London: The involvement of the people of Great Britain as a whole has been one of the key features for the success of the London Olympics, according to former world and Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson.
“Just the support from everyone out here has been amazing. These Games have been a huge boost for sport in Great Britain — be it people in the streets or people who come to watch and or just about everyone has been inspired and engaged with the Olympics here. This is what Great Britain is all about,” Thompson told Gulf News when asked to sum up London 2012.
“You have to just have to look, especially at those competitions that have taken place in public parks like the triathlons and the road races. There have been millions of people coming out there and cheering the athletes, irrespective of their country. This is a true triumph for sport,” he added.
Thompson was one of the ambassadors for the 2012 London Games, highlighting the benefits that Olympics would bring to education and sport in British schools during the bidding process. That programme has been sensational with preliminary studies indicating that the country is embracing sport on a much higher level than before.
“The Games have been fantastic so far, buy we cannot put a legend on them till they are finished. The Games have thrown up some brilliant performances and to be honest if that has not inspired the kids, then it is going to be very difficult,” Thompson observed.
Thompson, one of the commentators here during the gruelling men’s Decathlon, was pleased with the success of the Olympics along with the medal haul of the host nation. “We [the hosts] have competed really well and everything seems to have gone really well. I thought the British athletes would do well, but I really did not think they would be so good,” he said.
With four world records, two Olympic gold medals, three Commonwealth titles and wins in the World and European Championships, Thompson is considered by many to be one of the greatest decathletes of all time along with Bob Mathias and Dan O’Brien.
Finding another Daley Thompson would be a great task indeed for his country.
“So far, there is no one to take over from me [in Great Britain],” Thompson conceded.
“One day, there may be someone who will take over from me but there is no one as yet. We have to find somebody. You have to be born a decathlete. If you are good enough then you will come out on your own, and so far we have no one here,” he added.