Olympians: Time for Olympic athletes to jump out of wheelie bin

Watching some of Britain's prospective Olympians train in the 80F heat of Cyprus this week I witnessed activity which was, frankly, dismaying.

Watching some of Britain's prospective Olympians train in the 80F heat of Cyprus this week I witnessed activity which was, frankly, dismaying.

One athlete was proceeding over a series of hurdles at what was no more than walking pace, pumping his arms and lifting his legs in exaggerated fashion. Didn't he realise that when it came to the heat of the action in Athens he wouldn't have time to stroll around?

Another so-called international performer was at least putting in a bit of effort as he sprinted down the straight, but even someone of the meanest intelligence could have told him he would have gone much faster had he not been been dragging a weight along the track. Talk about making life hard for yourself.

Deciding to get closer to the action in order to offer these misguided individuals the benefit of some much-needed common sense, I encountered something which caused me further deep misgiving - a large green plastic wheelie bin.

Athletes were apparently being encouraged to step into this bin, which was filled with ice and water, immediately after their exertions. The idea seemed to be to offer them a temporary coolbox which would help ease hot and swollen limbs.

Mark Lewis-Francis, one of our leading hopes for an Olympic sprint medal, showed a modicum of sense by choosing only to immerse his legs up to the knee. But Christ Tomlinson - sorry, there I go again, I'll come back to that - but Chris Tomlinson took the full plunge for the requisite five minutes, albeit that he kept his flowing blond locks dry.

With all due respect, what are our coaches thinking of? There may be some fleeting comfort in this ludicrous business, but does no one realise the potentially crippling mental price it involves? What are we saying to our brightest and best, on a daily basis? We are telling them: Get in the bin. We are telling them, yes, deep down we are telling them: You are rubbish.

It can't be allowed to go on.

The power of subliminal suggestion should never be underestimated. I found myself sitting next to Tomlinson's coach, Peter Stanley, a couple of months ago while flying to Budapest for the World Indoor Championships, and in chatting about his boy's prospects that weekend I mentioned that whenever I typed his name it always came out as "Christ" rather than "Chris". I said it might be a subconscious acknowledgement of the long jumper's long, centrally parted hair.

Stanley replied with a grim smile that young Tomlinson, whose performances had been lukewarm up to that point, needed to do the something good in Budapest otherwise he personally was going to crucify him.

I thought that a bit harsh. Fortunately, Tomlinson performed with sufficient honour to avoid the unhappy necessity. But for how much longer will his form endure now that he is undergoing regular demoralisation of the most insidious kind?

Obviously, I will be passing my views on to the relevant authorities. With the Olympics just a couple of months away, something needs to be done urgently.

While I'm at it, I'll be mentioning a couple of other topics requiring urgent attention. Firstly, I have noticed that many athletes race up and down or jump about before their event even begins. Message to athletes: You are wasting precious energy! Keep it for the competition.

Secondly, I constantly see competitors tying themselves up in knots as they prepare for events, doing the splits, bending this, pulling that, you name it...

Message to athletes: Stop! You'll do yourself a mischief!

As I say, all I can do is tell people. I can't force them to see sense. But if any of this helps our Olympic cause, even in the smallest degree, my efforts will not have been in vain.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PSV/PCV & HGV Mechanics

£29000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: PSV/PCV Mechanics & HGV mechani...

Recruitment Genius: Reprographics Operator

£12500 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest independent Reprogr...

Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher

£120 - £145 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher X2 Materni...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee