Series17 Feb 2014

Work, rest and play – Janay DeLoach Soukup


Janay Deloach (© Getty Images)

Janay DeLoach Soukup won the 2012 world indoor long jump silver medal and then the Olympic bronze medal in this event.

However, she is talented over the barriers as well and set a world-leading time of 7.91 in the 60m hurdles at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday (15).

The US athlete takes the work, rest and play questions where we find out about her passion for food, movies and her long-time love of dogs.

She will try to qualify for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, which take place in the Polish city of Sopot from 7-9 March, at the US Championships later this month.


What is your favourite training session?

JDS: Stadium workouts, where I do all the football stadium stairs. It’s my favourite because, as a jumper, I am able to capitalise on my strengths, which is using my legs. It’s a killer workout and typically I am out for the count after the workout, but I love them nonetheless. I know that each time I make it through one of these workouts, I am getting better. 

What is your least favourite training session?

JDS: 200s. I don't know what it is about this workout, but no matter how many I have to do, or how little I have to do, they always hurt me in the worst way! They are awful and I hate them!

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

JDS:  One, being in great shape all the time feels so good. Two, I don't have to work 40-hour weeks. Three, the idea of being an athlete typically implies something great about the person and their character. I like to be known for my character more than what I have done as an athlete, so it leads to more questions and more in-depth discussion about who I am as a person.

Who is your favourite training partner?

JDS: Unfortunately I have me, myself and I as a training partner. I do it all on my own so I guess my favourite training partner is my coach. We are always together and always making the work fun. 

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

JDS: Being disciplined with my diet. Man, food is amazing and as an athlete you don't always get to eat the stuff you crave. I don't necessarily have a sweet tooth or anything but I do love a good unhealthy meal and I have to limit those far more than I'd like!


What is your favourite music to chill to?

JDS: Neo soul and R&B.

Describe your perfect day without training.

JDS: I would wake up feeling refreshed and would not be sore from training. My dogs would already be fed and taken out, because usually I get up to take the dogs out and I wish they would just stay in bed until I was ready to get up. I would make myself some breakfast burritos, coffee and eat it on the couch while watching cartoons, then I'd call my best friends and say we were going shopping. We'd go shopping, I'd get some killer new sexy clothes and shoes, go out to lunch, laugh and laugh and laugh, then head home, try on my new clothes for my husband, make dinner and watch a movie on the couch with my husband. 

What is your favourite stress reliever?

JDS: Going to the movies and eating popcorn. There is no way to focus on anything else when you have a giant screen in front of you playing something that you can’t wait to see.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world to relax with, who would it be?

JDS: My best friend. She may not be a world class athlete, but she is an athlete nonetheless and who better to relax with than your best friend?

What is your favourite movie?

JDS: I really don't have one. It depends on the mood I am in, but typically I love Halloween time because of the scary movies. I like those a lot.


What was your first dog?

JDS: Jackson, my first dog, is a mutt, who looks like a black and white German Shepherd. I still have him and he loves me fiercely and unconditionally.

Why have you got such a big passion for dogs?

JDS: I just love how much they love relentlessly. No matter what happens they will always love their owners. There is something about unconditional love that dogs can teach. If we listen and watch, I think we as people could learn a few things about life and love from dogs.

What dogs do you currently have?

JDS: I still have Jackson and we have a fairly new German Shepherd mix named Tilly. She looks more like a typical German Shepherd, but she has floppy ears. She is such a lush and cuddle bug.

If your two dogs were athletes from track and field, which athletes would they be?

JDS: Jackson would definitely be me, even though he's a guy. He's quite the jumper actually. He won't stay in the back yard if we leave them out, he will run and jump over any sized fence to get to me. He even jumped a huge creek once to get to me, and if those aren't long jumper qualities, then I don't know what is. Tilly is kind of a princess. So although she is athletic because she is a dog, she would definitely be a diva and not do anything athletic.

How do you communicate with your dogs when you are competing on the athletics circuit?

JDS: Facetime! 

Steve Landells for the IAAF