After helping England’s men secure Team GB’s place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, James Rodwell is eyeing up the opportunity to be part of history next summer as rugby sevens makes its Olympic debut.
We caught up with him with one year to go until the Games to talk everything from rugby heroes to dream dinner parties… It’s James Rodwell: The Inside Track
The first memory of the Olympic Games was Barcelona 1996. I loved sport and watching all different sorts of sport so to have it all on telly for a couple of weeks was amazing. I never thought I’d ever get the chance to be selected to go to a Games so to have that dream getting closer and closer to being reality is incredible.
My sporting heroes growing up lie very much down the rugby route so Lawrence Dallaglio was always a big figurehead for me in terms of how I wanted to mould my own game when I started in rugby and playing 15-a-side.
I also loved Formula 1 when I was younger so if I wasn’t a rugby player I would have wanted to have been a racing driver. I’m sure people would say my driving skills aren’t up to scratch though… I did manage to get to Silverstone for the first time this year however, which was a pretty amazing experience.
My best mate in sport is probably Dan Norton. I’ve known him the longest out of the Sevens guys and played with him before we both joined the squad. We’ve roomed together quite a few times on the circuit and know how to wind each other up. He definitely a lot messier than me – you need to draw a line down the room so you know which stuff is yours.
Outside of sport I’ve always admired entrepreneurs from the business world, guys like Alan Sugar, who have worked really hard over a period of time and come from nothing to achieve what they wanted. If I can use that drive to help me in sport then I don’t think I can go too far wrong.
For a dinner party I’d definitely start with inviting Peter Kay. Good to get some comedy around the table. Then probably David Attenborough – he’s been to some amazing places and would have some great stories. My final one would be someone sporty so someone like Bradley Wiggins.
I love a roast dinner for a main so maybe a smoked salmon dish to start the dinner party followed by a chocolate fondant pudding. I really like cooking but I’m not very good at winging it. I have to follow a recipe but my wife and I like trying new dishes out.
We had superheroes as a theme for the London Sevens recently so for my own superpower I’d have invisibility. You could have good fun with that and it’d be good to play a few tricks on people with invisibility.
One Great thing about Britain? It’s just home. I love coming home after competitions and to the British countryside – there’s no place quite like it.