Episode 5 Inspire: The Olympic Journey

Episode 5

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This month, our Olympic journey follows the story of three young


women. Talented, dedicated, strong. An inspiring trio, who are focused


on their goals, but never blinkered from life beyond sport. Balanced yet


resolutely passionate, three different women, three different


sports, three very different journeys. I have come to Manchester


to meet a young Welsh cyclist who stormed onto the Welsh -- to the


world stage earlier this year. A double world champion, pretty


impressive when you consider that Becky James is still only 22. Also


on Inspire: The Olympic Journey. Katherine Grainger gets a taste of


life on the road with skeleton world champion, Shelley Rudman, and


family. And Matthew Pinsent spends the day with Captain Heather


Stanning, as she adjusts to life after six months in Afghanistan. It


is so sad. You go away for so long, and then you come straight back to


training! We want to see how you have been inspired. Share a video or


picture of you inspired, what ever the sport, by e-mail or Twitter. We


will feature some of the best pictures on our website.


Hello, Becky. Nice to meet you. It's a gorgeous day! So you are from a


completely cycling crazy family? Are you the one who instigated it all?


Yes, I started off in primary school, in year six, and then went


from there, and everyone else got into it. My second youngest sister


has just got onto the Olympic development programme for mountain


biking, which is awesome. My other younger sister is just a demon in


whatever she does. She loves all sports. Your parents care 24-hour is


a day for a severely disabled daughter, your sister, Beth Allen.


That is incredible. But then to give all the support they do to you, you


must wonder how they do it. My parents are incredible. Having six


kids and travelling all around the country with all of us, doing


different sports, and looking after my sister as well. It is


incredible. I could not have better parents. When I am racing and things


get hard, I ring my mum, and she puts things in perspective. Yet,


with that great support, you absolutely love what you do. That


isn't always the case when you talk to sports people. But you love


racing. I do. Especially when I am so relaxed going into it. That is


one I enjoy it the most. All I can do is my best. It is not life or


death if you win. People will forget about it at the end of the day. I'm


there to entertain people, and people get joy from watching racing.


I just want to do my best. You can't be on top form all the time, so I


just enjoy it while I can. Did that attitude held in 2012, when it must


have been a huge disappointment to be told that you are staying in


Manchester and you are not going to be a reserve in London. It was


really hard. But I spent the weekend with my family, and after having


plenty of tears over that weekend, I was ready by the Monday. I knew it


wasn't the end of the world. I just focused on the next thing. I could


chat to you all day, but there was work to be done. You have already


done one session today, right? Yes, been on the road for an hour. But I


have a track session this afternoon. Let's get to the


velodrome. This is it. We are at work. Your


work head goes on. Being a two-time world champion, has that changed


your motivation? When you go on the track, does it feel different now?


Is there more pressure? I try not to think of it. I am more of a person


to put pressure on myself, but after winning the world is, I know what it


feels like. I want to go back and try to repeat that again. You want


that feeling? Yes. Can you tap into that feeling? Yes, if someone shows


it to me, but it still doesn't feel that real to me. It is a bit weird


that it actually happened. I have to pinch myself. It is a good


motivation, after winning that, to get that feeling again.


Becky's desire to succeed and defend her world titles fuels these tough


training sessions. For our winter athletes, that determination will


come into focus in February, with the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Our


world skeleton champion, Shelley Rudman, has been fine tuning her


performance in Norway. Katherine Grainger has been to spend some time


with Team Bradman. -- Rodman. Shelley Rudman is many things to


many people. She is Olympic silver medallist, and also one of the


greatest hopes for gold at next year 's Winter Olympics. Perhaps more


importantly, she is also a mum. I have come to Norway to find out just


how she manages all of that. Hello! You must be Ella. Lovely to see you.


