London 2012

Fatima Whitbread's Olympics

My Olympics

Ahead of London 2012 we asked a range of personalities to let us know what the Olympics means to them. Two-time Olympic javelin medallist Fatima Whitbread explains why she'd be a heptathlete if she had her time again...

What are your favourite Olympics memories?

Mary Peters winning her Olympic gold medal in the heptathlon at the Munich Games in 1972 helped to define my life because it was an achievement that inspired me to pursue a career in athletics. I was 11 at the time and it made a huge impression on me; at that time I was living in children's homes and sport became my saviour. Mary's success went a long way to shaping how I developed and gave me something to try to emulate.

Who would you class as the greatest Olympian of all time?

I'd be hard pushed to name just one because there have been so many great athletes! At the end of the day it's a very personal choice. Jesse Owens is the name that immediately springs to mind - his four gold medals in 1936 were an incredible achievement. At that time it was such a massive step forward for the world of sport. Carl Lewis is another athlete who redefined athletics and then there's Fanny Blankers-Koen - who broke the mould to become a true champion of women's athletics and became a real star of the last London Olympics.

Are you lucky enough to be going to the Olympics?

Like all former Olympic athletes we were offered the chance to buy tickets for the event that we would have competed at, so on August 9 I'm going to watch the women's javelin final. My son Ryan, who springs in the 200m with South Mid-Essex and is a great fan of Usain Bolt, is coming with me. As luck would have it, the men's 200m final is on the same day that we're going so it's perfect timing. I'll also be working on The Wright Stuff panel for a week during the Olympics.

What other events are you most looking forward to watching?

I'm looking forward to seeing Tom Daley in action - I think he's a young man with a lot of grit and determination. Hopefully he'll do himself justice and get on the podium. I'm also going to keep a close eye on Sir Chris Hoy in the cycling and Rebecca Adlington in the swimming, as well as watch the women's weight-lifting.

How do you think Team GB will fare?

They've got massive support from the general public and it will be very special to compete in front of a home crowd. I'm assuming the stars will win their medals and that the less well-known athletes will be buoyed by the level of support they receive and as a result will come back with better performances and maybe even medals that perhaps they wouldn't have expected.

Do you think the legacy of London 2012 will be of benefit to sport in general?

Any Olympics should be a massive inspiration for people around the world - not just the city where it takes place. I hope that this year's is no different and that it inspires people across the board to focus on their goals and help them to realise their dream. Ideally, the Games will help young families invest a minimum of five years into their children with the aim of getting them out there doing something, whether it is sport or arts and crafts. It all helps to create a healthier lifestyle for all.

What sport would you like to see added to the Olympics?

There are so many already that I don't think we need any more! It's a hard one but I'd argue whether sports like tennis and football should be in the Olympics at all.

If you were to enter the Olympics at the peak of your sporting ability, which event would you choose and why...?

I'd love to be a heptathlete because I'm pretty much an all-rounder and I like challenges. The heptathlon would definitely be something that I would seriously consider doing if I was starting out again because I enjoy all track and field events.

Fatima's new book 'Survivor: The Shocking and Inspiring Story of a True Champion' is available online and in book shops now.