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

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

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.

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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

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