In August 2023, Ollie Parker, one of our second year students, competed at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, coming away with a Bronze medal in 400m hurdles.
Following the Games, Ollie met with Paul Wilson to discuss his achievements. He explained that he had only taken up hurdling a year earlier and that it was really hard work physically, but through his commitment to training, he saw steady improvements as the year progressed.
Fast forward to Ollie eventually running the fastest time in England and then getting a call, during his WQE History lesson, to be invited to represent England in Trinidad and Tobago at the Games. Ollie pointed out that on times alone, he was statistically the slowest competitor in his event and that he had taken the view that having got there, he may as well enjoy it and have a go at doing his best, leading to him making the final.
Not satisfied with that and despite being in one of the less favoured outside lanes, he described his decision to just go off fast and run his own race as he couldn’t see most of the other competitors anyway. In 5th place on the home straight he hung in there only to see the 4th placed athlete fall. Ollie described wanting it so much in the face of that opportunity, that he dived rather than dipped at the finish line, damaging his shirt and risking injury too. The finish was so close that Ollie was made to wait for over 30 minutes for the photo finish outcome and then discovered he had won Bronze by 1/1000th of a second! Medallist, rather than first loser (4th) as he described it and he proudly showed his medal and his England kit with a beaming smile, saying “I think I just wanted it more than the other competitors” who had more experience at international level.
Ollie showed how ambition, sacrifice, sustaining hard work and doing your very best at each small step leads somewhere. He now has European and World Championships in his sights, not to mention focussing on getting top grades to support his OxBridge application.
Well done Ollie!