British hopefuls get taster of London 2012 at Team 2012 Athlete Summit
More than thirty athletes from a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports headed to the Olympic Park this week for the Team 2012 Athlete Summit, presented by Visa, to get the inside track on competing at a Home Games from some of Britain’s greatest former athletes.
Multi-Paralympic gold medallist and Visa ambassador Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Olympic bronze medallist Katharine Merry and Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry were on hand to lead a series of seminars to ensure that British athletes have the best preparation possible for London 2012. Earlier in the day, Lord Sebastian Coe welcomed the athletes to Stratford and spoke about the day ahead.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson spoke about living up to the high expectations placed on athletes, whilst Katharine focused on how to deal with competing on the biggest stage of all, drawing on her experience of running in the 112,000 seater stadium in Sydney in 2000 alongside home favourite Cathy Freeman.
Former swimmer Steve Parry shared his experience of how best to manage friends and family during Games Time, plus the potential distractions of being based in a multi-sport village with thousands of other competitors.
The Athlete Summit was created by Team 2012, presented by Visa, which is the official fundraising programme for 1,200 athletes. The aim was to give athletes the best preparation possible ahead of next summer’s Games.
Each athlete will report back to their respective sports and fellow athletes following the day’s events. The Summit included a tour of the Olympic Park, taking in the impressive Velodrome, Aquatics Centre and Basketball Arena.
With the aim of raising up to £25million overall, Team 2012 funds are invested in key areas including coaching, travel to competitions, medical support, sports psychology and kit and equipment.
Team 2012 contributes to a world class programme of support which will help ensure that British athletes are the best prepared, best equipped, best supported and most ambitious group of elite sportsmen and women possible at London 2012.
BMX cyclist Liam Phillips said:
“It’s really great to hear from some of our greatest Olympians and Paralympians about how they prepared for the Games, and to learn from their experiences. I was lucky enough to go to Beijing in 2008, but a Home Games will be unlike any other. I think any small advantage we can get like this via Team 2012 for our preparation will help give us the edge next summer, and as the margins in sport are so fine, that’s really valuable.”
The 11-time gold medallist and Visa Ambassador Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said:
“There will be a huge expectation on any athlete competing at London 2012, and it’s vital that this is channelled positively and doesn’t inhibit performance in any way. Thanks to the Summit, hosted by Team 2012 and Visa, myself and the other former athletes will be able to share what we’ve learned through our years of competing and make sure that each and every athlete performs to the best of their ability at London 2012”.