New Committee Take Office

The toastmasters year runs from 1st July to 30th June and so following the clubs recent AGM Wessex Speakers are pleased to announce the appointment of its new committee for 2014/15

President                                             Steve Bimpson
Immediate Past President                   Eric Skates
Vice President Education                    Ravi Bhatta
Vice President Membership                 Les Brown
Vice President Public Relations           Steve Vear
Treasurer                                             Robin Froud
Secretary                                             Steve Vear

The club would like to thank Eric for his excellent leadership during the last year and wish Steve Bimpson and his team all the very best in the coming year.

Changing the Clocks

It's time for Changing the Clocks

Changing the Clocks

We had 5 guests with us, two of whom have now joined the team. So, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to Trevor Loveland and Harry Fell – it’s great to have you with us.

We also had Gary Evans-Osgood with us, an ex Toastmaster from Brisbane, as well as Ravis’ lovely daughter, Meganna – who’s enthusiasm and excellent impromptu speaking, won her the award for Best Table Topic. Well done, Meganna.  You’re welcome to join us any time.

Sarah jane Rice

Sarah jane Rice

It was, particularly nice to see our final guest. Sarah Jane Rice. Sarah’s an ex member of Wessex Speakers and hasn’t been in quite a while.  But that didn’t show.  She rolled up her sleeves and joined in with the proceedings by delivering an excellent Evaluation of Robin Froud’s very convincing speech about the Fasting Diet. (I’m going to give it a whirl, Robin.)

Andy Brine

Andy Brine

Andy Brine gave us a really interesting start to the formal speeches. He’s just started his new Advanced Manual, Communicating on Television, and his objective was to deliver an opinion in the style of a TV News Report, direct to camera.  We then got to watch it back and the evaluation was done on the recording.

Watching Andy back on video struck me as being very relevant to our theme of Changing the Clocks.  Particularly, when our Table Topics Master introduced the related concept of Time, in to the equation. (More on that, later)

It was quite strange watching Andy deliver his speech, directly, to the camera.  There was no eye contact with the audience, at all, which meant that he met the objective of presenting to the camera, very well. It was very interesting, indeed, and I’m looking forward to his next project from the manual.

Lynne Thompson - Breathtakers OB TrustLynne Thompson gave her second speech, ‘Finding the Daisy Among the Dandelions’, which was a beautiful analogy describing how to motivate, encourage and nurture the team of volunteer fundraisers that are a vital element of the charity that she runs. We learned about the 3 P’s of Propagation; Passion, Proposal and Praise and how to use this simple process to find and nurture those, all important, Daisies.

This analogy and the 3 P’s process is so relevant and can easily be applied to many different, yet similar, situations. I may well ‘borrow’ the idea, myself. I only hope that I can present it as eloquently and with the same level of enthusiasm that Lynne demonstrated.  Are you sure that you haven’t attended Toastmasters before, Lynne?

On only his second meeting as a member, Les Brown took on the role of Table Topics Master and showed some real, creative flair with his twist on the meetings’ theme, which, as I said, earlier, was ‘Changing the Clocks’.  His twist revolved around the concept of travelling in time and there were 5 really interesting and thought provoking questions, which, Harry, Megana, Trevor, Gary and Sarah tackled with poise, enthusiasm and humour.

Ravi BhattaRavi was Table Topics Evaluator for the evening and did a great job of offering all of our Table Topics Speakers plenty of positive praise and some useful and objective feedback. And it was great to have Paddy with us, taking on the role of Timekeeper.

We had a bit of a change from the norm with an ‘open’ style Grammarian and General Evaluation reports. There were some excellent contributions but it was really good to be reminded of Paddy’s objective, insightful and highly relevant feedback. It’s great to have you back, Paddy. We missed you.

Anyway, if you missed this meeting, make sure that your there at the next one on the 24th April.

Have a great on,

Steve Bimpson

The London 2012 Olympics – Our Olympic Tribute

Our Olympic Quotations of the Day

12th August 2012

Well, that’s it folks. The London 2012 Olympics is now officially over. You’ll have to wait another four years for the next one.

But what an Olympics.

It’s been phenomenally successful for Team GB and congratulations should go out to all of our athletes for the way in which they’ve competed. However, special congratulations must go out to all of those whose sterling efforts resulted in a medal for themselves, for Team GB and for all of us to celebrate and honour.

