August 13, 2012, by Harry Waddle

Rio hopeful inspired by home Games

Economics student and Rare Rising Star winner Kike Oniwinde is one of Team GB’s brightest javelin hopefuls for Rio 2016. Here she shares her London 2012 experiences and explains how they have motivated her to reach the Olympic Games in four years time.

After seven years of preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games, it has now all come to a dramatic end. The aim was to ‘inspire a generation’ and ‘leave a lasting legacy’ which I believe London has accomplished. 

The inspirational fortnight of sport kept me glued to my TV and laptop non-stop, especially during the athletics slots. Plans had to be changed and scheduled around the Olympics just so that I didn’t miss out on the entertainment but enjoyed it live as it happened.

I knew I was not alone. Twitter made the Olympics that much more exciting because it was easy to share your thoughts and joys at every and any moment with hashtags like ‘#ProudToBeBritish’ and ‘#BackTheTeam.’ Admittedly on many occasions I had to tear myself away to go training, but knew that it was the only way to help me become an Olympian in my own right.

Truly inspirational

There were a considerable amount of standout performances for me that were beyond exceptional and truly motivating for my own Rio 2016 aim.

The Games saw a number of youngsters take home medals, with Gabrielle Douglas winning the women’s all round gymnastics final at just 16 years old and Keshorn Walcott, 19, producing an unexpected win in the men’s javelin. They, plus others, really emphasised that age doesn’t matter and if you have the talent and the belief then anything is possible.

Super Saturday, which saw Jess Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah gain gold medals one after each other, was my highlight of the games.  I screamed, cheered and jumped for joy in my living room as if to live the moment with them. To think that they rose above the pressure to perform was phenomenal and a goal that I pray I achieve.

A front row seat

I was fortunate enough to be given a free ticket by the UKAthletics to watch the women’s javelin final in the Olympic Stadium, a night which also saw the men’s 200m, 800m and triple jump final taking place.

It was a truly inspirational night. To imagine that in four years time I could be in the same position was exciting. The javelin competition itself saw Barbara Spotakova defend her title unrivalled with the rest of the field competing for silver and bronze.

I also watched David Rudisha throw out the 800m tactic book and sprint the whole distance in a world record time and witnessed Usain Bolt storm to 200m gold to cement his place as a legend – a truly unforgettable night!

For me Rio 2016 has always been the aim but I will not know if I am going until that year comes. However something London 2012 has taught me is that I have to work extremely hard, push myself to the limit and really want it. The short term aims are the European U23 championship next year and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 where I aim to start making my mark.

You can follow Kike on Twitter @keekz_xo or find out about the University’s other talented young athletes with an eye on Rio in our online edition of Exchange: London 2012 Olympic Games Special.

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