The Olympics are coming and it's not just Londoners who are getting excited either, the whole country seems to be at fever pitch as the world's greatest sporting event (not that I'm biased) kicks off on our very own doorstep.
Team GB will be under huge pressure to perform but they will have the vocal and passionate home support willing them on so hopefully there will be plenty of British athletes who thrive on that and spurred on to boost the medal count.
Of course we expect the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington who are now part of British Olympic history to perform but who else can we look to this summer to stand out, capture the fans' attention and create their own unique memorable moment? For me, my favourite moments are those that come from nowhere — like Kelly Holmes overcoming illness, injury and at the age of 34 to win not just one but two gold medals in the 800m and 1500m during Athens 2004.
I believe the 2012 standout moments will actually come from unexpected athletes who are currently flying under the radar for the British public and will deliver that element of surprise. Look no further than high jumper Robbie Grabbarz, who has recently jumped a lifetime indoor best of 2.36m at a Diamond League meeting in New York and won gold at the European Championships in Helsinki.
I personally know his trainer who told me that he was losing his way somewhat and wasn't focused enough. He even lost his lottery funding in 2011 after a poor season but he has bounced back, come from nowhere and recorded the highest outdoor jump this year in Rome. If he gets it right at the Olympic Stadium, copes with the tension and manages his nerves the north Londoner could go on to become a household name all over Britain.
My other tip for stardom is Zoe Pablo Smith. Zoe's dedication to weightlifting and her rise in the sport is remarkable given that she's only been competing in the sport for the last four years. Gold is probably too much to expect this time around but a medal is definitely possible with the 20% uplift effect and being so young attractive and articulate she will make headlines if she gets anywhere near there.
My cherished memorable moment came in the Barcelona 92 Olympics, when I won bronze in the 400m Hurdles. I truly felt I was running amongst greatness that day in an era of remarkable athletes. Having set a new British Record, which still stands today, I still finished eight metres behind the Olympic champion, Kevin Young, who smashed the great Edwin Moses' nine year world record in the process of winning gold.
Whatever happens this summer, I'm sure our country will be extremely proud of Team GB as I know from experience that these guys will give it their all and do their best to make sure that we all have something to celebrate during the Olympics.
- Sports & Recreation
- Rebecca Adlington