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DO OR DAI; OLYMPICS: WE 'LL TAKE YOU THERE Greene snubbed career in football cos he couldn't handle riches He used to serve Big Macs now he is a big cheese in UK athletics Brave Welshman faces daily hurdle of painful battle against epilepsy.


HE is not sitting in the boardroom of a City bank. Or in a hotel suite on Park Lane.

He is not launching a fancy new running shoe. Or modelling a pair of designer shades. He does not have his 'people' around him.

There is no one standing in the background during his interview, running a finger across their throat to say time's up. No, Dai Greene is at Euston Station.

More particularly, he is perched on a grey chair in the lobby of Network Rail's unprepossessing headquarters 100 yards from the trains heading north.

He has already answered a few questions for his sponsors, Network Rail, on platform 12 so the TV crews could get a decent shot.

Now he's gazing out the window as commuters rush by, an everyman in the body of an elite athlete.

That was one of the reasons for rejoicing when UK Athletics chief Charles van Commenee chose Greene as captain of the track and field team for the Olympics.

HUMILITY For the Welshman from Llanelli is not just a supremely talented 400 metres hurdles world champion but an ordinary guy whose humility comes naturally.

Greene, who faces tough rivals such as the USA's Kerron Clement and Puerto Rico's Javier Culson in London, smiles when he is asked about that.

He puts his unaffected attitude down to footballers, actually. More specifically, not becoming one.

The 26-year-old came close, mind you. He was a left winger in the Swansea youth team but turned down the offer of a professional contract.

It may have left him poorer, may have forced him to work at McDonald's for a couple of years. But, he says, it made him a better man.

Greene said: "I was naive when I was a teenager and if I had followed football and been successful and had a lot of riches in my life, I wouldn't have been able to handle that.

"I like to think I'm humble now but I think if I'd got money early, I would have been a p****.

"You see that with other sportsmen and I would have been scared of becoming that person.

"I had to work hard for what I've got. I look back at the route I have travelled and think it has helped to make me a decent person.

"How can you expect to handle the kind of wealth some footballers achieve? You give them something so lucrative so young for relatively no achievements.

"It has come easy for them so you can't expect them to deal with it. My route has been that you only get out what you put in.

t rd "I put in a lot of hard work before I got anything out. It makes you appreciate it more. It makes you wary it could fall away very quickly as well.

uld ell.

"But the setbacks I have had made me a tougher person and helped to create the character behind the man." ave son haracter One of those setbacks was being diagnosed with epilepsy when he y was 17 but one way then another, Greene has refused to let the condition affect his life.

First, he simply ignored it, refusing to make compromises in his student life, hitting the town hard with his mates.

He said: "I was prepared to suffer the consequences of a big night out when I was at college.

"I had my first seizure after a New Year's Eve party. And I had a few more over the next couple of years after nights out.

dn't "It didn't stop me because I hadn't seriously hurt myself. I damaged a few teeth when I fell but I was never not going to go out at the weekend."

Now Greene tries to control his epilepsy while helping to raise awareness of the illness to the wider public.

On Saturday night he was able to raise pounds 50,000 for the charity Young Epilepsy by passing several tests on ITV's The Cube.

Greene added: "It's been a few years since I had a seizure. The main trigger is tiredness and I look after myself now.

"If I go to bed late and have to get up early I am probably going to have a seizure so I have to avoid that scenario.

t tua sce gue l unders i p "I guess people are a bit wary of things like epilepsy that they don't understand. I have been open about it because it doesn't bother me if people know I have it.

wrl "It is only going to help people who are worried about it. If people read an article and understand a little bit more about it then surely that must be a positive thing."

tRa bi mu Greene features in Network Rail's "Track Tests" campaign, aimed at alerting young men to the danger of taking shortcuts across railways. For more info visit a dang acr vi Tr


STANDARD BEARER Z Greene is Team GB's track and field captain RIVALS3 Coulson, left, and Clement will push Greene all the way BACK ON TRACK 3 Green is ready to go for gold in the 400m hurdles
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 23, 2012
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