When I Grow Up I Want To Be Steve Redgrave
The 2012 Olympics are frequently producing utterly inspiring images that I believe will be burned into my memory for the rest of my days. Gemma Gibbon’s mouthing “I love you Mum” to the skies as she defeated Audrey Tcheumeo to take her into the Judo final. Andy Murray’s leap in the air as he became the first “Brit” to win the Tennis singles gold in 104 years. Peter Wilson sinking to his knees as he wins the Double Trap, a long way to reach the ground given his 6ft 6″ stature. Katherine Copeland’s face of sheer disbelief as they won the lightweight double sculls, mouthing “We won the olympics” to partner Sophie Hosking. I could go on and on and on and on… Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, our wonderful gymnastics boys, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Big Ben. You get the point.
In amongst all these brilliant athletes that are making Britain so very, very Great again there is Sir Steve Redgrave, Patron Saint of Rowers. The enduring images of him being at the riverside, helping the emotionally and physically exhausted Alan Campbell, Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter from their boats, bearing the weight, have moved me as much as those competing for Team GB. These moments, this man who has lived and experienced what they have been through helps to shoulder the burden with a quiet kindness. Katherine Grainger being interviewed on Sunday spoke of how generous he is with his time and knowledge, how much he means to them all. He truly seems to be the nicest person in the universe.
Granted the closest I will ever get to climbing out of a boat is getting out of the bath, so the chances of this calm and strong man being there to gently encourage me and nudge me along in the right direction are non-existent. But that’s not to say he hasn’t inspired me. When I nearly bailed out halfway through a run on Saturday it was Steve Redgrave and all our rowers that popped into my head, that made me put one foot in front of the other.
The tagline of the games is, quite rightly, Inspire A Generation. I blogged last week mentioning all these golden role models the younger generation will gain from London 2012. But I have also found a voice to drown out the annoying swarm of bee’s sound of my Tinnitus. Without pausing for a breath this new voice tells me “Have you found a swimming club you want to join yet? Are you going for a run today? *Lets not drink for a whole month, see what a difference it makes!”
Yes, a hundred million times yes to inspiring a generation. But don’t forget the difference it can make to us older farts too. ♥
*I haven’t quite agreed with the part abstaining from alcohol. In fact as I type this I have a bloody awful hangover, caused by some very boozy watermelons at Ruby’s pop up Chariots of Fire.