Former record breaking athlete David Moorcroft is confident that the current crop of athletes in Coventry & Warwickshire has what it takes to compete for medals at the London Olympics in 2012.
The Coventry born Commonwealth gold medallist feels the up and coming talent within the region can go one better than himself and challenge at the highest level in both the Olympics and Paralympics in three years time.
“I think Coventry and Warwickshire can provide medallists in both the Olympics and Paralympics. I’m not too sure who they are yet and that’s one of the beauties of it. “
“You know the ones who are already there, but you don’t know which athletes can make that transition quickly and that’s the beauty of sport.”
He added, “there are some exceptional people coming through, particularly on the Paralympics side who could do wonderfully well in London.”
Moorcroft, who remains the last non-African to set a 5000m World Record, emphasises the importance transforming the country successfully in the same way the Sydney games did back in 2000. But an Olympic vibe must be spread throughout the country, something that has been lacking in previous events.
“Occasionally you get an Olympic games that can transform and for me Sydney was that games. It transformed Australian sport, they did incredibly well and it gave an incredible confidence to the nation of Australia.”
“What London will try to do is take the games to the rest of the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England. It is important that Coventry & Warwickshire has a part of that Olympic experience; if London can do that then it will be something quite special.”
Coventry & Warwickshire has an important part to play in the build up to the biggest sporting event on the planet and the former Chief Executive of the British Athlete Federation predicts the Olympic vibe will come sooner rather than later.
“A lot of stuff will be happening in this area, there are six key projects that people can become involved with and even if you’re not part of the London experience you can be part of it here.”
“The Godiva Festival next year will have a strong Olympic theme and we will and make sure it’s not just about sport, but Olympic as in culture, dance, music and the wider elements.”
There is much pressure on the home nation to deliver not just medals, but the most successful Olympic Games in history and Moorcroft believes that this will be judged on the success of Team GB.
“Athletics has got enough money in the cycle to more than support the athletes who have got a chance of winning medals in London, but the most important thing is what is in the heart, the legs and the minds of the athletes and money can’t buy that.”
“You can have the best facilities in the world. You can have the best organisation in the world. You can have great transport and all those things, but the British public will judge the success of the Olympic Games in Britain by the success of Team GB.”