Decathlete Damian Warner puts Toronto 2015 on summer highlight reel

This story is part of an series on running called Canada Runs

Damian Warner has a packed summer, and he wants it that way.

The 25-year-old is training outdoors now, at Western University, preparing for three decathlons in the spring and summer. A typical outdoor season for an elite multi-event athlete will include only two decathlons. Warner’s bonus is the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, or maybe World Championships, it’s a toss up.

Damian Warner during a training session at Western University, April 17, 2015.

Damian Warner during a training session at Western University, April 17, 2015.

« I’m super excited, this summer’s going to be awesome, » says Warner, whose first decathlon will be at the end of May in Götzis, Austria. The hypo meeting there is the most prestigious competition aside from worlds or the Olympics. « Then after (Götzis) are the Pan Am Games and if you don’t get excited for that I don’t know what’s wrong with you, » he says, half-jokingly.

RELATED: Meet two Canadians who believe winning is their only option

Warner is clearly enticed by the geographic location of TO2015, and has been committed to competing since last fall. As Canada’s top-ranked decathlete, there were questions if he would, since Pan Ams are so close to World Championships in Beijing. Recovery time from a decathlon takes at least four to five weeks, the approximate amount of time between Toronto and Beijing.

« We don’t get too many opportunities to compete in front of a big crowd in Canada so I wanted to seize this opportunity, all my family and friends are going to be there, it was a no brainer for me, » comments Warner, « Five weeks should be plenty to go into World Championships. »

Warner’s mother will be there to watch, her first live competition since attending nationals in 2013. And his father will make the trip from Barbados. Warner is the bronze medallist from 2013 worlds, but he doesn’t hide his enthusiasm for TO2015, « I’m going to put all my energy into it and hopefully stand on top of that podium when it’s over, » he says.

Warner won the decathlon at last summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Warner won the decathlon at last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Warner is as studious away from the track as he is hard-working during training. He observes specialized athletes, perhaps hurdlers or throwers, gleans tendencies from them and is constantly experimenting. « There’s so much more for me to learn in this sport, and it’s not something I can learn in a year it’s something I’m going to learn a couple years down the road, » he says. Warner is known to trawl YouTube looking for improvements. Recently, he and coach Vickie Croley found a new way to throw the shot put, something they tried in training. « I don’t have all the answers so I know I have to go out there and look for the answers, » he says.

He’s won Götzis, Commonwealth Games and has a worlds medal. There’s no question along with all other benefits, for Damian Warner, Pan Am Games success is worth a hectic summer.