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Gallery: How to “Inspire a Jen” - Olympic enthusiast embarks on ambitous sporting challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:28 04 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 April 2013

Inspire a Jen.  
Olympic Challenge
Jen Offord
With Acelya Toprak, a junior GB national champion at Metro Judo Club (Gemma Gibbons' old judo club)

Inspire a Jen. Olympic Challenge Jen Offord With Acelya Toprak, a junior GB national champion at Metro Judo Club (Gemma Gibbons' old judo club)

INSPIRING a generation was the key theme to last summer’s London Olympics.

But one Olympic enthusiast has taken it to a whole new level by setting herself the ambitious challenge of trying every Olympic sport in just one year.

Jen Offord, 30 and originally from Harwich, has so far trained in 20 out of the 38 Olympic disciplines since embarking on her project, which she has dubbed “Inspire a Jen”, last August.

And she has attracted support from some of Britain’s greatest athletes including Dame Kelly Holmes and judo silver medallist Gemma Gibbons.

Ms Offord said: “I got a bit swept up in the Olympics as I live in London and found it very inspirational and an antedote to the culture of football, seeing all those different sports. It was such an exciting time.

“I’m not very good at sport and was thinking I wish I enjoyed PE at school more, maybe I will take up a sport, then my friend said why don’t you try all of them and I thought yes, why not?”

Jen, who works as a policy advisor, began by going to an event at a rowing club and found more sports through Join In UK - a website which shows people where sporting classes and events are happening in their local area.

She also set-up a blog and a Twitter account to spread the word about her Olympic challenge.

Jen said: “I told everyone I was going to do it so there was no backing out.

“People then started proactively contacting me after I set-up a Twitter account announcing what I was doing.”

Before long Olympic stars past and present were re-tweeting Jen’s posts to help find clubs and athletes who could help with her challenge.

Some professional athletes have even invited Jen to train with them, including GB hockey player Chloe Rogers and handball player Sebastian Prieto.

She said: “I felt a bit nervous at first because it’s not something I’m normally good at and I thought people would laugh, but most are just happy you’re having a go.

“I am a massive advocate of sport now and the response has been great, people have been so helpful and really kind.”

To follow Jen’s blog visit www.jeninspired.wordpress.com

There’s a problem when it comes to men and mental health. It’s not that men’s mental health is any worse than women’s mental health. It’s just that men are not so good in talking about it and, crucially, seeking help. That could be one of the reasons behind the shocking statistic that three out of every four suicides are men.

The Orwell Bridge is expected to close for the third time this winter as high winds are forecast again on Wednesday night.

Essex Wildlife Trust has responded to reports that a black panther has been sighted in a rural village in the county.

Feeling safe on the streets, career prospects and retirement plans are among the top concerns for women in Suffolk and Essex, a survey reveals.

Proposals to build a new multi-million pound rail depot on the Suffolk/Essex border at Brantham near Manningtree are being reconsidered by Greater Anglia.

A mentally-ill Bury St Edmunds man accused of killing a 57-year-old man by stabbing him multiple times has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A crash between a van and a car this morning has closed a rural Suffolk road.

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