On Friday 16th the year 12’s had a dinner organised for them by predominantly Mr Graham and Mrs Price. The night started with everyone filing into the dining hall in the most COVID-friendly way they could. Everyone had drinks and sat at their tables waiting to be told to collect their food, and then did so. There was a selection of food, ranging from carbonara to quiche and then for dessert almost everyone had a portion of profiteroles and some; which went down well.
Then after the guest speaker arrived and the food had been eaten everyone went into the Jellicoe room to hear Abi Oyepitan’s talk about her Olympic journey and kindly answer some questions from the floor. Abi Oyepitan is a British Olympic athlete, specialising in 100m and 200m sprint, also competing in multiple relay races. Abi has won all kind of awards in her competitions over the years taking home Golds, Silvers and Bronzes at various Commonwealth games, she also made it to the Semi-finals for 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Olympics.
Abi’s talked was enjoyed by most and it was very insightful, she talked about her late start to the Olympic pathway and she also talked about the struggles she encountered along the way such as balancing training and A levels or her multiple injuries and surgery’s.
The floor asked some good questions, such as Grace R’s question on whether the pressure to return after injury was self-inflicted or if it was from her coaches etc, Abi responded by saying that it was largely self-inflicted pressure however she did feel a bit of pressure from others to return after injury. Rosy F asked what Abi’s favourite country to train in was, Abi said she loved training in South Africa because they have the best physios, but other countries were nice to train in such as Austria as it was so pretty.
After the event, I was lucky enough to get the chance to have a personal interview with Abi, fortunately she let me record the interview, so I was able to transcribe it. The interview is below:
S: What was it like for you during lockdown? Did you keep up with your training, and if so like how was that?
A: So I’ve got a 2, well she’s gonna be 2 in er in a few weeks, um so that was really hard um I struggled, I just did a lot of online training.
A: Um yeah but I’ve retired so I didn’t have to do it though.Yep
A: So I just did a lot of online training, like on YouTube and on Instagram they got like um er they just had like yeah um a lot of people yeah so I was just doing that.
S: there was a lot live videos and stuff yeah.
A: A lot of yoga, and meditation and things like that.
S: Okay that’s quite cool.
S: Um if you could go back in time um what’s one piece of advice you would give to yourself?
A: Ah god! Enjoy it. Have fun, don’t take it so seriou- I god obviously yeah take it but don’t take it so serious and don’t take yourself so seriously, I was so serious. Um but yeah.
S: Um what was a particular highlight for you at the Olympics, the 2012 or the 2004?
A: God, the highlight? I would have to say that the Athens after party, it was amazing, it was the sports illustrator party was absolutely amazing, it was out of this world. um yeah nothing topped that um yeah so that was the highlight I met like um mate athletes, ah who was it? who? Ah god was it Carl Lewis? I met some yeah I met like legends of athletics at the party um yeah that was like my highlight um 2012 I would say the closing ceremony was amazing um but yeah.
S: Yeah, ah that’s really cool, I never really thought about the idea of them having like a massive party afterwards.
A: oh they do! Some are better than others that but that was amazing, that party.
S: Um I think you already touched on this but what was your favourite country to compete in?
A: oh my favourite country to compete in? no that was my favourite country to train in, to compete in? God, Athens was great, Athens was great coz you know it’s the first, its where the Olympics were born, um and it was really like the, the Olympic village was like a proper village, London was different, London was lots of high rises and you wouldn’t see people and stuff but Athens was like a village and um you’d see people like you know and all the athletes and like you know different sports were like, the swimmers and things so it was really like, it was like a real village atmosphere and stuff and um yeah that was fun. London was very different and I was older I was way, I was too serious.
S: Er and my final question thank you um what advice would you give to young aspiring athletes? Like Rachael here.
A: Um, what advice? God um, god that’s a really hard one um, just, god lemme think. I think, enjoy it, I would just say enjoy it and like obviously be really focused and um and but also like really research stuff, like I just, I just went along with what people told me like my coach told me and stuff until I got older and I started looking outside of that you know started looking at alternative therapies and like things like that coz you, with athletics everything’s like you know narrow and everybody does it the same way and stuff but there’s so many different ways you can do it um so I would say like be open and research it for yourself and just don’t take everybody’s word as gospel.
S: Okay, thank you very much for answering those.
A: No worries.