Team GB's Olympic Medal Winners

It’s been extraordinary and I, for one, never expected the event to galvanise the public in the way that it has. Wouldn’t life be amazing if it was like this all of the time?

For those involved in the organisation of the event, surely, it’s been a triumph beyond all expectation and congratulations should go out to everyone involved on that side, as well.

The goal of the London 2012 Olympics was to “Inspire a Generation” and I’m sure that it’s not only a generation that’s been inspired. I think all of us have been.

To finish our Olympic Tribute I thought we would end with some fairly random but noteworthy quotations that made it on to this page because of their humour, relevance or poignancy. Here we go, and who could forget this;

Quotations from the London 2012 Olympics

HRH Queen Elizabeth at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics


“Good evening, Mr Bond.”

Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth makes her film debut in a clip with James Bond star Daniel Craig, which was shown as part of the Opening Ceremony.

From Spain’s synchronised swimming coach Ana Tarres;

“Our legs are not as long and our bottoms stick out more – we need to work harder to compensate for this.”

– Describing the challenges in competing against their long-time rival Russia, who took the team Gold Medal whilst the Spaniards had to settle for Bronze.  I had to smile   🙂

Alistair and Jonathan BrownleeAnd what about British men’s triathlon Bronze Medallist Jonathan Brownlee;

“I saw the board with number 31 on it and thought my brother had got a penalty. I thought ‘What an idiot Alistair, you’ve got a penalty’. Then I looked at my arm and realised I was number 31.”

– Describing his reaction to a 15-second penalty for getting on his bike too early. His brother Alistair took the Gold Medal. Priceless!

And what about Flyweight Rau’shee Warren, the first American boxer to compete in three Games;

“The headgear… it kept falling down over my eyes. Then my contacts fell out in the first round, so I was having to wait for my opponent to get a little closer so I could throw my shots.”

– Talking about the latest loss in his eight-year Olympic losing streak.

And there was inspiration from Erick Barrondo, winner of Guatemala’s first-ever Olympic medal with Silver in the men’s 20-kilometre race walk;

“I hope that this medal inspires the kids at home to put down guns and knives and pick up a pair of trainers instead. If they do that, I will be the happiest guy in the world.”

What a great sentiment.

Oscar Pistorious in Action

There was more inspiration from South African runner Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed ‘Blade Runner’ because he races on carbon fibre prosthetic blades;

“My mother used to tell us in the mornings, ‘Carl put on your shoes, Oscar you put on your prosthetic legs …So I grew up not really thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes.”

– Talking about growing up playing sports with brother Carl – but what an attitude to have grown up with.

Roger BannisterRoger Bannister, famous for running a mile in under four minutes in 1954;

“Had I won the gold medal, I would have retired.”

– Revealing that he might have quit two years earlier had he not missed out on an Olympic Medal in Helsinki.

And we can’t let the moment pass without a few words from Boris Johnson;

Boris Johnson“The excitement is growing so much I think the Geiger counter of Olympo-mania is going to go ‘zoink’ off the scale.”

– Being characteristically effusive in summing up the mood at an Olympics concert in London’s Hyde Park.

But wasn’t he right!   And I loved this one from Boris;

“‘Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’, which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village.”

– Extolling the “energy and enthusiasm” of the Games’ 10,000 athletes who, apparently, had some 150,000 condoms distributed amongst them.

Matthew PinsentFinally, let’s not forget that we all perform in our own way and we can all harness that Olympic Spirit, that Olympic Attitude and that Olympic drive to succeed in our businesses if we choose to do so;

“There are many parallels between sport and business – it’s about setting goals, motivating yourself, communication and performing well under pressure.”

– Matthew Pinsent

Well, as I’m listening to Take That singing in the finale of the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, there’s not much else for me to say, other than;

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

P.S Doesn’t that Darcy Bussell know how to make an entrance!   🙂

Darcy Bussell and Her Spectacular Entrance to the London Olympics Closing Ceremony

Mo Farah – Double Olympic Champion

Our Olympic Quotation of the Day

11th August 2012

Mo Farah Winning the 10,000m in the London OlympicsIn a stunning race, earlier this evening, Mo Farah demonstrated his ability, passion and determination to become Double Olympic Champion, taking the 5,000m Gold Medal to pair with the 10,000m Gold Medal he won a week ago. Here are a few words from Mo;

“Go hard or go home”. This is Mo Farah’s motto.

