Ellen Hunter MBE
I've been listening to and reading all about the forthcoming Olympics in London today. To be quite honest, I've just about had enough of it now. Having said that, it did dominate my life for quite a number of years when I worked as a coach at the Manchester Velodrome - home of the GB cycling team.
Most of the radio was about the stars, Sir Chis Hoy featured as he should, Vicky Pendleton babbled away too and countless athletes, swimmers and rowers spent time telling me how wonderful it's going to be.
For me the stars of the show are the two erbs above. Ellen Hunter came into the Velodrome one day as a novice and then ended up [via breaking her back but riding as the able-bodied tandem pilot] winning a gold and silver in the Athens Paralympics on the front of a tandem with Aileen McGlynn MBE - and later gold in Bejing too. That same year Paul, Ellen's husband, entrepreneur, wit, irritation and driven man won a bronze on the tandem at the same event with Blinkie Sharpe. Paul was the one with all the talent really. I remember, after Paul won his first World Masters title with a scintillating ride in the pursuit final against some chap from foreign climes - him telling me that he had had packed all his training into one week. Yes that's right, one week. Most people take months and years of preparation but Paul planned it on the first day, did hard and specific training on the next 5 days, tapered on the sixth day and won it on the seventh. Goodness knows what he could have achieved if he trained properly. But then, if he had been around the Velodrome all the time like most of the other riders, someone would have killed him! Lovely chap but try telling him how to train .........
On another note I overheard staff at Tesco's in Stornoway talking about Sunday opening. Now there's a can of worms. I also heard some chap on Radion 4 talking about petrol prices in Stornoway being a tad high. He then went on to say people were using their cars less in the UK and so the tax take was lower and it was affecting the economy. Not one mention of the beneficial effect on the climate or the biosphere though.