Ridgeon on track for Atlanta team
Norman Fox witnesses the triumphant return of a never-say-die athlete
Sunday 26 May 1996
Although he had to hold off a stern challenge from last year's fastest Briton over the distance, Peter Crampton, he did so confidently though not comfortably in the presentable time of 49.87 seconds. From a distance, his hurdling looked impressive throughout a race that he started in front, leaving Crampton to do a great deal of hard work merely to get on terms approaching the last bend.
Ridgeon belied his lack of competitive edge by holding off Crampton, who knows there is now competition for Olympic vests. Not long ago Ridgeon would never have predicted such a situation. "There was a time when I was told I would never run again, let alone get an Olympic place."
He felt that this year he needed all the advantages of warm-weather training. "Here, though, it was windy and it felt cold to me, having been in South Africa. The wind messed up my stride pattern - it was very ugly. Then I looked at the time and I couldn't believe it. I was climbing those hurdles."
With Tessa Sanderson and now 29-year-old Ridgeon both in Britain's team for the Europa Cup in Madrid next weekend, there are obviously expanding possibilities for anyone else contemplating coming out of retirement. Lynn Davies, who became the first Welsh Olympic champion back in 1964, says he is not tempted.
Like Sanderson, Ridgeon was a World Cup silver medal winner. He was also second, ahead of Colin Jackson, in the 1987 World Championships. Unlike Sanderson, he has spent the last few years thinking more about a career in entertainment, though in his case not pantomime but television presentation.
He was 25 when achilles-tendon problems seemed to have ended a career that also included a European title. After the first damage in 1992 he went under the knife believing that he would soon recover. It took two more operations on the injury and a fourth to clear up scar tissue. Yet as with Sanderson, his comeback this season has quickly brought him the Olympic qualifying standard.
Latest in Sport
Danny Ings: Liverpool target wanted by Borussia Monchengladbach... who could get Burnley striker for just £260,000
Humiliated Brazil look to continue recovery at Arsenal
Marco Reus vs Theo Walcott: Which is the better option for Arsenal?
England vs Lithuania match report: Harry Kane fires in first Three Lions goal just 78 seconds into debut to put icing on the cake
'God, she's beautiful': Embarrassment for basketball player Nigel Hayes after microphone picks up comment about female reporter
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...