After his 10,000m win, Mo responded to a journalist who questioned whether he would’ve preferred to run under a Somali flag;

“Look mate, this is my country. This is where I grew up. This is where I started life. This is my country and when I put on my Great Britain vest I’m proud. I’m very proud. The support I got today was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it. It was the best moment of my life.”

I love it!

“It was a really rough race,” he added. “It was like being in the ring with Anthony Ogogo! As soon as they saw me there was a lot of barging and pushing. I got caught so many times. There’s definitely a target on my back. I’m the Olympic champion over 10,000 metres. You just have to accept it. Hopefully the final won’t be as rough because we won’t have so many guys.”

He went on to say;

“Now there’s zero pressure. I am not putting any pressure on myself. I want to do well for the crowd because the support drives you further. Whatever I do I will give 100%. I am full of confidence and having the home crowd will definitely drive me more.”

Well, this evening showed him performing for, and being inspired by, the home crowd.  Well done Mo!

A Bit About Mo Farah

Mo Farah - Double Olympic ChampionMo Farah was born on the 23rd March 1983. He’s a British Somali international track and field athlete and he’s the current 10,000m and 5000m Olympic Champion, as well as the World Champion. His Gold Medal in the 10,000m was the first ever British Olympic Gold Medal victory in the event. As we all know, he followed that up with a Gold Medal win in the 5,000 metres, earlier this evening.

Mo generally competes over 5,000m and 10,000m on the track, but he also runs the 3000m and, on occasion, the 1500m. He’s already expressed a desire to move up to the marathon after the London Olympics.

Mo Farah holds the European track record for 10,000 metres, the British road record for 10,000 metres, the British indoor record in the 3000 metres, the British track record for 5000 metres, the British half-marathon record, and the European indoor record for 5000 metres.

Mo Farah Celibrating his 5,000m Gold Medal in the London OlympicsIn July 2010, he won the first-ever men’s European Gold Medal at 10,000m for Britain, which he followed with a Gold in the 5,000m. This made him the 5th male athlete to complete the long-distance double at the Championships and the first British man to do it. He won Silver in the 10,000m and Gold in the 5,000m at the 2011 World Championships.

Mo also competes in cross-country running and in December 2006 he became European champion in Italy. He then went on to take Gold in the 3,000m in both the 2009 and 2011 European Indoor Championships.

Originally based in London, Mo ran for Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club where, from 2001 to 2011, he trained at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham’s sports facilities in Strawberry Hill. He relocated to Oregon the US in 2011 to further his training.

In 2011, he was voted European athlete of the year.

It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for Mo Farah.

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

Usain Bolt Makes Olympic History

Our Olympic Quotation of the Day

10th August 2012

Usain Bolt Makes Olympic History - Lightning BoltToday, it seems only fitting that we should hear from Usain Bolt.  The Olympic Champion at 100m and 200m, the only man to ever have achieved the “double double” (see below) and the fastest man ever to have lived.

Never let it be said that Usain’s not confident;

“I told you all I was going to be No. 1, and I did just that.”

Asked to respond to the doubters after winning Gold at the London Olympics, Usain said:

“I’m not concerned. I’ve said it from the start, people can talk, all they can do is talk. When it comes to the Championships, it’s all about business to me – and I brought it.”

Before he successfully defended his Olympic 200m title, he said;

“People always say I’m a legend, but I’m not. Not until I’ve defended my Olympic titles. That’s when I’ve decided I’ll be a legend.”

So, I think it’s fair to assume that Usain Bolt is now, officially, a legend.

 A Bit About Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt Makes Olympic HistoryUsain Bolt was born on the 21st August 1986. He’s a Jamaican sprinter and, given that he holds both the 100m and 200m World Records (and is the first man to do so), no one could argue that he’s the fastest man ever.

As well as his 100m and 200m World Records, he also helped his Jamaican teammates set the World Record for the 4 x 100m Relay. That’s an outstanding record of achievement.

He’s a five-time World and five-time Olympic Gold Medalist and is the first man ever to achieve the “double double” by winning 100m and 200m titles at consecutive Olympics (in 2008 and then 2012). In fact, he’s the first man to defend an Olympic sprint title since Carl Lewis in 1988. He’s also one of only seven athletes to win World Championships at the Youth, Junior, and Senior levels.

When he set his current World Record in the 100m back in 2009, that in itself was also a record; His record breaking margin, from 9.69 (his own previous world record) down to 9.58, is the largest margin of improvement in the World Record since fully automatic time measurements began.

