Colin Jackson webchat
Olympic athlete, London 2012 commentator and Strictly Come Dancing contender Colin Jackson joined us in May 2012 to chat about the upcoming Games, his career and sporting injuries, and to answer your questions on training young athletes.
Colin is working with Mission Foods to highlight the range of sporting options for children, from traditional sports to more marginalised sports, and to show that giving children a chance to find a sport they enjoy is key to getting them to be more active.
jaquelinehyde: If you think a child has a talent for athletics, at what age do you think it is appropriate for the child to join an athletics club?
Colin: Most athletics clubs allow youngsters to join from the age of 10. My advice when introducing youngsters into the sport via the club system is to go just at the beginning of the summer, because they can train and compete directly so they'll get into it more and they'll learn to love it. If you take them in the winter time, the training's much harder with nothing to really aim for, there's no short-term goal.
Rindercella: What do you think are the key priorities in getting children involved with competitive sport?
Colin: Remember, sport is about fun. And your youngsters will always demonstrate to you the sport that they have the most fun doing. All you need to do is support them and they will do the rest.
Calypso: What do you think about the lack of competitive sports in some schools in the UK?
Colin: I would say competition is not only about sport, it's about life in general. You compete for jobs, university places, and of course the obvious, sport. So it's a good lesson to learn very early to deal with success and failure. So for me, competition on a sports day is a great idea, because it allows our young people to develop and learn how to deal with these issues at a young age.
AbigailAdams: Can you tell us a bit more about your work with Mission Foods and how the project is going to attract children - especially girls - to sport?
Colin: The Mission Incentive is a wonderful idea, stemming from the Mission Kids report, in that young people are not as interested as we thought in mainstream sports such as football, rugby, netball and hockey. They wanted to try new things, and top of the list were things like trampolining, archery, streetdance, zumba and dodgeball, which is great news because they're all sports that have discipline. The Mission Deli Wraps incentive is a great idea. It works well for getting kids and adults wrapped up in local sport in their area.
lemniscate: How do you suggest parents work out what sports their kids might have the aptitude for? My son is four and we're trying to get him into sport and exercise now. He goes to gymnastics and swimming, but how do we know that he might not be happier with football or taekwondo or hockey, longer term? We don't want him to fall out of love with sport because we tried the wrong ones.
Colin: Having your youngster doing gymnastics and swimming is fabulous because they're the sports that will teach him coordination early. I would not worry about putting him off sport because he will find the sport he enjoys the most, and he'll find friendship, and fun, and that will encourage him to keep participating. But it seems what you're doing now is absolutely perfect, no need to worry.
thebestisyettocome: Do you have any tips for children keen to do well in the sprint at sports day?
Colin: Tell them to look forward. Never look at their friends on the sides, or give you a wave as they go past you, and they will definitely move quicker. That worked for me.
Harr1etJ0nes: Any suggestions on a sport for an uncompetitive 10-year-old girl? She is very agile, fit and energetic but, while she plays football and swims, she doesn't get competitive. It feels like her ability is wasted at present and she needs a sport that doesn't revolve round winning.
Colin: Sometimes young girls can be quite shy when it comes to sport, and she may be slightly embarrassed that she's good. Do not force her to do anything because it seems she has a natural ability already; as she gets older she'll become more confident and apply her natural ability in her chosen sport. To be honest, the ones you've mentioned now may not be the ones she'll take up on a more full-time basis, so bide your time.
VonHerrBurton: My son is nine and more into athletics, martial arts and swimming than team sports. We encourage and praise constantly but dread him quitting. If he said he wanted to quit, we wouldn't want to push him into participating unwillingly. What else could we do if the dreaded Q word arose? As a young athlete, did you ever feel like quitting?
Colin: When I was 14 my mother stopped me from doing athletics and training because I wasn't concentrating on my school work. So I had to prove that my grades weren't affected by my love of sport. But I always wanted to do sport of some nature, hence the Q word never came into it, because I loved sport. If he loves his sport you have no need to worry, because the Q word won't even come into his mindset.
Bizageza: Of my three children, the youngest is a natural athlete/gymnast/ swimmer - the other two have no natural aptitude at all. It's hard to know when to call it a day and say find another hobby, or whether with coaching and enthusiasm they could come - if not first on sports day - at least not last.
Colin: I was never the best in my school at any of the sports that I enjoyed, but the emphasis is on that word 'enjoyed'. I never ever in my wildest dreams thought I'd become a champion. Working hard and believing in myself, I think, can make a difference. Sport is an individual choice and it's for the person taking part to enjoy the most. So whichever sport your children enjoy, even if they're not very good at it, if they still enjoy it, encourage them.
InWithTheITCrowd: My son is only three but a fantastic swimmer. Would you recommend (at this early age) sticking to one sport, that he already excels in, as we seem to be doing, or ensuring that he has a more rounded experience of other sports, too?
