Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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So Jedward and are more deserving?

I’m going to bang on about the Olympic torch again and the ‘qualifications’ needed to carry it.

We’ve had rock stars and self-indulgent pop stars from abroad, like, carrying the flame.

The latest nobodies to trash any honour or respect there might be attached to it are Jedward.

Yet we can’t find room for Bill Lucas.

Admittedly, Bill is now 95 and not in the finest fettle to jog along with the emblem of all that is great and true and inspirational.

But I’d volunteer to push him in a chair if needs be.

I think Bill qualifies for a go with the flame on a number of counts.

He flew an astonishing 81 missions for Bomber Command during the war, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), for his bravery.

After the war, he took up athletics again and was selected to run for Great Britain in the 5,000 metres at the 1948 London Olympics.

Bill hadn’t quite recaptured his pre-war race form and was pipped on the line by an American in his semi-final.

“I was in a pretty good position for much of the race but I suffered from the heat. We’d been standing out in it for four hours in the opening ceremony a few days earlier which didn’t help. I’d been out of the service for 18 months too and living on normal rations so it wasn’t easy.

“All three of the British boys were below par and if I’d run to my normal pace I would have made the final.”

After his race, he caught the bus and tube home and went back to work in an insurance office, then returned for the closing ceremony. He heard nothing more from the British Olympic Association until they were recently pressured into announcing that surviving veterans of 1948 would be involved in the 2012 Games.

Bill, who was also a member of the Belgrave Harriers club for 76 years and was for many years the announcer for meetings at the old White City stadium, says he’s been told he’ll get two tickets, but doesn’t know what he will be watching.

So a hero, a former Olympian, someone who has given his spare time throughout his life to sport and encouraging others to join in, an inspirational figure...what’s missing?

Why can’t Bill carry the torch?

Because he ain’t a pop star?


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