Usain Bolt has been nicknamed “Lightning Bolt” by the media in recognition of his outstanding achievements. His many awards include the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and Laureus Sportsman of the Year and his success has made him the highest paid athlete ever in track and field.

Usain Bolt Winning Olympic GoldIn 2002, Usain won a 200m Gold Medal at the World Junior Championships, making him the competition’s youngest-ever Gold Medalist at the time – a record since beaten by Jacko Gill. In 2004, he became the first junior sprinter to break the 20second barrier in the 200m with a time of 19.93s – 2 tenths faster than the previous World Junior Record held by Roy Martin. He turned professional later that year.

In 2007, he broke Don Quarrie’s almost 36-year-old 200m Jamaican record with a run of 19.75 s. He started his 2008 season with his first world record performance in the 100 m with a time of 9.72 s and his season ended with World and Olympic Records in the 100m (9.69s), the 200m (19.30s) and the 4×100m Relay Record of 37.10s with the Jamaican team. This made him the first man to set world records in all three events at a single Olympics.

The following year at the World Championships, he broke his own 100m and 200m World Records with times of 9.58s and 19.19s, respectively, making him the first man to hold both the 100m and 200m World and Olympic titles at the same time.

At the 2012 Olympics in London, his 100m Gold Medal was won in a time of 9.63s, setting a new Olympic record for that particular distance.

That’s Usain Bolt – The fastest man that has ever lived.

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

Muhammad Ali – The Greatest

Our Olympic Quotations of the Day

8th August 2012

Muhammed Ali - The GreatestMuhammad Ali may seem like a bit of a ‘Blast from the Past’ but he was there at the opening ceremony of London 2012, although it was very sad to see him looking so frail after seeing him in his prime.

One thing we could always be sure of with Muhammad Ali, was that he was never lacking a few words and I really didn’t know where to stop when I was researching him and his quotations. Perhaps his most famous quotation is;

“I am the Greatest.”  Followed closely by;

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

He had an amazing positive attitude;

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was”, “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”

Some of you may be surprised at hear this;

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Muhammad Ali had a great sense of humour, often, at the expense of his opponents – a bit like this one;

“Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life.”

But then there were quips like this;

“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

Being a lifelong learner, myself, and having a passion for Personal Development, I particularly like this one;

“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

And he was never lacking for a few wise words;

“Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” And;

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

He was never one to hide his views – and who could argue with this one, anyway?

“Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

He may even have seemed a little conceited, at times;

“I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.”

But we loved him, didn’t we?  Still do.

As I said earlier, I really didn’t know where to stop when it comes to quotations from Muhammad Ali – just in case you hadn’t noticed – but I’ll finish with this one;

“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”

What a great sentiment.

A Bit About Muhammad Ali

Ali (he changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964) was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on 17th January 1942 and is, probably, the most famous sportsman of all time, as well as, the most famous boxer. Also described as a philanthropist and social activist, he’s widely considered to be a cultural icon and has been idolized and vilified during his lifetime.

Muhammed Ali - The Greatest - In ActionMuhammad Ali won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960 and the World Heavyweight Championship, for the first time, in 1964.

In 1967, because of his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War, he refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military. Ali stated, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong… No Viet Cong ever called me nigger” but he was still publicly vilified as a result of the stance he took.

This was before widespread protests against the Vietnam War had started, but with that one phrase, Muhammad Ali provided the reason for a generation of young Americans to oppose the war. His words were like a catalyst for the racial and anti-war upheavals that rocked America in the 1960s. His example provided inspiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. who, until then, had been reluctant to voice his own opposition to the war.

Ali was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, which resulted in him being stripped of his boxing title and his boxing license. He was spared a prison sentence but was unable to fight for nearly four years whilst his appeal, gradually, worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Eventually, his conviction was overturned.

Muhammad Ali went on to become the first, and only, three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.

He was nicknamed “The Greatest,” and was involved in a number of historic boxing matches including three fights with Joe Frazier, which are considered to be amongst the greatest in boxing history, and one with George Foreman, where he finally regained his stripped titles from seven years earlier.

Muhammad Ali practiced an unorthodox fighting style, which he described as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and he employed techniques such as the ‘Ali Shuffle’ and the ‘Rope-a-Dope’ to great effect. Ali brought beauty and grace to an uncompromising sport and with his wonderful excesses of skill and character, he became the most famous athlete in the world.

Muhammed Ali - The Greatest - in Atlanta in 1996In 1996 he lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta to widespread acclaim.and in 1999, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.

