I've had another fantastic weekend!
On the Saturday of Bank Holiday weekend, the five of us (Olley, Bex, Charlie, Billy and me) plus Charlie's lovely girlfriend Hannah headed to the Olympic stadium. The British University Athletics Championships were being staged at the Olympic venue as a 'London Prepares' test event, to make sure that all the relevant wheels have been oiled and are running smoothly. We managed to get some tickets for the real thing in August, but not for any athletics, so this was a chance to get a feel of what the summer will bring.
As we walked through the Park, after a smooth and speedy security check, you could sense the excitement and anticipation that will electrify the air come the Olympics, when there will be thousands of people, with music playing, flags flying and big screens relaying the action from inside the stadia and pools to add to the atmosphere. Even though the weather was miserable (even by British Bank Holiday standards) – bone-achingly cold, and then raining as well – we could imagine what it will be like with blue skies and sunshine. It's all very impressive – I took some pictures so you can see for yourself. Lord Seb Coe was there giving interviews to the press about the Grand Opening of the Olympic Park and Stadium – I heard him say that he was overwhelmed with how far we have come from the moment he stood at the top of a tower block of flats looking down on a rubbish dump full of old fridges – that is where the athletics track is now!
And one of the first to race on that track was a friend of ours, Pippa Woolven, a schoolmate of Charlie and Hannah's, who was competing in the 2000m steeplechase. Pip has been developing into a fabulous athlete, with a couple of UK schoolgirl titles and GB under 21 honours to her name in the past year or so. We were hoping for great things, but never expected such an exciting morning…she won the event in a Championship record and personal best time and was the FIRST PERSON EVER TO RECEIVE A GOLD MEDAL IN THE OLYMPIC STADIUM!!!! She ran the most amazing race, perfectly timing a storming finish to overtake the leader with 20 metres to spare. She was brilliant over the energy sapping hurdles, and gained metres on everyone else over the water jump – a true sign of a world class steeplechaser.
I was so delighted for her – she was so excited about the whole experience and said when we saw her afterwards that it was almost like she had won an Olympic Gold! I think she could go a long way towards that goal – not only does she have the longest legs! and lots of physical talent, but she has a great attitude too. Winning at the highest level is often in the mind as much as the body – Pippa has both! You watch out for her – not in the Olympics this year (she has the World Junior Championships in her sights for this summer) but I'd put money on Pippa being on the plane to Rio 2016.
As a thank you to Pippa for giving us such an exciting day, I have ordered her something that is rather exciting for QVC. So much so that I'm getting up early on my usual day off to bring it to you on Monday's Morning Show.
As a former British athlete myself (see photo of me in my GB gear!) I've been asked to launch the first item in a collection by Links of London to support Team GB.
Available online now – item number 604490) It's a unisex friendship bracelet in woven blue and red cord with a chinese knot fastening with a silver plated bar inscribed with the words Team GB. It's adjustable between 5.2 and 9.3 inches, and at just £20 including p+p, I think it's the perfect way to show your support for and belief in our team this summer. I already have mine, and Pippa's is on it's way!
Perhaps you can join me on Monday at 9am for the Morning Show to have a first look at it, and I'll be bright and early for you (well, early – not sure about the bright!) every day next week on the Morning Show. Hope you can catch a few moments, at least…