This month, I have created a light-hearted piece for BT Storytellers as we head into the last six to seven months of preparation for the Olympics in London this summer. The ONE Word allows a little more insight into Olympic athletes and to discover more about the individual behind the sporting persona.
The concept? Simple:
Ten questions, all to be answered using just ONE word (or as near to as possible!) All ten questions are the same for each athlete so that readers can compare and contrast the athletes’ answers.
My hope is, that if the piece draws enough attention, then other athletes will also take part in a regular ‘The ONE Word’ piece, with the ten questions changing for each set of participants.
If other BT Storytellers and/or the general public enjoy this piece, I’d be happy to hear from you and to receive ideas for further questions, which you and the public would like to ask. The questions (as you will see below) do not necessarily have to be sport related; it’s about providing a quick glimpse into the mindset and personality of these sportsmen and women. You can contact me via this website and follow me on Twitter here.
This is the very first ‘The ONE Word’ and I’d like to thank all the athletes who agreed to take part.
Dame Kelly Holmes specialised in the 800 metres & 1500 metres and won numerous medals during her athletics career - most notably a gold medal for both events at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2010, Kelly was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame. Her charity, DKH Legacy Trust works towards creating life chances for young people.
Greg Searle is an Olympic and World gold medallist rower. A steward of the Henley Royal Regatta, Greg has recently returned to international rowing, winning silver at both the 2010 and 2011 Rowing World Championships.
Nathan Stephens is a Paralympic field athlete, competing in the F57 Discus and Javelin. He is a Junior World gold medallist in both events and also in the Shot Put. Having finished fourth in the javelin in Beijing three years ago, Nathan is well on course for medal success at London 2012.
Jonathan Brownlee is the reigning World Sprint Triathlon Champion and this year finished second in the world with the conclusion of the Dextro Energy Triathlon World Championships in Beijing. Great Britain has never won a medal at the Olympics in the triathlon since the sport became a part of the Games in 2000. However, watch this space...
Alistair Brownlee is older brother to Jonathan (above) and was crowned World Champion this year in Triathlon’s season-ending Grand Final in Beijing. Britain is now the world’s leading elite triathlon nation. London 2012 is not far away and as far as Olympic medals are concerned, they may not be either!
Jemma Simpson competes in both the 800 metres and 1500 metres. She is the current and three times British champion over 800 metres. Jemma represented Great Britain at the last Olympic Games in 2008 and is recognised for her consistency - particularly so at major championships. Although she recently narrowly missed out on the renewal of her lottery funding, Jemma’s dedication and the target remain the same. London 2012 beckons...
Kelly Sotherton is a Commonwealth gold and Olympic and World bronze medallist in the heptathlon. Although this time last year Kelly announced her retirement from the event, she recently returned to heptathlon training. Having faced a career-threatening injury to her back, Kelly had, for a time, trained and competed as a 400-metre runner. However, despite losing her lottery funding, she is now back to training for the seven events of the heptathlon, with aims of making it into Team GB for London 2012.
1. What’s the one other sport you wish you competed in?
Kelly Holmes: Judo
Greg Searle: Cricket
Nathan Stephens: Sledge Hockey
Jonathan Brownlee: Football
Alistair Brownlee: Cycling
Jemma Simpson: Tennis
Kelly Sotherton: Skiing
2. Supposing there’s an emergency food shortage at the Olympic Village and you’re competing that very day. You have a choice of one food only – what do you choose?
Kelly Holmes: Pasta
Greg Searle: Shreddies
Nathan Stephens: Steak
Jonathan Brownlee: Pizza
Alistair Brownlee: Pasta
Jemma Simpson: Pasta
Kelly Sotherton: Pasta
3. You’re offered the opportunity to compete/train in any country in the world. Which country would you choose?
Kelly Holmes: South Africa
Greg Searle: Great Britain (IF THAT’S NOT ALLOWED – ITALY)
Nathan Stephens: Australia
Jonathan Brownlee: England (Yorkshire)
Alistair Brownlee: Bhutan
Jemma Simpson: America
Kelly Sotherton: South Africa
4. The powers that be decide that it would be a good idea for all athletes to have a pet bought for them that would act as a positive distraction between competition. What would your choice of pet be?
Kelly Holmes: Dog
Greg Searle: Boxer Dog
Nathan Stephens: Dog
Jonathan Brownlee: A puppy
Alistair Brownlee: Kestrel
Jemma Simpson: Dog
Kelly Sotherton: My cats
5. Which other Olympic or Paralympic sport would you be afraid of competing in?
Kelly Holmes: Swimming
Greg Searle: Show jumping
Nathan Stephens: High Dive
Jonathan Brownlee: Boxing
Alistair Brownlee: BMX
Jemma Simpson: Gymnastics
Kelly Sotherton: Skeleton bob
6. You’ve just won a medal in your event. You want to go out & celebrate, so ask someone to look after it whilst you do. Who are they?
Kelly Holmes: Friends
Greg Searle: My Kids (Josie and Adam)
Nathan Stephens: My girlfriend
Jonathan Brownlee: Dad
Alistair Brownlee: Dad
Jemma Simpson: Boyfriend (Chris Thompson)
Kelly Sotherton: My teddy
7. There’s an opportunity for you to learn another language. Which would it be?
Kelly Holmes: Spanish
Greg Searle: Of Love
Nathan Stephens: French
Jonathan Brownlee: French
Alistair Brownlee: French
Jemma Simpson: Chinese
Kelly Sotherton: Chinese (Mandarin)
8. Imagining at London 2012, that all athletes have to wear and listen to headphones whilst competing in their event, which song/singer/band/style would you listen to?
Kelly Holmes: ‘Simply the Best’ Tina Turner
Greg Searle: Billy Bragg
Nathan Stephens: Dubstep
Jonathan Brownlee: Nothing
Alistair Brownlee: Coldplay
Jemma Simpson: Michael Jackson – ‘Dangerous’
Kelly Sotherton: Kanye West/Jay-Z
9. You’re permitted to eat/drink something you’re not usually allowed to whilst training/competing. What would it be?
Kelly Holmes: Chocolate
Greg Searle: Flat White Coffee
Nathan Stephens: Dirty Kebab
Jonathan Brownlee: Chocolate
Alistair Brownlee: Guinness
Jemma Simpson: Chocolate
Kelly Sotherton: Chips & Coca-Cola
10. What are you thinking just before you are about to compete in your sporting event?
Kelly Holmes: Win!
Greg Searle: Breathe
Nathan Stephens: Smash it
Jonathan Brownlee: Training
Alistair Brownlee: I’m trying not to think!
Jemma Simpson: Win
Kelly Sotherton: Focus