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An Interview With Harlow’s London 2012 Olympic Athlete

Friday 05th August 2016

With all eyes being on Rio De Janeiro this summer as the 2016 Summer Olympics games is held there. It got us reminiscing about the last Summer Olympics, London 2012. It was a time where Great Britain united and the whole nation felt proud to be British. From the atmospheric opening ceremony where her Royal Majesty made a dramatic entrance with James Bond to Team GB winning a total of 65 medals ranking them in third place and London 2012 Olympic Athlete, Mo Farah’s gold medal victory.

We have been lucky enough to bag an interview with London 2012 Olympic Athlete, James Huckle and you’ll never guess where he’s from? Yes, that’s right, Harlow. James Huckle was selected as one of ten shooters to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics. He has now put his sporting career on hold to pursue a career in Finance but was happy to sit down with us to give us an insight into the Olympic games and his experience of being a London 2012 Olympic athlete.

OlympicsDay7ShootingUfN5uBvZ8_Ml An Interview With Harlow's London 2012 Olympic Athlete

James Huckle, Harlow’s London 2012 Olympic Athlete

How did you get into shooting?

I had seen someone shooting on TV and thought that it was pretty cool. It was something different and exciting. When I had the opportunity one day to use my Dad’s air rifle, I jumped at the chance.

What is your proudest moment of your sporting career?

Most athletes say it’s the first time you wear the Team GB tracksuit and anytime you represent your country at the Olympic games. But for me, it was my first year as a senior (over 21) in 2011. I made a final at the World Cup held in Changwon, South Korea and beat a long-standing British record held by the late Olympic gold medallist, Malcolm Copper.

Can you give us an insight into the Olympics? How long do you train for beforehand?

I began seriously training (full-time) in 2008, around the time of the Beijing Olympics, which helped inspire me to target the next Olympics (2012). My day consisted of around four hours of practice – broken up into 1-hour session – followed by an hour in the gym every day. We would work independently on things such as psychology and diet. It was very intense. Of course, I did a lot of travelling around the world too, competing and training in various countries.

What’s the atmosphere like with the other competitors?

This is probably what I enjoy most about sport – everyone is hyper-competitive, but at the same time we are all best friends. They are the first people to pat you on the back if you have had a good day, or give you a word of encouragement on your bad days. It is the comradery that makes it all worthwhile.

How did it feel to represent GB in London 2012?

When I first got the news that I had been picked as a London 2012 Olympic athlete, it was a mixture of excitement and relief – that my four years of hard work had paid off. The feeling when you walk into the Olympic village as an Olympian is of immense privilege. You have become part of the largest and most respected sporting event in history. You simply want to do your country proud.

Who is your sporting inspiration?

I never truly had an idle growing up, but I was inspired by anyone who dedicated themselves towards their passion and was willing to do everything to become better at it. Every athlete out there during the 2016 Olympics will be an inspiration to me as a London 2012 Olympic athlete .

What is the last thing you did for the first time?

I try and push myself to do new things all of the time. I have always dreamt of flying, but as an athlete, you have to be careful taking up any extreme sports, as you can’t afford to get injured. I recently took up Paragliding which has given me the ability to fulfil my dream for the first time.

What are your three top pieces of advice for those wanting a career in sport?

I was very sporty as a child. I did swimming, tennis, gymnastics, track and field, rugby…you name it. I also got my black belt in judo before I started shooting. However, it was shooting that really got me excited. I would spend hours practising for the pure enjoyment and wanted to hit smaller and smaller targets. My advice would be to try lots of sports and pick the ones you really enjoy, and above all to try the sports that may not be as popular. Just a quick look at the list of Olympic events is enough to see a huge array of sports to pick from.

What was the best piece of advice you were given?

To try and get better every day, and to train smart. Find the area in your technique that needs working on, and intelligently find ways to improve. Taking a break and doing other activities also help keep me balanced when things get stressful.

Shooting isn’t one of the most recognised sports in the Olympics, does this have anything to do with why you chose not continue with your Olympian career?

Not particularly, although it is not a particularly popular sport in the UK, it has a huge following in Europe and of course the US. The reason I stopped was to focus on my career (as I put my education on hold to compete). However, I may very well look to return to competitive shooting one day.

What made you choose to leave your sporting career for finance?

I’ve always been interested in finance, even during my shooting career. I wanted to take on a challenge that was going to be as big as the Olympics, and finance is known for being one of the most competitive industries. The lessons I have learnt from sport have helped me immensely.

If you were competing in Rio? How would you feel about the Zika Virus? Would you go?

We all take risks in our lives, but it has to be said that Athletes probably take a few more than the average person to be the very best. From what I have heard from the reports, the Government is doing everything possible to reduce the risks, and if it was me, I would be there again in a heartbeat!


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