding doors moment came courtesy of south Liverpool’s bus network.

Then aged 10, she used to hop aboard to travel the six miles from her home in Halewood to Liverpool Harriers’ base in Wavertree Park.

She headed there as a high jumper. Her talent was obvious – tall and agile, she had broken a 29-year-old school record at her first attempt.

Her mother Tracey, who would have preferred her daughter to dance, sat reluctantly alongside her, riding routes through south Liverpool’s suburbs.

The high jump session lasted 60 minutes. Not a lot longer than it took to get there. It seemed a hassle for only an hour.

But if Katarina stuck around for the running session that followed the high jump, maybe it was worth the trip after all.

When she did and proved she could sprint as well as she could leap, a coach mentioned an event that combined them all. Johnson-Thompson’s path was set.

Although Katarina and Tracey didn’t realise it then, that bus ride was only the…