Here’s a little known fact for you; ‘The Muhammad Ali Effect’ is a term used in psychology.  It was named after him after he stated in his autobiography, “I only said I was the greatest, not the smartest”. ‘The Muhammad Ali Effect’ states that; when people are asked to rate their intelligence and moral behaviour in comparison to others, they will rate themselves as more moral, but not more intelligent.

Muhammad Ali really is one of the all-time sporting icons.

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

The Cookie Thief – Never Assume

I love the Cookie Thief poem. It’s great fun, has a lovely twist to it but it also provides us with a very valuable lesson.

The Cookie Thief

The Cookie Thief - Passengers Waiting in an Airport LoungeA woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man beside her, as bold as could be,
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

She munched cookies and watched the clock,
As this gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking “If I wasn’t so nice I’d blacken his eye”.

The Cookie Thief - Those Lovely CookiesWith each cookie she took, he took one too.
And when only one was left she wondered what he’d do.
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half as he ate the other.
She snatched it from him and thought “Oh brother!
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude.
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude”.

She had never known when she had been so galled
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

The Cookie Thief - Passengers on a PlaneShe boarded the plane and sank in her seat.
Then sought her book which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage she gasped with surprise.
There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes.

“If mine are here” she moaned with despair,
“Then the others were his and he tried to share”.
“Too late to apologize” she realized with grief.
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

~ Valerie Cox

The Cookie Thief reminds me of just how easy it is for us to jump to conclusions. We make all kinds of assumptions about all kinds of things every day and, if we’re not careful, these things may well come back and ‘bite’ us somewhere rather unpleasant. You know what they say;

If you ‘assume’ things you may just make an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

I read The Cookie Thief on a fairly regular basis. Not just because it makes me smile but because it reminds me to ‘engage my brain before opening my mouth’.  It’s a great reminder that I need to think carefully and ask lots questions to ensure that I really do understand any given situation before I jump in, headlong, with my hob-nailed boots.

The message contained in The Cookie Thief has served me well, time and time again, but I must confess that there are still times when I do get it wrong.  Clearly, I need to keep working on resisting those urges to jump to conclusions whenever they occur and I do need to keep re-reading the terrific poem.

So, what about you?  Do you have a tendency to jump to conclusions, as well?

Let me know what you think. Please leave a comment, below.

And, if this story resonates with you in anyway, at all, please share using the Wessex Speakers ‘Share Tab’ on the right side of your screen. Just click to open it..

Have a great day,

Steve Bimpson

Chris Hoy – Now the Most Decorated British Olympian

Our Olympic Quotations of the Day

8th August 2012

Chris Hoy Celebrating His Olympic GoldWell, how exciting is this Olympics?  It was only a few days ago that I wrote a post stating that Bradley Wiggins had become the most decorated British Olympian and here we are, just 5 days later, and now Chris Hoy has taken over that mantle. And he was very pleased about it;

“This is the perfect end to my Olympic career. At Sydney (in 2000), I was just over the moon with a silver medal. If I’d have stopped then I would have been a happy boy, but to go on to Athens, Beijing and here, I can’t put it into words.”

“I’m in shock. You try to compose yourself but it’s surreal. I wanted to win gold in front of my home crowd. I saw everyone stepping up to the plate and thankfully it worked out for me too.”

“I can’t put into words what it means to me. It’s one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.“

As for the future?

“I’m 99.9% sure I won’t be competing in Rio. How can you top this? The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is another question, as that would be the dream ending for me.”

A Bit About Chris Hoy

Chris Hoy With His Latest Olympic Gold MedalSir Chris Hoy, MBE, was born on the 23rd March 1976. He’s a Scottish track cyclist representing Great Britain and Scotland and a multiple World Champion and winner of seven Olympic Medals, six of which are Gold Medals.

He became Scotland’s most successful Olympian after winning his three Gold Medals in Beijing 2008, as well as, the first Briton to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games since Henry Taylor in 1908. He’s also our most successful Olympic cyclist. He won a further two gold medals (in the Keirin and Team Sprint) at the London 2012 Olympics, making him the most successful British Olympian of all time.

Chris was born and raised in Edinburgh and has competed in various sports since he was just seven years old. He started to show his talent as a cyclist when he raced BMX, which he did until the age of 14, during which time he became Scottish Champion, ranking 2nd in Britain and 9th in the world.

