Thursday, 15 October 2009

Lee McConnell - a sprinkling of sporting stardust

Visited the London Olympics site yesterday with Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, and Stephen Purcell, the leader of Glasgow City Council, the city that will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

While the politicians did their political thing, surveying the various half-built Olympic stadia in Stratford, the real star of the show stood quietly to one side, ruminating her chances of appearing on the track here in three years time.

Lee McConnell, Scotland's foremost track and field athlete, will be coming towards the end of the career by 2012 but she still holds every athlete's ambition of an Olympic medal.

She was very modest about her achievements yesterday, she's been in the medals at Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne, and she ran a season's best of 51.45 secs in the women’s 400m in Shanghai last month .

Injury put paid to her chances in the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics last year so the 31 year old runner is cautious about making it all the way to London in 2012. But just having an Olympic athlete there, looking out over the lorries, cranes, cables and mounds of earth, on a bleak October day, began to give me a tingle of anticipation for the event. It's going to be some show.

Another friendly face on the visit was Godric Smith, a former Downing St civil servant who was the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman for Tony Blair . He is now director of communications for the Olympic Delivery Authority. There is life outside politics and Godric appears to be enjoying his.

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