Olympic legend visits Suffolk school
BRITAIN'S greatest Olympic hero revealed how hard it would be for him no longer competing in the games as he visited a Suffolk school yesterday .Rower and five times Olympic gold medal winner Sir Steven Redgrave took time out from a busy schedule to talk to pupils at Thomas Mills High in Framlingham after he was invited to come and visit them.
By Sarah Chambers
BRITAIN'S greatest Olympic hero revealed how hard it would be for him no longer competing in the games as he visited a Suffolk school yesterday .
Rower and five times Olympic gold medal winner Sir Steven Redgrave took time out from a busy schedule to talk to pupils at Thomas Mills High in Framlingham after he was invited to come and visit them.
Despite a breathtaking career spanning two decades, he revealed that although he would be at the Athens Olympics in the BBC commentary box, it was hard not to take part.
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"It's a very special time and I'm going to find it very difficult next year when everybody goes off to race," he said.
He generously placed his former Olympic rowing partner Matthew Pinsent "head and shoulders above any other athlete" as he recalled his own time in the sport.
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The sporting legend told pupils of his own fluke-ish introduction to the sport after he was picked out because of his large hands and feet to join a rowing team at a small comprehensive school in his home town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire.
Sir Steven hoped pupils at Thomas Mills would learn a lesson from the team's temporary dip in form after they neglected to practise a year after a glorious run of success.
As he expressed his hope that London could host a 2012 games, he voiced disappointment at all the young talent in the country which was not developed.
"What potential we have got that is just not being tapped. That's one of my frustrations in some respects," he said.
He called for more encouragement to do sport in schools, against a background of children exercising less and having less opportunity to do certain activities outside of school because of safety.
"I think physically and mentally we would improve as a nation from that," he said.
The Olympian encouraged youngsters to use their talents.
"If you ever get the opportunity of taking sport to a higher level, please go for it," he said. "It's just a tremendous experience."
Sir Steven, who passed by his namesake town of Redgrave on the way to Framlingham, said he believed his forebears would have come from the Suffolk/Norfolk area.
He spoke of a project at Mildenhall he was involved in, although he said it was too early to reveal more.
"I can't say too much about it at the moment because it's just being made public at the moment, but there has been an opportunity with a bit of land and some very exciting things for business, housing and sports, and naturally sports is my expertise," he said. "We are not sure if it's going to come off at the moment."