Sorry to interrupt your breakfast! We have been really, really lucky


that we have had great family support from both sets of


grandparents. Both have been brilliant. Everybody is ready


supportive of us as a unit. There are some quirks which make it


challenging, but we accept that. With regards to travel, we need to


travel and organise everything ourselves, but we have to be really


organised. We start booking our hotels and flights from April


through to October, and then we have to think, who is looking after Ella


here? Who is coming out with us? What is an average day like? We get


up in the morning. If Allah comes to the track, we get her ready, go to


the track, and then she is looked after by grandparents. We have


lunch. We go to the gym for training, and then Ella gets home


tutored for a good two hours. Who does that? I do. The school have


been great. They give me weekly plans, and I just follow that.


Today, they are doing the life cycle of a frog. Ella is here doing the


same. Those aspects are really easy to look -- to keep up with. Is there


any element of guilt from new for taking her out of what might be a


normal environment, and taking her along with you? Know. She is really


adjustable. Ella is so dynamic. She will sleep in any bed just like


that. She will communicate with the different athletes from different


nations in their own language. Can you speak Russian? What can you say?


How are you? Good morning, it in German, do you remember that? What


about, I do know. From your side, loads of athletes I know, if they


have any break between training sessions, they crash out. As a mum,


do you get that downtime? When I was a full-time athlete and just


training, I got quite bored. Who designed the head? Let's hide that


one! Now, I do a school run, I go straight to the gym, and I have to


work out. I think, on these days, I can fit my physio in all my


training, before I have to dash to do the school run again. And then I


have to do the food shop. Just to keep life operating in the house. It


is a real logistical operation, but it does actually suit me, because I


like to be busy. See you at the track. It is clear to me that the


support that Shelley and Christian get from the family is hugely


important. They can both focus on competing at the highest level,


knowing that Ella is happy and well looked after. With both mum and dad


aiming for Sochi, it is no surprise that she is their biggest fan. What


do you want to do next? Leg swinging? She is really savvy with


the sport of skeleton. We joke about it, but she is probably the most


knowledgeable six-year-old in skeleton you could get. It's really


funny. She used to do a full race prep and everything! You can do


this! It's like this on the start line. The first time it happened, we


were like, how funny is this? She's really, really watched us. She knows


all of the terminology and all of the athletes. They are all on high


five terms with her, and all joking. She just absorbs it, and really


loves it. Well done! That was a big one! Thanks to athletes like


Shelley, Great Britain is one of the leading nations when it comes to


women's skeleton, despite a lack of facilities and ice in the UK. The


success of the squad in the past means that the pressure is on in


Sochi. We don't have enough training runs. In Great Britain, we don't


have a track, so everything they do, every run, becomes important. This


is about focus. It is about everything giving towards what is


going to happen. Everybody says to me, what about the gold medal? That


would be amazing, but I am really, really happy with my silver Olympic


medal. The main focus for me is to try and qualify for Sochi firstly,


and secondly, to get their quite fit and healthy. Thirdly, that the


tracksuits me and that I have connected with it well. And then to


try and perform as best I can. I am more open-minded going into this


Olympic cycle. I am thinking, OK, if I suit that track I could be in with


a chance of doing well. If I don't, it will be hard work. Is there


increased pressure, because there is this history of delivery of results?


There's no pressure. They drive themselves. This is their dream.


They've been waiting for this full four-year is. I have every


confidence that we will do well. We will be really competitive. It is


amazing to see these guys in training. We have talked about it


not being as intense as racing, it is more low-key, but they throw


themselves down this track, hurtling at huge speeds. There is a risk


element in everything they do. It is so different when we are rowing,


doing training, it is far more low-key. There is not this sense of


adrenaline and fear. It is incredible. I have been really


impressed at how Shelley fits everything in. Training is intense,


and the demands are huge. Despite that, she works incredibly hard to


give Ella as normal a life as possible. It is rare to be a mum and


an Olympian. Shelley is very much both. I've had a few friends who've


had young children, and initially, you lose the ambitious and


competitive side of yourself. I really wanted to have targets and


medals. The fact that I was a mum, I thought that that was really cool.


