Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ones to watch at London 2012

Now I know what you’re thinking. Here’s a post about heptathlete Jessica Ennis, whose dominating image greets Heathrow’s arrivals before they’ve even left the sky. Or I could be about to launch into a spin about the incredible achievements of Mark Cavendish, as he takes on the double feat of the Tour de France and the Men’s Road Race at London 2012.

In fact, there are dozens of deserving athletes from Team GB heading to this year’s games; I bet the panel choosing the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award are going to be in a right pickle come December. It’s a great feeling as the first Olympics etched in my mind were Seoul and Barcelona where Team GB picked up five gold medals respectively. This dropped to just one at Atlanta in 1996. It’s probably fair to say that for many years Sally Gunnell and Linford Christie were the only athletes most of us could name.

So here’s the first part of my list of 'lesser-known' GB champions* with grand designs on the medal podium this summer (i.e. they aren’t in every single advert on telly).

Sarah Stevenson – Taekwondo
Sarah, the current taekwondo world champion, won bronze in Beijing and has been to every Olympics since Sydney 2000 where she was just 17 years old. Incredibly, she lost both of her parents to illness just last year but she still managed to be crowned world champion in spite of everything. Unfortunately, Sarah is recovering from a cruciate injury but with her recent selection for Team GB, we still expect great things from this remarkable lady.

The Brownlee Brothers – Triathlon
If you haven’t seen the Proctor & Gamble advertising campaign featuring mothers of Olympians, then it’s well worth a nosey. It puts you in the shoes of an athlete’s mum. So just imagine how Mrs Brownlee, mum of Alaistair and Jonathan (Team GB triathletes) will be feeling this summer. They’re expected to pick up gold and silver respectively, in spite of Alastair’s achille’s injury earlier this year. Needless to say, it would be more than a major achievement if they do the double, so keep your eyes peeled as they dive into Hyde Park’s Serpentine this summer.

[*I mean no disrespect by using the term 'lesser-known' and hope this is not a patronising term to those following their progress. It's just that many people may not be as familiar with their achievements compared with the likes of Jess Ennis and Sir Christopher Hoy.]

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