December 9 2013 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , London Olympics correspondent
Friday, July 27, 2012
Over the course of a season you are going to get injuries. The best part is, most likely, you will have plenty of time to get over it and return to action with only a bit of frustration on the sidelines to digest.
But imagine having to take to training and prepare with the edge you need to make you a serious medal contender at an Olympics.
Cotton wool isn’t really an option. Crossing your fingers won’t work either.
Goldie Sayers has done the Olympics thing twice before – but of course, this one is different for anyone of a Team GB disposition.
She is just about one of ours too. From Newmarket, but a regular visitor to the UEA Sportspark and in the past, javelin star Sayers has been more than willing to help out with the young throwers at City of Norwich Athletic Club.
And the 2012 Olympics? Well I remember speaking to her in 2009 – and even then it was London chatter that filled the air. She was happy to smile and mull it all over.
You imagine things have been a little more fraught recently.
During the superb smashing of her own British record at last week’s London Grand Prix, Sayers suffered a ligament tear in her throwing elbow. And she revealed on Thursday she will now have to compete at her third Olympics nursing the injury.
Clearly, Sayers has no intention of missing out on her home Games – and the 30-year-old has said she will definitely compete through the pain.
Whether it is the right thing to do only becomes apparent with hindsight. Fortunately she seems to have some useful shoulders to lean on as she builds up to her event.
“It’s no great revelation that an athlete gets injured,” said Olympic silver and bronze medallist Steve Backley – who will help Sayers deal with competing through the injury, and hopefully going one better than her fourth in Beijing.
“It’s very common. It’s stuff that you learn to deal with. It’s more about how these athletes cope with them. When you talk about an injured elbow in javelin, it is so typical. You have got an injured elbow a lot of the time. Permanent damage? With soft tissue, is there such a thing? The body heals.
“It’s not all bad. It won’t necessarily give her the freedom to just walk into there and be completely confident.
“A lot of the athletes carry niggles. It’s how they cope with it. The British team has a wonderful medical team around it and she will be given the best support she possibly can.
“The challenge for her is getting through qualification. If she can do that she has got a chance in the final. It might just be the thing that focuses her mind and brings everything in tune.”
I doubt anyone in 2009 would have claimed they wanted an injury in the week leading up to the Games to help focus their mind – but Backley speaks from experience.
Sayers injury has reportedly responded well to treatment at Team GB’s athletics training camp in Portugal, which should help given painkilling injections would merely make throwing difficult. Strapping and biting her lip will have to do.
• There a few theatres as big as the main press auditorium inside the London Olympics main press centre – and it was jam packed as Roger Federer and a press officer were dwarfed by the long top table laid out in front.
The Fed Express has won just about everything in tennis – even Olympic gold, albeit in the doubles. Rafa Nadal has pulled out of London after being unhappy with his preparation, meaning some of the questions fed Fed’s way actually included “So, we think you’ll win gold but...”.
For the record, I think he will win gold too. As someone who has competed at four Olympics and this summer will play at his second home of Wimbledon, it’s hard to envisage anything else from the world number one. It’s maybe even harder to understand why fourth at his first Games in Syndey remains his best singles result. And if Andy Murray isn’t too far behind, he will have done better than well.