When Ella grows up, she can say, oh, my goodness! I went to world cups


with my mum. At the back of my mind, I thought, how cool would it


be for Ella to say that she has been to an Olympics to watch her mum


compete. That is probably the biggest motivator, just for my


family as well, to do something to make them really proud. I race for


that more than anything. They must be so proud. I hope so. You can see


how Shelley gets on at the Winter Olympics. There's full coverage


across the BBC. The action kicks off on February seven. It is a privilege


to spend time in the inner sanctum of British cycling and watch these


athletes training. It is also clear how high the attention to detail is.


It is really impressive. It is clear you have got another talented crop


of cyclists. How hard hasn't been to manage the transition? There are


household names who have lost the sport. You cannot deny it has made a


difference but life goes on. Sometimes it might seem


uncomfortable but once you remove the top, the others,. As they assume


there are levels of performance they assume new levels of leadership.


Where did Becky James come to your attention? When she was in the


junior ranks. The talent he were working with 14-year-olds, so the


Top 14 new rules were being pulled together. What we do is bring them


together to raise. It is brutal, but you can see them one to one. We


would prefer a talented writer with less talent and more commitment. If


there is no commitment we are wasting our time. The last two


generations, they will not get there without the dedication, are they?


This is what you see today. It is all about work ethic. It is


interesting to see Paralympians and Olympians training side-by-side.


When you hear that you think that they train in the same place, but


not in the same session. It has always been the way, it has been an


integrated programme. Every discipline has their own coaches and


the Paralympians are the same. We use the same approach, the same


training methodology, the same equipment. We are dealing with


athletes and that is it, they are athletes like everybody else.


Becky's sister is training as a pilot and we know of her other


sister sisters. -- her other sisters. Becky James is going to do


it! She is the champion of the world. What a ride! Her two world


title is made up for the disappointment of not competing at


the 2012 Olympics. It was, for her, very hard. Everyone was dreaming of


going to London, the home games. She really took it very hard. What do


you think it has done to her mindset? Is she able to draw on the


disappointment, do you think? I would not say that she drew on the


disappointment, I think it gave her more drive and a positive attitude.


Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were winning Britain's first old


medal of the games while Becky was training here. They have gone in


different directions since. Helen Glover has teamed up with Polly


Swann and won World Championships this year while stunning went to


Afghanistan to serve in the Army. Matthew Pinsent has been to find the


challenges she faced and her hopes for the future.


Great Britain's Helen Glover, seven minutes away from's glory... The


crowd or roaring -- or roaring... They are making history here. Great


Britain, into the record books! Welcome home, first of all. Thanks.


How is it to be back? It is nice. Not nice to be -- it is nice to be


back in the countryside. How do you sum up Camp Bastion? Yahoo! Camp


Bastion in the summer - very dusty and hot. It is -- has every thing


you need with everyone around. Is it dangerous? We had a lot of


weapons and it was dangerous, but I was happy in the environment I was


in. The last time I spoke to you on camera was before you won the gold


medal and I said to you very specifically, if you win, it will be


a great story for the army, but they will not be bothered if you go or


not to Afghanistan. But you said, no, I am going to go. Having the


opportunity to do the job was really important to me, career-wise, to


stay in the Army. They cannot credit me with just rowing. To be in the


military I have to prove myself as an officer. Do you enjoy them both


equally? Be you compare and contrast them? I love being an athlete and


the opportunities I have had, and it is the same with the Army. I am not


ready to give either one up. Back to the routine. Yes. Act to the


commute, back to rowing. This is Caversham. It is the natural


training centre for rowing. All of the GB medal winners in the last few


years have been based here. This was a second home for Heather in the


run-up to 2012. Is it strange being back now that the hoopla has gone


away? Yes, it is different. Building up to London, there was a focus on


this area. Yes, the boathouse is still here and we have got the fleet


of boats. When did you join the GB programme? 2007 was the first year I


did trials. I was very much of a novice, I was falling out of boats!


