On 27th July 2012 the London Olympic Games were officially opened and the youth of the world assembled to participate in the greatest festival of sport the world has ever seen.
The lives of seven other young sportspeople also changed on that balmy summer’s evening in East London. They weren’t Olympians, but on a night full of surprises they played leading roles in the Opening Ceremony’s show-stopping finale.
David Beckham, Sir Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson, Sir Roger Bannister, every name you could think of had been put forward as a possibility to light the Olympic cauldron.
But in the end it was seven aspiring Olympians whose budding sporting careers had struck a chord with seven greats in British Olympic history, who ran the final yards of the torch’s 8,000 mile journey to light the cauldron and raise the curtain on the festival of sport that followed.
A year on from that spine-tingling evening, Team GB brings you up to date with how those seven hopefuls have fared in the last 12 months.
Callum Airlie (sailing, 420 class) – nominated by Shirley Robertson
The 420 sailor celebrated turning 17 not by blowing out candles, but rather by giving light to the 205 petals that formed the cauldron. In the hours after the Ceremony he flew out to Austria to compete in the 420 World Championships with his crew Joe Butterworth. This year the pair has registered fifth and third place finishes, in the British spring and winter championships respectively, to qualify for the 420 World Championships in Valencia, in which they are currently racing.
Jordan Duckitt (young 2012 ambassador) – nominated by Duncan Goodhew
The only non-sportsperson of the seven, Jordan chaired the Youth Sport Trust’s London 2012 Young Ambassador Group for two years in the lead up to the Games. He worked for four years inspiring young people to get involved with sport through the Olympic and Paralympic Games and to ‘Inspire a Generation’. In March Jordan spoke at the Young Ambassadors Celebration Day and joined hundreds of young people at the Lead Your Generation summit in Leeds last month.
Desiree Henry (athletics, 200m) – nominated by Daley Thompson
Off the track the 18-year-old has recently finished college, while back on the track Desiree has enjoyed a successful sprinting summer. In July she won her first medal at the senior national championships with bronze in the 100m and followed that with silver and gold at the European Junior Championships in the 200m and 4x100m respectively. And just this weekend Desiree ran in front on 65,000 people at the Anniversary Games, setting a new personal best in the 100m.
Katie Kirk (athletics, 400m) – nominated by Dame Mary Peters
Selected for the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the age of just 16, Katie won European Junior gold in the 4x400m a year later. In November 2012 she campaigned to the Northern Ireland Assembly to make funds available for an indoor training venue. The Ulsterwoman deferred her place at university for a year until autumn 2013 to stay home and work with her coach but Katie has been hampered by glandular fever this year and has yet to run competitively.
Cameron MacRitchie (rowing) – nominated by Sir Steve Redgrave
After deferring his place at Durham University for a year in 2011, Cameron began his biology studies in the months after the Ceremony and has just finished his first year. He was selected to be part of the men’s eight at the World Rowing 2012 Under 23 Championships but the crew’s hopes were dashed in the dying metres of the final as Australia pipped them to third place. In 2013 he has been out of action with a back injury and looks unlikely to make the world U23 Championships this summer.
Aidan Reynolds (athletics, javelin) – nominated by Lynn Davies
Just weeks after the Ceremony Aidan received his A-Level results that confirmed a place at Oxford University to study physics. The student threw 67.56m at the World Indoor Throwing competition in Sweden in March, to sit third on the all-time British indoor rankings, before extending his outdoor personal best to 68.77m with another early season throw in Loughborough. And Aidan recorded 65.79m last month in the England Athletics U20 Championships to finish third in the standings.
Adelle Tracey (athletics, 800m) – nominated by Dame Kelly Holmes
Since setting a personal best of 2:03.18 for the 800m in the week leading up to the Opening Ceremony, Adelle has not raced over the same distance due to injury, although she did compete in cross country events early this year and won over 600m at the Welsh Athletics Indoor International in March. The 20-year-old has also recently graduated from the Arts University College in Bournemouth with a 2:1 degree in make-up artistry and special effects.