Editors’ Notes Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a world champion heptathlete and has perhaps the best Twitter bio in sports (“Chronically indecisive so I've adopted two surnames & the heptathlon”). We’re also fairly certain few athletes possess a taste in music quite as diverse. “I was a real indie kid growing up in Liverpool,” she tells Apple Music. “But now I don’t have a genre that I like best. It’s good to keep things fresh and diverse on your playlists.” Johnson-Thompson’s go-to tracks also depend on schedule. “When I’m training, it’s definitely more background music,” she says. “In the lead-up to a competition you want your prep to be good. You want to be in a good mood, so I am quite meticulous with what I listen to. You don’t want anything to come on shuffle and you have to skip when you’re trying to concentrate on your warm-up.” And then when you’re in competition mode? “It can depend,” she says. “If I’m not feeling too up for the competition, then I’ll need something with real energy. I’m quite laidback most of the time. A lot of my coaches say they want to shake me to get me going, so uptempo songs definitely help! But then in the heptathlon, we often have long waits between events, so I’ll listen to slower songs to calm me down.” Here, KJT has put together her ultimate playlist of tracks which inspire her and talks about a few of her favorites.

Labrinth, “Mount Everest”
“This is what I listened to a lot during the 2019 World Championships in Doha [where Johnson-Thompson won gold in the heptathlon]. The ‘being on top of the world’ lyrics just really motivated me. You don’t want too many songs like Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ where the lyrics can hype you up too much, but this one really resonated with me.”

Courteeners, “Not Nineteen Forever”
“Oh, when this song comes on… For me and my friends from school, this is our anthem. I mean, I was literally 19 at the 2012 Olympics in London and this was the first song I played when I stepped onto the track. It really gets me up for it. It still takes me back to the start of my journey and my career. It also reminds me that it’s not a long career, so you need to savor those moments.”

Kanye West, “Dark Fantasy”
“This is the song I always say is my go-to. It’s my ultimate feel-good, get-me-in-the-mood-for-anything song. It’s always on in my car. I got to see the Watch the Throne tour, which is the best concert I’ve ever been to. That explains a lot of the Kanye and JAY-Z picks, probably.”

Frank Ocean, “Pink + White”
“This reminds me of a bad moment, but an important moment—and I just love this song so much. I was just coming back from the 2016 Olympics in Rio when Blonde dropped, and I downloaded it as fast as I could for the flight back. I was in a really bad place [Johnson-Thompson missed out on a medal, finishing sixth], but it’s such a beautiful song and brings me such emotion. It really helped me in that way.“

The Wombats, “Little Miss Pipedream”
"We were all Wombat mad growing up, especially because they were from Liverpool. The Kooks as well. I was a big indie fan when I was a teenager, and have the pictures to prove it—with my backcombed hair and the eyeliner. The music sticks with you, even if the fashion thankfully doesn’t!”

Jamie T, “Sticks ’n’ Stones”
“This makes the cut because I can sing every lyric. It’s one of the best songs of the last 20 years. It’s such a great song to get you going. I love singing along when I arrive at a stadium after the coach ride from the hotel. You walk out and leave all the general chit-chat with people in the background.”

Little Simz, “Venom”
“I had to pick a Little Simz track because she’s just my absolute favorite artist right now. She’s so brilliant and inspiring.”

Kanye West, “Black Skinhead”
“Just the intro. The intro, over and over.”

SONG
ALBUM
Mount Everest
2:37
 
Not Nineteen Forever
4:03
 
Dark Fantasy
4:40
 
20 Something
3:18
 
Who Gon Stop Me
4:16
 
Bed Peace (feat. Childish Gambino)
4:16
 
Pink + White
3:04
 
Get You (feat. Kali Uchis)
4:38
 
Flakes
4:23
 
Trigger Bang (feat. Giggs)
3:32
 
Look What the Cat Dragged In
2:32
 
Sorry (Original Demo)
3:24
 
Nonstop
3:58
 
Sticks 'n' Stones
4:00
 
Venom
2:34
 
Black Skinhead
3:08
 
Mad (feat. Lil Wayne)
3:55
 
Love Yourz
3:31
 
Are You Satisfied?
3:18
 
Big Michael
2:26
 
For Emma
3:40
 
Desperado
3:06
 

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