Rebecca Adlington hopes home support can recreate London 2012 atmosphere

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Rebecca Adlington poses in front of the mural in Manchester as part of the PurpleBricks Home Support campaign
Rebecca Adlington poses in front of the mural in Manchester as part of the PurpleBricks Home Support campaign

Having experienced first-hand the benefits of British support in London, Rebecca Adlington is backing a ‘Home Support’ campaign to boost British Olympic prospects this summer, writes Bella Butler.

The two-time Olympian claims British support at London 2012 was her most heart-warming experience in her final Games – and thinks the campaign will help athletes as they head to Tokyo without the presence of home fans.

The 2008 double gold medallist believes she was spurred to break the 800m world record due to the fans' support in Beijing.

“From Beijing, getting gold and getting the world record was my favourite memory. The crowds were just amazing,” said Adlington, who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.

“For London, one of my favourite memories was after the 800m. I was so proud to get a bronze medal, but I was upset as my time was not quite there. I thought I could have done better and I felt like I had let people down.

“But that was the beauty of having a home Games as I stood on the podium and the crowd started chanting 'Becky' and it was so heart-warming.

“I think the Purplebricks campaign is great. It is nice for these athletes, who are going to be so far away in Japan, that people are supporting them and people are excited.

“We do want to give that home support, and even though fans can't be out there, we will be really supporting them.

“It's been a long five years so kids would not have been old enough to remember it that well either so it’ll be brilliant to inspire them.”

Adlington is working with Purplebricks on their Home Support campaign and yesterday unveiled a specially commissioned mural in Manchester – one of 10 unique walls of art that will be appearing across the country to inspire home support for Team GB.

The unique murals, created by a local artist and school children, will appear in a pop-up 'relay' across England, Wales, and Scotland in the lead up to the Games in July.

Situated on a corner of Deansgate, the mural is placed at the heart of the city of Manchester.

The street artist, Alex Altano, had the help of local school children from Stanley Grove Primary Academy to put his vision for the mural together.

Altano said: “A lot of the children from Stanley Grove Primary got involved and started drawing what the Olympics meant to them. I was able to use different elements from that and put it into the mural. They had lots of ideas, which was great - the hard bit was narrowing them down!

Local school children, Sarah Stevenson, Rebecca Adlington and artist Alex Altano at the unveiling of the mural in Manchester.
Local school kids, Sarah Stevenson, Rebecca Adlington and artist Alex Altano at the unveiling of a mural in Manchester as part of PurpleBricks' Home Support campaign.

“Everything is supporting the runner from behind in the mural, like the Olympic torch, the Manchester bee, just as we will be from home.

“To me, it depicts home support and supporting the athletes which is what I wanted to achieve.

“I’m colour blind, so I really struggled working everything out and getting the colours right. But art is different to everyone, and it could encourage and inspire people to get involved in sport.”

Alesha Ijaz, 11, from Stanley Grove said: “It was so amazing to see the work being presented and real-life athletes!

“I am so proud and happy that our work has been presented. It is a part of Manchester now.

“Because of the mural, I will be watching the Olympics and supporting Team GB.”

Purplebricks is working with communities, athletes, and local artists to create commemorative murals for Team GB, encouraging the nation to show home support and get behind the athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Visit @PurplebricksUK or https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/team-gb

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