Eight pupils from Lydiard Park Academy had the unique experience of greeting the athletes entering the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Games on 27 July and were given a high five with the fastest man in the world.
The group featured on page 2 of the July edition were chosen to form part of the honour guard to welcome athletes from different countries as they prepared to enter the stadium in the second part of the spectacular opening ceremony.
The school was chosen as one of only 204 across Britain by the Get Set network, the official London 2012 education programme. In addition to pursuing their individual sports the pupils have been preparing for the Olympics over the last year by running games awareness activity days in West Swindon’s primary schools.
The school were asked to show support for Georgia and took a banner prepared by the art department coordinated by Sam Gee.
Andy Steckbeck said: “It was the first Olympics to have a youth Guard of Honour so it was an amazing experience for everybody involved. We had a great day which started with a tour of the Olympic park including watching some of the open ceremony dancers rehearsing in the stadium, followed by entertainment in the Copperbox handball arena. They were disappointed to discover that the huge Macdonalds wasn’t open for them to try out.
“Then we were marshalled along the route the athletes would take parade. The excitement built from the start as many athletes came over and signed programmes and had their photos taken with the kids.
“The Georgia team were very surprised and excited to see us and came over en-mass for photos. However the highlight was when Usain Bolt came over to us and high fived all the pupils as Jamaica passed by. They loved it.”
Once the athletes had entered the stadium the youngsters set off for Swindon and eventually arrived back at 3am.
Waving the flag for Georgia in the Olympic Park, top from left, Josh Thompson, Ryan Embling, Shona O’Dwyer, Tom Sewell, Jay Atkinson, Charlie George, Loretta White
Middle, in The Copperbox. Bottom, Usain Bolt passing on the way into the stadium