Alan Campbell wins yet another medal for Team GB with bronze in the men's single sculls
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 03 August 2012
some Olympians, success takes a little while to sink in. When it came to rower
Alan Campbell today, he did not stop apologising for winning a bronze medal
until he saw footage of his mother screaming him to a medal
The Ulsterman almost collapsed as he emerged from the race which saw him collect Britain’s first medal in 88 years in the single sculls when he drew on every fibre of his being to secure third place against a fast-closing Swedish opponent.
Campbell, 29, whose commitment to his sport is such that he is to be found out training on Christmas morning in the belief that it is a sacrifice his opponents would not make, initially found it difficult to grasp his success, telling a television interviewer he was sorry it was not gold.
But when reporters showed him a recording of his mother, Jenny, as she roared him across the finishing line, he finally accepted he had, after all, done rather well.
He said: "I'm really pleased it is another medal for Britain. I'm just so sore, I'm so tired. It was disappointing to come away from the last Olympics with nothing. I'm proud and I'm pleased for the crowd. They really lifted me. Knowing almost 100 per cent of the shouts were for me, I knew it was now or never to secure a medal."
Mrs Campbell, while noting her son’s lack of stature, was delighted. She said: "I told the crowd he could do this and he's done it. I just screamed the whole way, I was willing him on. I always thought he had it in him. He's not the tallest but it was a gutsy, gutsy performance."
The former Army cadet was, according to his mother, something of a dark horse when it came to recognition of his sporting prowess.
She said: "In primary school he didn't show any sporting potential, what he did show was tremendous enthusiasm for sport and tremendous determination to get into sport. He tried lots and lots of different sports - football, rugby, cricket, tennis, swimming, archery and volleyball. But he showed absolutely no potential and didn't have any success in any of them. Then when he was 13, on my suggestion, he went down to the river and tried rowing. And he's never looked back."
The Coleraine-born rower is just one of a succession of Team GB stalwarts who proved their worth on the waters of the town's River Bann. Brothers, Richard and Peter Chambers, who won a silver medal this week in the lightweight men’s four, are also from Coleraine.
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Why Manchester City were willing to fork out $500m on stake in MLS
Champions League final: Biggest German invasion since the fifth century as Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you should know about the Champions League final
Champions League final preview: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
Champions League Final: Can Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund stop the Bayern Munich machine?
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.