He also rowed and played rugby for his school, George Watson’s College, throughout his teenage years, rowing for Scotland as a junior and winning a British Championship Silver Medal in the Coxless Pairs.

Chris Hoy Celebrating His Olympic SuccessChris joined his first cycling club in Dunedin in 1992 and, two years later, joined The City of Edinburgh Racing Club, which is the most successful track club in Britain. Since 1996, he’s been an integral member of the Great Britain National squad. He won his first World Medal in 1999 – a Silver in the Team Sprint – and has won 11 world and two Commonwealth titles to date.

As well as his sporting achievements, Chris has a BSc Honours in Applied Sports Science from the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded two Honorary Doctorates in 2005 – one from the University of Edinburgh and another from Heriot-Watt University. He was also awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List. In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of St Andrews.

Following his historic hat-trick of gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, Chris Hoy was voted 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He was also awarded a Knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours list, capping an extraordinary year for the track cyclist from Edinburgh.

Awards and Recognition for Chris Hoy

  • BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year, 2003
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 2008
  • Sports Journalists Association Sportsman of the Year, 2008
  • Appointed MBE for services to cycling, 2005
  • Created Knight Bachelor, 2009
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Edinburgh, 2005
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, Heriot-Watt University, 2006
  • Inducted to University of St Andrews Sports Hall of Fame, 2007
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of St Andrews, 2009
  • Inducted to University of Edinburgh Sports Hall of Fame, 2009

And now Chris Hoy’s the most decorated British Olympian of all time.  I wonder whether he’ll be able to hold on to the title a little longer than Bradley Wiggins?   😆

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

Oscar Pistorious – Inspirational and Some!

Our Olympic Quotations of the Day

7th August 2012

Oscar Pistorious in ActionOscar Pistorius made Olympic history by becoming the first double amputee to compete in an Olympic athletics event. And he went on to qualify for the 400m semi-finals in front of his 89-year-old grandmother. Oscar, as you can imagine, has a terrific attitude;

“You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are abled by the abilities you have.”

There has been a little controversy about his carbon fiber ‘Blades’;

“Every progression is because of the dedication and sacrifices I make. The artificial leg does not give me anything back and carbon fiber is a static material. It does not have a ‘spring’ that people have been misinformed about.”

And finally, some very wise words that Oscar learned from his mother;

“A loser isn’t the person that gets involved and comes last ……. it’s the person that doesn’t get involved in the first place”.

And let that be a reminder for all of us.

A Bit About Oscar Pistorious

Oscar Pistorious - InspirationalOscar Pistorius was born on the 22nd November 1986. He’s a South African sprint runner who’s come to be known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs”. Oscar’s a double amputee and is the Paralympic World Record holder for class T44 in the 100m, 200m and 400m events.

He’s able to compete with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Össur (that’s a bit of a mouthful). Although, he competes in the T44 class (single below knee amputees) events, Oscar’s actually classified in T43 (double below knee amputee).

In 2007, he took part in his first international competitions for able-bodied athletes. However, his artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, have generated claims that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners.

In the same year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) amended their competition rules and banned the use of “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device”. The IAAF claimed that the amendment wasn’t aimed, specifically, at Oscar.

After monitoring his track performances and carrying out tests, scientists had taken the view that Oscar Pistorius enjoyed a considerable advantage over fellow athletes without prosthetic limbs. In January 2008, on the strength of these findings, the IAAF ruled him ineligible for competitions conducted under its rules. That included 2008 Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed this decision on the 16th May 2008, ruling that overall, there was no evidence that Oscar had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.

Although this meant that he was eligible to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he failed to qualify for the South African team. In spite of the fact that he got third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400m event in Lucerne, his time fell short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds. The South African Olympic Committee didn’t select him for the 4 × 400m relay team, either, as there were four other runners who’d achieved better times – And that’s as it should be.

He achieved considerable success at the 2008 Paralympics, taking the gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints (T44 class).

Oscar Pistorious Competing in the London OlympicsOn 19 July 2011, Oscar recorded a 400m time of 45.07 seconds and achieved the “A” qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Summer Olympics.

At the World Championships, he took part in the 400m sprint and the 4 × 400m relay. With a time of 46.19 seconds, he was eliminated in the semi-final of the 400m sprint, finishing last.  However, as part of South Africa’s Silver Medal winning relay team, he became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal, although, he wasn’t selected for the final.

