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.

News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

CCNP Network Engineer - Farnborough, £250 pd

£250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...

Technical Consultant Configuration, SQL, SQL Server

£55000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Technical Cons...

Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

£525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

Commercial IT Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home