Revisiting Team GB's 'up-and-comers': Did their Olympic dreams come true? - Olympic News - Olympics - The Independent

Revisiting Team GB's 'up-and-comers': Did their Olympic dreams come true?

 

Exactly two years before Danny Boyle lit up the skies of
East London with an opening ceremony to rival the best, The Independent explored
the Olympic dreams of Team GB's up-and-comers.

After 16 days in the pursuit of glory, we revisit the same athletes to see how they fared.

Greg Searle

The Olympic veteran clinched bronze at Eton Dorney after returning to rowing from ten years of retirement and spending the last two years fighting for a spot in Team GB. “Since 2010 I established a place in the 8,” he said, “and I was a solid member of the team: I was never the top guy, never the bottom guy.” It may not be the gold that fuelled his return, but for Greg “it was entirely worth it, if only to feel justified in the collective glory of this Olympics.

His eyes turn now to a well-earned holiday, a puppy for his children, and to delivering the Olympic legacy, encouraging children to aspire towards the lifestyle of “olympians, rather than footballers and footballers wives.”

Heather Fell

As a modern pentathlete Heather won silver in Beijing and in 2010 London couldn't come quickly enough. However, after a tough season and a disappointing World Championships she failed to make the two-woman team. “Im sorry I couldn't add to the Team GB medals,” she said, “I didn't even make the team and that’s a big disappointment.”

Despite missing out on a British bib, Heather has made herself a key player in Olympic punditry. “I've become a bit of a media whore,” she joked. After gaining her press accreditation last week she helped report for the BBC and Radio 5live.

Jess Varnish

The team sprint world record holder had perhaps a harder Games than any of Team GB's 541 athletes. After breezing through qualification and the quarter-finals, Varnish and her partner Victoria Pendleton were disqualified for switching leader outside the permitted zone.

“I have no issue with the decision,” she said, “even though I don’t intend ever looking at the video, it would just break my heart. I’m devastated but you must have rules and regulations in sport and we broke them no matter how much it hurts me to say that.”

The daughter of a cycling family, Jess has the sport in her blood and is now looking forward to Rio in 2016.

Andy Tennant

For the midlands cyclist London 2012 had the added significance of his inaugural games. As a member of the Men's Pursuit team alongside Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas, Andy had the opportunity to contribute to the gold they went on to win last week. However, having failed to qualify for the four-man racing troupe Tenant was forced to watch from the sidelines as Team GB rode into the record books. He will return as a professional racer for Ralpha-Candor-Sharp next year.

Tim Brabants

After reaching the K1 final the Kayaker had the opportunity to add a fourth medal to his gold from Beijing and two bronzes from Sydney.

However, after undergoing surgery on his right pectoral last year, he finished a disappointing 8th. “The last couple of years has been a bit of an uphill struggle,” he said. “Firstly to make it back into a kayak after 2 months in a sling, then to make the GB team before the battle to qualify for the Games.

“I'd love to compete in Rio,” he added. “Without doubt I will keep a big involvement in my sport and the games. If not as an athlete maybe as a coach or team doc!”

Liam Tancock

The backstroke specialist arrived at the Olympic village no stranger to success, having medalled early in his career. “London 2012 was always going to be special,” he said, “I was really excited about coming to the Games, and its lived up to and beyond everything I thought it would be: from the collection of the team kit to first time I walked out in front of that amazing crowd.”

In the 100m he finished 5th and narrowly missed bronze in the 4x100m medley relay. “My next target is definitely Rio,” he concluded. “I can't wait, it'll be a hard four years, lots more training, but I love racing.”

Chris Walker-Hebborn

The Bath-based swimmer competed in the 200m and 100m backstroke, narrowly missing the finals in the latter. “I'm disappointed with my swims,” he revealed, “I was more than capable to compete in the final, but my primary target was to make the team and do it in style”

Following the success his training partner Michael Jamieson, Chris will keep the same routine for the foreseeable future despite fitness issues this Summer. “It's been an emotional year, I'll be back in early mid-September and looking forward to the next four years: time to find the winning swim and perfect it.”

Marcus Bateman

The 29-year-old fought hard for his spot in Team GB, but was eventually appointed the bitter-sweet position of the spare man in the men's 8. “I was incredibly disappointed to not be in the starting team,” he said, “It was like someone saying: 'okay, you're not going to get a medal today'.”

The glory of the show compensated for Marcus' loss. “It was amazing,” he explained, “the volunteers were exceptional, you got a standing ovation just for reaching the centre.”

Adding to the experience, the rower was finally able to taste success, if not on the traditional sense: “getting mobbed at the Olympic park because everyone thought I was Greg Rutherford, thats a moment I'll never forget.”

Tom Stalker

The boxer emerged from obscurity in 2009 with a silver medal in the European amateurs and trained hard to be awarded his country's team captaincy and the number 1 seed in the light-welterweight division.

But he lost to Mongolian advisory Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg in the quarter-final by one point, a decision Team GB appealed without success. "He's devastated because he wanted to win a medal in his home Olympics,” said Stalker's coach Dave Alloway. “He'd trained so hard for it, so to be one point away from a medal, one scoring blow, that's what hurts."

Jazz Carlin

The Swansea-based 200m competitor failed in her bid to claim an individual place in Team GB. “It was really hard to watch the Olympics and not be a part of it,” she admitted.

As a world and European relay bronze medallist - and a winner of a silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - she had hoped to at least claim a place in the relay 4x200m relay. But after a sting of illnesses it was not to be. “It was a really difficult year,” she said, “I came down with glandular fever, my immune system took a big knock.”

“But there's still other Olympics and I still feel young and capable. Jess Ennis came back from injury and won I medal, I take some confidence from that.”

Zoe Smith

Despite only committing to full-time training last year, the 18-year-old broke the GB women's weightlifting record with a clean and jerk of 121 kg and finished second in her group, nineteenth overall.

“The competition went well, but it could have gone better,” she said, “I only got 3 out of 6 lifts, and I've lifted more in training. The crowd was amazing: it was the hardest lift of my life and I could only do it because they were there.”

“The atmosphere in the camp is amazing,” she added, “especially with all the medals. I feel a bit undeserving of it, these guys are superstars, but maybe it'll be me one day.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week