Phillips Idowu has risked further antagonising his rift with Great Britain's head coach, Charles van Commenee, by insisting he is not injured and his focus on London 2012 has not wavered.
The British triple jump Olympic medal hope has been keeping a low profile in the run-up to the Games, and in the past six weeks he has pulled out of triple jump competitions in Oslo, Birmingham, and Paris, prompting worries about his fitness and Van Commenee to say: "The athlete is injured. At least that's what we know."
But Idowu – who has not talked to the Dutchman since their falling out when Idowu announced on Twitter that he was pulling out of the European Team Championships – says Van Commenee's assessment is wide of the mark. "I have not mentioned anything about an injury, to be honest," Idowu said. "No one has heard the words come out of my mouth, or from my coach, or any of my team. So I have let that rumour mill stir itself and it has given me an opportunity to focus on my preparation for the Games."
On Saturday Idowu will jump in the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace, which will be only his fourth competition of the season and his first since he pulled out of his fourth jump in a meeting at Eugene in the United States on 1 June. "It was precautionary," Idowu said of that withdrawal.
"I never mentioned or said anything about having an injury. I pulled out because it was wet, it was raining, I slipped on the board. It happens. You hit the board, your foot slips, and it kind of sends the fear of God through you. I didn't want to take any chances." In an Olympic year, Idowu said, it is best to "always err on the side of caution".
Of Van Commenee saying he was injured, all Idowu would say was: "I don't know. I don't know anything about that. I don't know what happened." Idowu certainly does not seem to value Van Commenee's input all that much. "This year I have kept myself to myself. The people most important to me are my family, my representatives and my coach [Aston Moore]. That is the small circle of people I work with and who are involved in my preparation for the Games. Outside of that, no one else needs to be involved."
Idowu was always sure of securing a place in the Olympic team, but by skipping the trials he was contravening UK Athletics' official selection policy – which has been rigorously adhered to by Van Commenee. It states that to be eligible for selection all athletes must "compete at the trials in the discipline in which they wish to compete in at the Games" and that "permission to do otherwise must be gained in advance from the head coach, which will only be granted in exceptional circumstances".
The decision to miss the trials, Idowu says, was "precautionary". "After Eugene I had been working really hard with a 10-day training programme, I had a day off and then went on a solid five-day programme, so physically there was a lot of fatigue in my system and I didn't want to jeopardise my chances at the Games by competing when I wasn't in tip-top form."
He also happens to be an ambassador for the Hackney Weekend festival, which was taking place that weekend. Van Commenee said at the time that "medical confidentiality" prevented him from explaining why Idowu was not competing. Idowu's own version of events suggests that Van Commenee could have been covering for the athlete. "I am always feeling aches and pains. It is Olympic year, so I don't want to do anything to jeopardise my chances of performing in the best possible shape that I can be in at the Games, so missing the trials was a precaution.
"I am confident," Idowu added. "I have put in so much work and it won't be until the final two weeks before the Games when we start to drop down and the workload reduces that everything is going to be completely sharp and I can feel completely confident in what I am going to do at the Games."
He feels he can replicate the kind of form he showed at the world championships in Daegu last year, when his jumps were all between 17.38m and 17.77m, which was only good enough for silver behind the US's Christian Taylor. "I have that level of consistency, now it is a case of performing and getting that big jump out."