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Posts Tagged ‘London 2012 Olympics’

Background to Paula Radcliffe: Highs and Lows

Posted by elinord on November 7, 2008

 
 

 

Paula Radcliffe impressed us all with her win at this years New York Marathon.

 

Competing on one of the toughest marathon courses, her 3rd New York City title was a positive result after her set-back at the Beijing Olympics.

 

Since the win she has shown a new craving for the London 2012 Olympics, admitting, “I know the odds probably get less each time, but my whole philosophy is ‘keep trying, keep persevering and keep going back there’”.

 

Past it?

 

She will be 38 years-old when the London Olympics come around but refuses to accept that she is too old to compete for medals, “I do believe that I still have the chance to have another shot in 2012.”

 

Many have speculated that she has had her running hay-days. After all, she has achieved nearly 20 gold medals since she began her running career in 1992 and is planning to have her second child by 2011.

 

Mary Wittenberg, the race director for the New York marathonbelieves that Radcliffe is an asset to the sport, “Last year Paula’s win, after having Isla only 10 months before, had a ripple effect throughout New York City and beyond.”

 

However, there have been occasions where her turbulent career has led to doubt among her of her British fans.

 

The criticism she faced from the media, especially after she retired from a race at the 2004 Athens Olympics, took aback.

 

In an interview with the Independent she reflects back on the negative attention, “it helped me to toughen up and not to waste time and energy worrying about what critics think and say.”

 

Highs and Lows

 

Her determination has always been indisputable, with her significant victories in winning eight marathons over-shadowing her failures to medal in track events during the last decade.

 

However, her achievements at world-class level have been blighted by discouraging performances that have seen her miss out on medaling.

                                                                                                                                     

Radcliffe in Tears in Beijing. Courtesy of Daily Mail.co.uk

Radcliffe in Tears at Beijing. Courtesy of Daily Mail.co.uk

 

Pivotal Defeats

Missed out on an Olympic medal coming 4th in the 10000m at Sydney 2000

 

Failed to finish at Athens 2004

 

Failed to medal in Beijing 2008, 23rd place in 10,000m

In the past, photographs of the tear stained long-distance runner have emerged, capturing Radcliffe’s defeat, but the London 2012 Olympics can expect to forget them.

 

BBC commentator Brendan Foster agrees with Radcliffe, “I believe she could be Britain’s best hope for a gold medal in 2012.”

 

Foster realizes her last two Olympic performances were heartbreaking, but sees her lack of racing in athletic events as a bonus.

“She’s barely raced in the last three years and I think this could be a blessing in disguise.”

 

Proving them wrong

 

Radcliffe is determined to maintain her world-class status by focusing all her energies on preparation for 2012.

 

Ingrid Kristiansen, the former Norwegian record-breaking marathon runner warns of the dangers in ‘over-training’, advising “If she wants to win in London, I am afraid she cannot keep going with so much training for four more years without having a lot of injuries”.

 

Radcliffe has spent her life proving people wrong; this years New York marathon, in the world championships in Helsinki, in New York three years ago after the disaster of the Athens Olympics.

 

Hopefully 2012 will bring the success the MBE athlete craves.

Elinor D. Davies (elinor.d.davies@my.westminster.ac.uk)

 

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