2012 Olympic hopefuls
With two years to go until the 2012 London Olympics, MF profiles three rising British athletics stars who could win medals for the UK.
Here at MF we like quirky athletes. Sprinter Usain Bolt's double sky point, footballer Peter Crouch's robot goal celebration and UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre’s post-fight body-popping get us pumped, so it's a given that a man who wears Aston Villa football socks while competing in major international high jump competitions – as 25-year-old Tom Parsons does – would get some love from us.
But wackiness isn't the only reason we're drawing your attention to this young Brummie. Parsons came eighth at the 2008 Olympics and also won that year’s Aviva UK National Championships with a massive jump of 2.30m (only 15cm off the world record). If he keeps improving, we reckon he's got a good chance of winning a medal at the 2012 Games. But don't just take our word for it – go and watch him do the Midlands proud at UKA's (United Kingdon Athletics) Aviva World Trials in Sheffield on 13th-14th February and at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on 20th February.
2009 was a life-changing year for 24-year-old London hurdler Will Sharman. When it began he wasn't even in the UKA squad, but by the time it finished he'd become one of its exciting prospects, having come fourth in the 110m hurdles at the 2009 Aviva World Championships in August with a personal best of 13.30sec.
Before becoming a member of the UKA team, Sharman was coached by former Gladiators referee John Anderson, and says the stern Scot is responsible for much of his track success. Having trained with Anderson during Gladiators tryouts a couple of years back, MF knows how good Anderson's motivational skills are.
Still, there's only so much a coach can do if their charges don't have bags of athletic flair and the hunger to go with it. Sharman possesses both, and we expect big things from him both at UKA events in 2010 and in the 2012 Olympics.
In 2007, this speedy Mancunian – the son of TV doctor Chris Steele (This Morning) – became the UK 400m champion, clocking a time of 45.70sec at the UKA National Championships. Steele went on to compete at the 2008 Olympics, where he won a first-round heat but was knocked out in the semi-final. He did, however, achieve a personal best of 44.94sec in Beijing, only 0.58sec outside the British record.
If the 25-year-old continues in this vein, we can expect big things from him at this year’s UKA meets and the 2012 Olympics.
Mitchum anti-perspirant and deodorant is proud to announce that it is the official sponsor of the UKA and the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland Athletics team. For more information about Mitchum and UKA events and for a chance to take part in a Mitchum Training Masterclass with members of UKA, go to www.uka.org.uk/sponsors/mitchum/
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