British Athletes Have Spring in Their Step
May 11, 2011 15:00 pm
While Britain has basked in spring sunshine – surely guaranteeing that the summer of 2012 will be an absolute scorcher - celebrated the Royal Wedding and enjoyed the bank holidays over the Easter period, there has been no such let up for Britain’s Olympic hopefuls who have been competing with great success around the globe.
We were particularly delighted to see the historic performance by the GB Taekwondo squad at the World Championships in Gyeongju, South Korea. Led by inspirational triple Olympian Sarah Stevenson, who overcame personal adversity to take gold in a thrilling final in the -67 kg weight category, the four medal haul represents a real step forward for the sport and the fact that silver medals were won by 18-year-old Jade Jones and 21-year-old Michael Harvey bodes well for an exciting long term future for the sport in the UK.
It was also a good weekend for Brits on the water; K1 canoeist Ed McKeever took gold at the opening Sprint World Cup of the season in Poland, Britain’s sailors enjoyed more success at the World Cup regatta in France with the irrepressible Ben Ainslie once again leading the way and in modern pentathlon Mhairi Spence won her second World Cup medal of the season with bronze in Hungary. These results certainly help to build the sense of anticipation for Team GB in London 2012 and we are working relentlessly to ensure the athletes can fulfil their potential when they step into the Olympic arena on home soil next summer.
Inspired by the exploits of the athletes, it’s now time for the BOA staff to dust off our trainers, don our sweatbands and ensure we have a good physio close by as we step up to the plate and take on the Gold Challenge. One evening this week we will depart the office and de-camp to a sports hall across London where we will be put through our paces by GB Handball. I am delighted that my colleagues at the BOA have really embraced this excellent initiative which combines sport participation with charity fundraising. Members of the BOA staff have organised themselves into seven teams, picked a worthy charity each and are aiming to try out at least ten Olympic and Paralympic sports while raising funds along the way. If you haven’t already heard about the Gold Challenge, I urge you to find out more and get involved now – www.goldchallenge.org
The weekend also witnessed a special reunion as members of the last Great Britain football team to participate in the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 were reunited in Lilleshall 51 years on. As well as reminiscing over their Olympic memories of yesteryear the Olympians were treated to a training display by the GB women’s gymnastics squad and received special recognition at the Shrewsbury vs Oxford United football match. It remains our ambition that the next generation of male and female British Olympic footballers will compete for Team GB some 52 years on in London in 2012.
With the summer season pushing through the gears up to full speed over the next couple of months there is plenty to look forward to for British Olympic sport. Hopefully we’ll celebrate many more British athletes on the podium and with the beginning of the London 2012 test events there will be many opportunities for us all to get behind British athletes and show them our support.
Yours in sport,
Team GB Chef de Mission & BOA CEO