Damian Warner: Five things to know about the world no.1 ranked decathlete

Canadian decathlete has his sights set on gold at his third Olympic Games after almost hitting the 9000 point mark earlier in 2021. From the sport that was his first love to the mantra he lives by, here are five things to know about the world number 1. 

Picture by 2015 Getty Images

Damian Warner backs himself to be a 9000-point decathlete.

At the 2021 Hypo-Meeting, he came within five points of hitting that historic mark, only previously achieved by three men in track and field athletics history.

But now the Canadian is ready to go again - this time at his third Olympic Games, and Warner believes his rivals will help push him forward.

"I know that when I come to these types of competitions, I'm competing against the best athletes in the world," he told Olympics.com.

"That's like my driver... But even from when I was younger, winning an Olympic gold medal or standing on the podium has always been a huge thing.

"Those are my inspirations."

Here are five things to know about a man who lives by a specific mantra each day, is really quite good at drawing, and who had a very different first sporting love.

1 - Warner's first love? Basketball

Despite his passion for the decathlon, track and field wasn't always the plan for Warner.

"When I first started [playing sports], I was a basketball player, that was my love and I always wanted to be like Vince Carter when I was younger," he told DAZN.

The shift to athletics took some time to get used to.

"In Basketball, you have a team, you're working together for a certain goal - and in track and field it's just you competing against other people.

"I think it's when I started to do well in track and field where I was just like 'you know this is kind of fun.'"

2 - He has TWO favourite Olympic moments

We asked Warner to share his favourite Olympic moment - and he treated us to two.

The first turned back to clock to 2016, where Warner won his bronze medal in the decathlon.

"I was in fourth going into the javelin, and my first two attempts are not very good, and I was actually in a position where I wasn't going to get on the podium at all," he said, reliving the moment.

"So I went out and threw the javelin and it went 63 metres, I think it was.

"I knew after that point that I was going to be capable of getting onto the podium."

But it was turning around after the throw, and seeing his family and friends cheering in the stands, that made it all the more special.

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Picture by 2019 Getty Images

And the second moment takes us back to London 2012, Warner's first Olympic Games, that he described as the "most special of all".

"Walking into the stadium the first person I saw was my dad, and it was so special to me because until that moment, I didn't see him for eight years," he revealed to Olympics.com.

"And then I did an acceleration and I saw my mom up in the stands - in front of 80,000 people, the first two people I saw was my parents.

"I was getting a little bit emotional and I was just like 'you got to snap out of it, you've got a race to run' you know? But it was just really special to be there."

He goes onto share that so many of his favourite Olympic moments involve his family and friends being there, and while that won't be the case this year, it's enough to know that they will be watching and cheering at home.

3 - His girlfriend makes him 'special' Olympic books

'Hey, you're OK. You'll be fine. Just breathe.'

Those were the words written on the front of a book that Warner's girlfriend, Jen, gave him back at London 2012.

She had his nearest and dearest write messages in the book for him, that he decided to not read until competition had started.

"I went through them and I put all my measurements and little notes I had for each of the events in that book," he told Olympics.com.

"So when competition started, I would read the measurements from my events and read some of the messages, and it was inspiring.

Jen has made another book for his adventures in Tokyo, but this one is a little more special in that it includes so much of his son, Theo.

"Just little messages and little funny Photoshop pictures and all kind of good stuff," he said.

"I'm going to write in there little measurements and I'll just get a good laugh and some heartwarming moments as the competition goes on.

"Things like that are really special to me when I compete."

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Picture by 2015 Getty Images

4 - Warner is REALLY good at art - especially the pumpkin kind

If you don't follow Warner across social media, you may not have seen some of the art he's posted before.

And, well, you'd be missing out.

But this isn't any old bit of art, that's a portrait on a pumpkin.

A pumpkin!

He's even posted some non-pumpkin art, which is just as impressive.

In an interview with Olympics.com he revealed that he had been spending some of his downtime "doodling," which seems a bit modest given the quality of these...

A world no.1 decathlete and a talented artist? Leave some talent for the rest of us, Warner!

5 - The mantra he lives by

You can do anything you set your mind to.

This has been a phrase that Warner's mother has said to him on multiple occasions since he was young, and it has always stuck with him.

"Throughout my life, I've applied and learned that message and I think that's one thing that I live by, because I've seen it happen in my life.

"I truly believe that you can do anything you set your mind to, and it's something I tell myself all the time, and it's something I'll tell my little boy when he's growing up because I feel like it's a really important message."

And if you want to watch the world no.1 ranked decathlete go for that elusive 9000-point mark at the Tokyo 2020 Games, you can catch him in action on 4th August 2021, from 9:00 JST, with coverage in our live blog.