I orginally wrote the column below for the Salford Advertiser. Over the past few months, my Advertiser deliveries have been irregular – therefore I can’t be certain it was published.
The 30th Olympiad has been an unforgettable experience and for the first time in my life, I feel that I have been a part of it. London may have won the right to host the games but the Olympics have truly come to Salford in 2012. It’s also true to say that Salfordians have embraced the Olympics.
It was inspiring to watch Salford junior footballer Becky Gregory carry the torch as it passed through the North West and it was an impressive coup to get London 2012 Team GB competitor Shanaze Reade, already a BMX and cycling world champion, to light the torch at MediaCity:UK and begin its journey through Salford.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Salford resident Ryan Giggs lead Team GB’s mens football team to victory twice and secure a place in the quarter finals; sadly they were unable to progress any further in the competition. I am fortunate to have witnessed some of Great Britain’s medal victories live via the BBC’s fantastic coverage. The Olympic TV channels have become default viewing in the Middleton household, despite this I missed Salford’s Ciaran Williams competing in the handball.
The fun and games continue after the Olympics end. I will be cheering for Salford based swimmers, Heather Frederiksen and Louise Watkin who will be competing in the Paralympic Games which start on 29th August.
Heather is competing in her second Paralympics and will be defending the gold medal she won in Beijing in the 100 metres backstroke. She also won two silver and one bronze medal in Beijing and is competing in the 50 metres, 100 metres and 400 metres freestyle in London. Heather has held four world records in recent years and has previously represented Great Britain as an open water swimmer.
Louise is also representing Team GB at London 2012’s Paralympics. She will be competing in the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle, 200 metres individual medley and 100 metres breaststroke. She has already won four medals before she attended the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. Aged just 16 years of age in 2008 she won a silver medal in the 100 metres freestyle and three bronze medals in Beijing.
So come on Salford, let’s get behind Team GB and cheer on Heather and Louise as well as the rest of our country’s competitors as we seek more gold in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.