Dream came true for Surrey’s Olympics Champion
Tuesday 26 June 2012
“I’d dreamt from a boy about standing up there on the Olympic podium”
Allan Wells MBE, Olympic gold medalist and University of Surrey Systems Engineer, looks back on his sporting career and forward to London 2012.
Although Allan initially started out as triple jumper and long jumper – being crowned Scottish indoor Long Jump champion in 1974 – his focus soon shifted to sprint events.
In the years that followed, he notched up a series of successes, scooping medals in various national and international competitions including four Commonwealth gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze.
But the pinnacle of his running career came with his achievement of a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 - he was the first Briton to do so since 1924. He also won silver in the 200m.
“I’d dreamed from a boy about standing up there on the Olympic podium so I was absolutely thrilled to be selected to run for Great Britain,” says Allan. “And of course it was a great honour to be part of the British Olympic team.”
Asked what it was like just before the gun went off in the 100m final, Allan sums it up perfectly: “Nerve-racking.
“You’re supported during training by your coach, your physio, your family, and then in the build-up by your fellow team members. But when you’re standing on the starting line, you’re on your own and it’s all down to you. You’ve got to give the best performance of your life and hope it will be good enough. Fortunately, it was.”
Allan is, naturally, a huge supporter of the Games coming to Britain this year and was an ambassador for the London 2012 bid.
“London is a world-class city and hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games means it now has the sporting facilities to match,” he says.
“I’m really passionate about people taking up sport and fitness, not just for the health benefits, but also because it lets you live your life with more energy. Hopefully London 2012 will provide the inspiration for more people to take up exercise at whatever the level.”
A great fan of Surrey Sports Park, Allan is delighted that the University-owned venue has been chosen to host a number of pre-Games Training Camps.
“I’m sure Surrey Sports Park will give the teams training there a very warm welcome. The facilities it offers are top of the range and it’s not surprising there are so many top athletes already using them. But it’s also great to see so many local people down there too.”
These days, Allan’s involved with speed of a different kind, as the project manager of work to test the aerodynamics of racing cars and other high speed vehicles in the University’s wind tunnel. But he still keeps fit in his spare time, going running and playing golf regularly.
So will he be in the stadium for the 100m at this year’s Games?
“Yes, I’m pleased to say I’ve got a pair of tickets – paid for of course – to watch the 100m finals and semi-finals. I’m sure I’ll be up off my seat when the gun goes off, but I’m quite happy to be out of the limelight this time round.”
For more information on other Celebrate Surrey stories visit: celebratesurrey