Standing at trackside at the Alexander Stadium in his 1984 British Olympic rain-suit yesterday, Roald Bradstock was asked if he could recall the last time he made the rostrum at a national championships cum major games trials. "Er, no," the veteran javelin thrower and award-winning artist replied. "But, then again, my memory goes a little bit, so I'm not quite sure … Where am I?"
The 50-year-old was at his eighth Olympic trials and just about to step on to the podium to collect his first national medal since 1991. He finished second back then as he did yesterday, courtesy of an opening round 72.73m throw that broke his own world record for an over 50. Lee Doran, the winner with 79.72m, was not even born when Bradstock competed with Sebastian Coe at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Bradstock was also a British Olympian in Seoul in 1988. Now resident in Atlanta, he needed to throw 82m yesterday to make a home Olympics but became the oldest national championship medal winner since 52-year-old Sandy Smith finished second in the hammer in 1936 – another accomplishment to add to a list that includes the US Olympic art prize and the world records for throwing a goldfish and an iPod.
"I see this as performance art," said Bradstock, a sight to behold throwing in his 1984 Olympic vest, and with self-designed Union Jack leggings and cap.