Sprinter Ross back on track
By John Salvado
Sun Dec 11 2011
The Joshua Ross story has involved some pretty interesting plot twists in the last couple of years.
There was the stint as a topless waiter at a men's strip club.
The attempt to make it as a wide receiver in the NFL.
And a brief spell doing the early shift at Cash Converters.
Now the five-time Australian 100m champion's life has turned full circle and he's back on the track with the aim of going to a second Olympics in London next year.
Ross, 30, quit athletics a disillusioned man after the 2009 Berlin world championships with no intention of coming back.
He spent time in the United States in the hope of being drafted to the NFL, impressing several coaches with his ability to pick up the intricacies of the sport.
"Then one night I went out for some dinner and I just ran down the middle of the street in LA and I thought 'man, I miss running, I really miss it'," said Ross after winning the Victorian 100 yards title at the Zatopek:10 meet in Melbourne on Saturday night.
"I'm coaching myself, I'm comfortable in what I know and what I have learnt from all the coaches over the years.
"Tonight's win and the way I felt technically is an indicator to say I am on the right path.
"I had become disillusioned, I lost the love and lost the motivation.
"But it's in my blood you know.
"I'm not the only athlete who has stopped and then come back."
Ross clocked 9.79 seconds in the 100 yards in the rain at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday night, a time that would translate to something in the 10.6-10.7 range over the 100m.
He knows that's a long way from what it will take to make it to London, either in the 4x100m relay or the individual 100m, where the A qualifying standard is 10.18.
But Ross's pedigree is unquestioned as the third-fastest Australian of alltime with his personal best of 10.08 bettered only by retired duo Patrick Johnson and Matt Shirvington.
He has won five national 100m titles and two Stawell Gifts, including one off the scratch mark.
"I'm back, back with a vengeance," said Ross, whose previous Olympic campaign was in Athens in 2004.
"I've been training hard for six months now - kept it a bit quiet, did my own thing."
Australia has not had a representative in the individual 100m at world championships or Olympic level since Ross and Johnson were eliminated in the quarter-finals at the 2007 world titles in Osaka.