THEY are nearly upon us and the whole country is gearing up to celebrate the Olympic Games being held in our great country.
And, although all the sporting action will unfold in the capital 300 miles away, I don’t buy into the argument that the Games will be just for the people of London.
Apart from the obvious that people from Tynedale will be travelling down to spectate, the thrill of having the official flame through Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Hexham and Riding Mill whipped the district up.
Yet there is even more reason for the people of Hexham and district to be excited for the Olympics this year.
For the local crowd will be shouting on home grown talent in the form of Hexham 5,000m runner Nick McCormick and Hexham rower Matt Wells.
Adding another local ingredient to the mix is 1,500m runner Laura Weightman who, despite living in Alnwick and representing Morpeth Harriers, is a regular at Hehxam’s Wentworth Leisure Centre putting in the hours under the tutelage of former Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram, a resident of our very own Wall.
And if the trio’s appearance at the home Olympics doesn’t inspire, then nothing will I’m afraid.
Already a massive fan of the Olympics, my eyes will be fixed on the television screen even more than normal as I will be willing on the local athletes.
I can say that all three qualifiers are genuine, down to earth people, and they all deserve their spot under the global limelight.
After the torrid time Nick has experienced with injuries during his career, his appearance at the Olympics is heartwarming and he can be proud of battling hard to book his place there.
The persistence he has shown throughout will hold him in good stead and he will not be there just making up the numbers, hopefully a place in the final beckons.
London 2012 will be Matt’s fourth and final Games before hanging up his oars, and he is hell bent on adding to the bronze medal he secured in Beijing four years ago.
His chances, in my opinion, have been reduced after he was switched from the double to the quad, but he is definitely still in with a shout of ending on the podium.
Laura, at the tender age of 21, is the unknown quantity among the three but I would not be surprised to see her make the final of the 1,500m.
She will go to her first major championships with no fear and, if her blitzing performance in the Olympics Trials is anything to go by, she has the potential to cause shockwaves in the event.
All three need to be congratulated on breaking into the Olympic teams - a remarkable achievement in itself - and we can feel proud we can claim them as our own.
Published: July 5, 2012
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This week in... 1950Friday, December 15, 1950....
THREE watercolour paintings donated by Queen Mary were auctioned off to raise money for a new Darby and Joan club in Hexham.
A site had already been bought, but a further £6,000 was needed to run the club for the elderly.
The auction, opened by Viscountess Allendale, saw the paintings raise over £8 for the fund.