Olympic Gold -Welsh Legend speaks to Silverlinksnetwork

photoAlmost half a century has elapsed since the Tokyo Olympic Games when I won gold in the long jump but I still feel proud to belong to an elite band of British Olympic Champions.

My victory was an unexpected one but the two favourites who held the world record at the time, the American Ralph Boston and Igor Ter Ovanesyan from Russia were both struggling to cope with the heavy rain and gusting winds which greeted us in the final, conditions I had trained in back home in Wales and I seized my opportunity to take the gold medal.

Just a few months earlier, I had graduated from Cardiff metropolitan University, previously known as Cardiff training college as a physical education teacher. My three years of training there in excellent sporting facilities and inspirational lecturing staff provided me with the ideal preparation to compete in my first Olympic games.

Over the years Cardiff Metropolitan University has evolved to become a world class centre for sport, sport science and education and continues to develop and prepare aspiring young students for National and International competition in their chosen sports and careers.

For a small Nation of just 3 million people in a world of 6 billion we really do punch above our weight in sport, not just in our National game of rugby, but in a range of sports such as cycling where Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas won Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago.

Sport helps define us as a nation, we identify with our sporting heroes and one of my vivid memories is emerging from Cardiff railway station on my return from the Tokyo Olympics to be greeted by four thousand people who had turned out to welcome me home.

So I am pleased to see that whilst it is the London 2012 Olympics, Wales, and other parts of the UK are engaged with the games. The Olympic torch, one of the iconic symbols, will travel around the villages, towns and cities of Wales and I am thrilled to be involved as one of the bearers.

Wales will also play a unique role by staging the very first event of the Games. On July 27th at the millennium stadium in Cardiff, our team GB womens football team, play New Zealand, so the start of the Olympic programme is on our very doorstep.

We will also host more than 900 athletes and support staff from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Botswana and Trinidad in various locations around Wales. These pre games training camps in the build up to London will provide great opportunities to develop sporting, educational and cultural exchanges with them. A very positive games legacy for Wales together with the resulting economic benefits.

Perhaps our greatest engagement will be when out top Welsh athletes are selected to represent team GB and we will follow them as they strive against the best from the other 205 Nations. They will inspire and motivate the next generation of young Welsh sports men and women to emulate their feats. This for me is the true value of the Olympic games.

My role in the games is two fold, as President of U.K Athletics for the past 6 years I have helped oversee the planning and preparation for our athletes, and also as an ambassador for the British Olympic Association, sharing my experience with athletes, coaches, sponsors and stakeholders

London 2012 will be the only home Olympics most of us will experience in our lifetime. It will be a very special occasion to which Wales is making a very significant contribution.

                                                                                                                                                Lynn Davies C.B.E

                                                                                                                                                President UK thletics.

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