I was 11 years old when I won my first trophy. As far as I was concerned, being crowned winner of a primary school sports day was the pinnacle of sporting achievement. It was confirmed: I was the most naturally talented athlete the world had ever seen. ‘Great.’ I thought. ‘When can I retire?’
This belief was not to last. When the summer made way for the big boys of senior school, I felt my world ranking take a nosedive. Disillusioned by so much competition, I withdrew from the challenge of making my fantasy a reality. As a result, my first sports trophy, sadly, became my last.
Suffice to say, this is not the mentality adopted by our Olympians. They saw the challenge early on, acknowledged and accepted the sacrifice, and undaunted, made the journey anyway - onwards, upwards - from a school gym class to the lofty heights of world class.
To watch the London Olympic Games is to see a brief, momentous - and sometimes final - chapter in an athlete’s long and incredible journey, where seconds and centimetres have never meant more. To me, it will have elements of the best drama unfolding before our very eyes.