BRITISH high jumper Martyn Bernard admits he’s finding it hard not to let his imagination run wild with the prospect of competing in the London Olympics suddenly a very real proposition.
Bernard is yet to qualify for next summer’s Games and faces stiff competition to do so from the likes of Beijing silver medallist Germaine Mason.
But having already visited the Olympic Stadium, Bernard can’t help but wonder what it would be like to compete for a medal in front of 80,000 patriotic British fans and realise a boyhood dream.
“I’ve been down to the Olympic Stadium to see what it’s like,” he told City A.M. yesterday at an event in Trafalgar Square to mark a year until the start of London 2012.
“It’s hard not to stand there and think what it would be like to be there in a year’s time competing against the best in the world.
“It feels like we’re building to a massive party and I can’t wait for it to start. It’s hitting home what a massive event this will be.”
Bernard, 26, cites Linford Christie’s gold medal run in the 100m final at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as the moment that inspired him to pursue a career in track and field.
And two decades on, the Wakefield-born athlete hopes his performances in London will inspire a new generation of Olympians.
“We’re going to see people on the track performing to the highest standards, doing some amazing things,” he said.
“Hopefully there will be a generation of kids taking notice and thinking ‘yeah I’d like to be a part of that’ and get involved in athletics.”