That was my biggest fear, do not fall out in front of people you do


not know. The British rowing honours board, how does it feel to have your


own section? The first time I saw it was today. It is very impressive to


see my name on the board. The first time I came in here it was like, ,


look at all these people and hopefully someone will look for my


name one day. Where is your name Dom ACPO? At the top somewhere.


We were aware that I was just going for a race. Did you really think


like that? Yet. I can hope -- yes, I hope I can draw on it again. You can


smell the sweat in here. You have probably had enough of these


machines for a while? Yahoo! Yes, but I am sure I will be back soon.


There was a definite afterglow from the Olympics. We have tried hard to


engage with going forward. It was difficult not to keep enjoying the


moment and we still get out the video of the amazing race. Good to


see you back. Congratulations on your little boy. I am looking


forward to training, I need the routine. After the dust of London


had settled, Helen Glover started a new combination with Polly Swann and


they picked up where Glover and stunning had left off. There is an


issue in that there are three of you who want to and expect to row in the


pairs. Like anyone in the team, it is not to say that there are three


of us, there is a whole squad who would want to be in the boat. It has


to be fair. We cannot prejudice the situation. The athletes have to show


us. We just have to get through a few months of fitness work so that


they can display what they can do. It is a good situation at further


down-the-line, decisions have to be made. You burn it to come here but


once you are here, on days like today it is amazing. In a couple of


days it will look like the North Sea and I will not be looking forward to


going out there! It focuses my mind to think that I want to be in one of


those boats next summer. How have you left it with the Army? If I make


the national team the Army will give me the time off and I will become an


Army athlete. So you have got to make the cut ready soon! You have


got to perform before Christmas. I have got to do something before


Christmas to earn my place with the team. Maybe I need to knuckle down


to the training. It comes round very quickly. It is just round the


corner. I have had a good year off and I have less than three years to


go. We are very used to seeing the last few minutes of someone's


Olympic four years ending with hopefully another gold medal. We


very seldom see the first few minutes of the Olympic campaign.


What a privilege. Heather's dedication to her work and


to getting back into the GB team is fantastic to see. Dedication is an


appropriate word around here. I have been working with Becky for


seven years. I started in 2006. She was one of my first athletes. She


achieved a lot. Did you think she was in the form to win world titles,


were she ready? We knew she would be thereabouts. It is unlikely to go


with four disciplines and come home with four medals. And there were two


gold out of that. It was not a surprise but it is with us now.


Heguy James, double world champion. -- Becky James. Difficult day, but a


good day. In the first session, are you warning up? To begin with, we do


a 40 lap warm up getting progressively faster. Then we do a


flying 300 metres, see you can get up to 75 kilometres per hour. It set


you up for the session. We were scared when you were on the back of


the motorbike. When do you stop being scared? You get used to it and


get over the fear. You do feel alert us and -- a bit nervous. It looks


pretty scary to me. But it looks like an adrenaline rush as well.


Yes, I like it. You look so fresh and relaxed. In the middle, does it


hurt? We could not see if you are grimacing. After each one I have to


close my eyes and rest. It is nice when you get a session done because


you feel satisfied. Keep it up. It was great to meet you and to see


your life and how you are getting on. Much success to you. Thank you.


Perspective, that is the word that comes to mind when I think of Becky


James - the grounded outlook on life and sport has helped her to become a


world champ in. Shelley Rudman's commitment to her daughter is


uncompromising. Ella will come first always. Combining motherhood and


competing at the highest level is impressive. After a year away from


rowing, Heather Stanning's desire to set out on another Olympic journey


is stronger than ever. Three inspiring women. Would you like to


get involved in sport? Visit the website and type in your postcode to


find out activities near you. You can get in touch by Twitter as well.


That is all. We will be back next month on Saturday, 21st December. I


will be in Glasgow with Michael Jamieson and we will have a report


from Rwanda. But you do not have to be an Libyan to get active. It is


about getting out there and having fun. I hope we have inspired you.


Goodbye for now.


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