Colin: Never push him, but if he wants to try other sports, don't discourage him. I played cricket, basketball, rugby, football and running and enjoyed them all. I loved athletics the most in the end, and stuck to that and that was my chosen sport. So let your young son enjoy.
PurplePidjin: How did you feel when you saw another man overtake your world record? How do you cope with that?
Colin: I wasn't too disappointed, because I always believe that the audience watching track and field events should see the best athletes on the track, not sitting beside them in the stand. So I was honoured to have ownership of the record for over a decade. Now it belongs to somebody else.
gazzalw: Do you have any plans to challenge yourself sports-wise in a new direction in the future?
Colin: I am. Watch this space because Dancing on Ice, an Olympic special, will be aired shortly - and muggins is in it.
undertheduvet: What is your favourite Olympic moment?
Colin: Mine personally had to be my very first Olympic Games in Seoul in Korea in 1988 when I was a young man and winning my Olympic silver.
Katn: Do you have any idea how many hours a week you spent in training when you were gearing up for the Olympics?
Colin: I trained five hours a day of physical activity, and there was an hour and a half of massage therapy directly after training, so as you can see there was a lot of time spent in just basic preparation for the Olympics. That was a consistent thing.
Greenshadow: Any tips for top Brits for the summer's games? I know you rate Jack Green very highly - can you see him beating Dai Greene at the 400m hurdles this summer?
Colin: Jack beating Dai is a wicked question as they're training partners with my old coach. So we don't want to stir the pot, but... both athletes have wintered well and I'm sure they'd be happy to be in the Olympic final together, as they're both capable of making it. And may the best man win.
AbigailAdams: Which sport (apart from athletics) are you most looking forward to watching at the Olympics?
Colin: There are a couple of events outside of athletics that I'm looking forward to watching at the Olympics. Swimming is always great and competitive, table tennis is another one I enjoy watching, and archery is fascinating to watch.
undertheduvet: I'm really looking forward to you commentating in the summer. Is Michael Johnson doing it with you?
Colin: Yes, Michael Johnson will be there and we're all looking forward to it as a team, even though it's gonna be very little sleep and lots of make-up.
changer22: Can you please reassure me that London 2012 will be seen as one of the fantastic Olympics like Sydney 2000, and not the damp squib that was Atlanta 1996?
Colin: Yes, we can assure you. It is going to be incredible and the Olympic Games will be run the London way. All Olympic Games are very unique, and ours will be memorable for the whole of the United Kingdom. 2012 will capture the whole nation, from the Queen's Jubilee to Wimbledon to the Euro and finally the Olympics, the nation will be smiling.
kittykitty: What do you think about Dwain Chambers being allowed back in the British team for the 2012 Olympics?
Colin: I'm always against drug-takers being allowed to represent our nation, because sports stars need to be great role models to young people, and cheating is not the way forward. But our Olympic Association is signed up to WADA, which means whatever their rulings are, we'll abide by them. Hence the reason why Dwain Chambers will be allowed to represent the United Kingdom, if he qualifies for the team. He's still got to qualify.
ASillyPhaseIAmGoingThrough: What do you think of Will.i.am tweeting in the middle of his run with the Olympic flame?
Colin: Well, I'm carrying the flame on Saturday in Swansea, and I will not be tweeting while carrying the torch. I think as an athlete, the flame has more significance to you personally, so you're far more emotional carrying it, and I'd be frightened of dropping it, so concentration is vital.
bebee: I run three times a week about four to five miles at a time and have endless tweaks and niggles, but if I stop and rest I feel I lose all my fitness quite quickly. What advice would you give on injuries?
Colin: To deal with injuries, unfortunately, the best thing is to rest and fully recover. Otherwise you can end up with chronic problems. Invest in a good massage every week and that will certainly help you recover and put you on the right road once again. I suffer from bad knees, and had seven operations, all for the love of sport, but even as a world-class athlete I realised that unless I rested, I was never going to be completely healthy again.
Princesslovelyboo: I have been going to the gym five to six times a week. However, I now have shin splints and I am finding it very hard to start running again. How do you keep going?
Colin: With shin splints the only thing you can do is rest. It will take a bit of time but if you can work with the pain you still can do things like cross training, spin classes, but nothing where you're jumping up and down. The running is definitely a no-no until it's better.
carriemumsnet: I'm a 40-something runner - and everything hurts most of the time. Someone suggested better trainers could help. What would you recommend? How should you choose your trainers?
Colin: It's vital that you choose a pair of shoes to match the amount of work you do in them. If you do heavy mileage you need something with a more solid base, and a good cross-trainer is best if you don't spend that much time running. Always go to a shoe specialist, who can advise you on which is the most comfortable and practical for your needs. