Olympics 2012 - Heroes Board

Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott - heroes all.  But behind them all stands the towering hero of heroes, Dave Brailsford, who has shaped the Team GB cycling team into the force we see today.

 

Did you hear him today, trying to explain to the BBC presenters the secret of success?  To take a thousand individual elements and improve each one by just 1% - and so effect a 1000% improvement all round.  It's classic management, as promoted in the late 1980s by the probably-now-forgotten Tom Peters.  But it works.

 

Dave tried to explain, for example, that simply ensuring athletes washed their hands properly was important.  It could lessen their chance of catching a cold or other infection which might lay them low and damage both their fitness and their performance.  The daft TV presenters didn't get it at all and turned Dave's sage words into a bit of a joke.

 

So, all hail Dave Brailsford.  He is a worthy addition to my Heroes Board for his sound management sense which has taken the Team GB cyclists to Golden Glory. 

OK, it's hardly her fault that her Dad was a bit of a turn-off at the end of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.  And we did see you wincing, Stella, when he waved his little Union Flag and tried to lead the singing at another Olympic sporting venue a few days ago.  But, hey, who hasn't been embarrassed by their Dad on occasions? It's what fathers are for after all.

 

And I think Stella deserves her place on my Olympics 2012 Heroes Board for the Team GB squad's outfits which have looked unfailingly smart and comfortable, whatever the discipline, and have shown off our national flag quite beautifully.  Not every nation has been so well served by any means.  We have seen some real horrors - and I am sure the Australian squad would have fared better if dressed by Stella. But they weren't (I'm very pleased to say...)

 

And I don't blame her at all for wanting to distance herself from the white and gold "Elvis" costumes which our team was forced to wear for the Opening Ceremony.  Why on earth didn't we just leave it to Stella?

OK, so my Olympic Heroes Board has gone into overdrive and my typing finger has got stuck on the exclamation mark key.  The amazing Jess Ennis, finally realising her potential and reducing us all to tears! Mo Farah, fighting off all opposition! Greg Rutherford leaping to Gold! Andy, Pete, Alex and Tom - the coxless four! Sophie and Kat, powering across the water at Eton Dorney! Laura, Dani and Jo going for gold in the Velodrome! Ben in a boat! And Andy Murray, finally triumphing on that patch of England's green and pleasant land which is forever Wimbledon.

 

The best bit about winning Olympic Gold is that nobody can ever take the honour off you.  World Champion? Well someone, sooner or later, will run, swim or jump that little bit faster, higher or stronger.  But the success of an Olympic Gold Medal lasts forever.

 

However, as I have emphasised before, the Olympics Heroes Board is prepared to mark a different kind of heroics too.  So raise a big cheer, please, for Alan Watkinson!  "Who?" I hear you ask.  Well, Alan Watkinson was the inspirational PE teacher at Oriel Junior School in Hanworth, West London, who recognised Mo Farah's early promise, took him under his wing and set him on the path which led to gold yesterday. 

 

All over the country, I suspect, there are other PE teachers, quietly inspiring future generations - maybe not of Olympic Gold medal winners but certainly of kids who will grow up loving sport and all the very best of what it stands for.  And how do I know? Because I'm proud to say that one of my own lovely daughters is one of them.

 

Let's hear it for the Unsung Heroes of sport!

The next person to make my Olympics 2012 Heroes Board isn't even an Olympian.  Its Thomas Heatherwick, who designed the amazing Olympic cauldron.  It's made up of 204 copper petals (OK, I thought they were kettles, as readers of the Daily Blog will know) representing all the countries competing in the Games.  I love the fact that each country will be able to take their copper petal (kettle) home with them (though I do wonder what they will actually do with them.)

 

Plus, Thomas Heatherowck designed the iconic, love-it-or-loathe-it East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton, which is shaped like a giant piece of driftwood washed up on the beach.  I love it - and I love TH's Olympic cauldron.  A worthy place on the Heroes Board for you, Mr Heatherwick.  It may not be the greatest honour you receive but it's the only one at my disposal!

Well, of course Bradley Wiggins has to make it onto the Heroes Board.  Not just because he was the first British winner of the Tour de France.  Not even because, in winning his Olympic Gold for the Individual Time Trials, he became our most prolific Olympian.  No, it's the fact that he has made sideburns a fashion statement that propels him straight onto the Heroes Board.  Way to go, Wiggo!

Latest comments

15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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12.06 | 02:31

I love that you talk to your plants ... I used to on my allotment ... seemed perfectly rational !

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