By Ben Hart
Biting into a medal has become a popular camera pose for elite athletes, but weightlifting sensation Chris Murray had to be a little careful after his Commonwealth Games gold.
The Guildford-born star chipped his tooth just 48 hours prior to competing at Birmingham 2022.
Thankfully, an on-site dentist stepped in, and Murray was all set to break a Commonwealth Games record.
“That really affected how much I could eat because any time I ate something or drank something, it was really hurting,” explained Murray, on the SportsAid Vault podcast.
“But we have the dentist on site who fixed me up straight away. And the day before I was all good to go.”
Each episode of the SportsAid Vault Podcast provides listeners with unique insights into the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The second series of the podcast, hosted by BBC Sport presenter, commentator, and reporter Tom Gayle, is inspired by the Team England Futures programme, being delivered by SportsAid on behalf of Commonwealth Games England and Sport England and saw over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff attend Birmingham 2022.
Asked by double Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad whether Murray had allowed himself to gorge at the athletes’ food hall since topping the rostrum, the 22-year-old said: “Do you know what, I have probably eaten less in the last 48 hours than I did going into it.
“The last 48 hours have been so hectic. I have never snacked on bars and drinks and stuff like that, but I also have not really had much time actually.”
Preparations were a little smoother prior to that, as Murray and teammates attended events across in Birmingham, hoping to enjoy the action but also to get a feel for the roar of a home crowd.
“That crowd is something that I have never experienced,” said Murray. “We made a big effort to try and get out to some of the competitions before and just to experience what that noise was going to be like.
“But until you step on that platform, and you are there, and all those shouts are targeted towards you, you don't know what it's going to be like. And it was truly incredible.”
Murray secured victory with a 181kg clean and jerk, the equivalent weight of a pygmy hippo. He was made to wait for victory though, as Australian Kyle Bruce seemed to have snatched victory before the jury stepped in, allowing Murray’s celebrations to ensue.
“It was hard not to celebrate after every lift with the noise that they were making,” added Murray.
“I came off that platform just so happy with how I performed that I was just so overwhelmed.
"I went back, I hugged my coaches and then I went to the back room and just broke down, it was just so overwhelming.”
No country won more weightlifting gold medals than Team England at Birmingham 2022, and Murray hopes the Games have helped to shine a new light on the sport.
With that success comes greater publicity and attention, something Murray is still coming to terms with. Though he does at least have his winning smile back.
“Just being a part of that, making weightlifting a little bit more accessible, showing it to people that might not have seen it before and maybe getting a few more people into the sport is just something that I'm just so happy to be a part of,” said Murray.
“But I am waiting for that big penny to drop. We are still getting stopped and asked for photos.”
The SportsAid Vault Podcast is live and available to listen to now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and Acast! You can find out more about Team England Futures by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.