It’s a month to go until the Olympics begin and the Spice Girls have been in town to promote their new musical. I say ‘their’ but it’s actually the brainchild of comedian Jennifer Saunders. A great day for inspirational women then?
Well I don’t know entirely about that, but I have been finding out a bit more about Team GB’s athletes to watch at this summer’s games. I’m glad to say, many of them are women and they really, really want gold. I don’t know why I’m so glad, except maybe it was after all the reporting earlier this year about girls being put off sport at school. That or I'm just fed up with all the gloom that's out there right now. So here we are, two inspirational ladies heading to London 2012.
Beth Tweddle – Gymnastics
Now forgive me, but gymnastics is a sport I’m largely ignorant about. My knowledge began at school with a terrifying ordeal involving a so-called ‘horse’ which wasn’t vaguely fluffy or friendly and some enormous ropes that dangled from great heights. That and navy blue knickers.
However, those in the know will consider 27-year-old Beth Tweddle to be Team GB’s most successful gymnast ever. She is three times world champion and our first ever individual medallist at this level. Beth’s event is the uneven bars and she finished 4th in Beijing. She just won gold at an Olympic test event recently, so so could very well be a contender for our first gymnastics gold this summer. And if she is, I’ll be doing a little living room gymnastics myself (minus the navy blue knickers).
Keri-Anne Payne – Open Water Swimming
You may remember this talented swimmer as the first person to qualify for Team GB last year. She was also a silver medallist in the 10k marathon swim in Beijing and a competitor in the 200 and 400 metre individual medley events in the pool. Keri-Anne was also crowned world champion in marathon swimming in 2009 and 2011.
Sadly, a shoulder injury meant she had to pull out of this spring’s European Championships. However, she’s apparently firing on all cylinders now and is a hot favourite for this year’s event in Hyde Park’s Serpentine. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of this lovely lady from now on, in and out of the water.