Oscar Pistorius became the first double leg amputee ever to participate in the Olympic Games when he entered the men’s 400m race on 4th August 2012.

His achievements are a great credit to him and have been earned on merit.

I don’t know about you but I’ll always remember his excellent attitude epitomised by his quotation that was mentioned at the beginning of this post,

“You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are abled by the abilities you have.”

And on that note, have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

Ben Ainslie – The Most Decorated Olympic Sailor

Our Olympic Quotation of the Day

6th August 2012.

Ben Ainslie - The Most Decorated Olympic SailorBen Ainslie is now the most decorated Olympic sailor in history, following his London 2012 Gold Medal and, today, we focus on him in our Olympic tribute.

Ben has been under a huge amount of pressure as favourite to win the Gold but it didn’t start well and the pressure piled on;

“When I started off on the back foot, people were upset that I wasn’t winning. That’s hard as a competitor. I had to fight back. I’ve been doing it a long time and been in a lot of scrapes. Thankfully I came through this one.”

Then he came across a bit like The Incredible Hulk when he sent the following warning to his sailing rivals during his pursuit for that Gold Medal;

“They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry.”

But there’s no doubt that the competition was tough;

“It was the most nerve-racking race of my life. I don’t want to go through anything like that again. There was nothing left in me.”

Although, Ben’s been involved in the America’s Cup, 2012 sees him stepping up to a new level (see more, below);

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be involved in the America’s Cup. I remember when I was a kid sailing Optimists down in Cornwall and there was a British America’s Cup challenge that was training in Falmouth.”

Of course, he has been involved three times but it will be interesting to see what the America’s Cup holds in store for Ben in the future.

A Bit About Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie Does The BusinessBen Ainslie, CBE, was born on the 5th February 1977.  He’s an in incredibly successful English competitive sailor, who in 2012, became the first person to win medals in sailing at five Olympic Games, and the second (after Paul Elvstrøm) to win four gold medals.

Ben’s been recognised for his consistent performance: He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours List after his success at the Sydney Olympics, he was then promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours List following success in the Athens Olympics. He was promoted, once more, to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours List following his success in the Beijing Games. I wonder what honour will come next for Ben Ainslie?


Ben Ainslie Celebrates Olympic Gold in London

Copyright onEdition 2012©

Ben’s success is impressive. He’s won the International Sailing Federation’s top Award more times than anyone else, being named ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998, 2002 and 2008. He was also nominated in 2004 and 2011.

He was awarded the title of British Yachtsman of the Year in 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

His list of World Championships Titles goes like this;

  • 1st 1993 Laser Radial World Championships.
  • 1st 1995 IYRU Youth Sailing World Championships in Hamilton, Bermuda.
  • 1st 1998 Laser World Championships.
  • 1st 1999 Laser World Championships.
  • 1st 2002 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2003 ISAF Sailing World Championships which effectively is the Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2004 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2005 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2008 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2010 ISAF Open Match Racing World Championships.
  • 1st 2012 Finn World Championships.

But Ben’s also caused the odd controversy.

In 2011, at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, he was enjoying a winning position going into the closing stages of the regatta but was disqualified under rule 69 (gross misconduct) for physically threatening a photographer. Ben had felt the photographer’s boat’s wake had prevented him from passing a competitor and boarded the craft to accost him.

Ben was chosen to become the first person to carry the Olympic torch in the UK and, on the 19th May 2012 at Land’s End, he was the first of 8,000 torch carriers.  On passing the flame to 18-year-old Cornish surfer Tassy Swallow, he said, “It’s something I’ll never forget. It was an amazing atmosphere. But it’s back to reality tomorrow and training for the Olympics.”

Ben Ainslie Celebrates Olympic Gold in WeymouthHis gold medal at the 2012 Olympics was presented by two Royal former Olympians, Princess Anne and King Constantine of Greece.

So, what’s next for Ben Ainslie?

Well, although he’s participated three times, he’s yet to enjoy success in the America’s Cup. However, on 10th January 2012, ‘Ben Ainslie Racing’ was formally announced. Ben is the figure-head and with the support of Grant Simmers, ‘Ben Ainslie Racing’ will compete in the remaining AC45 America’s Cup World Series events.

The team has been underwritten by the American defender Oracle Racing, with whom Ben has close links, and the aim of the team is to help prepare the defender for competition and, hopefully, to provide the building blocks for a British challenge to the 35th America’s Cup.

It’s good to have a goal.

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson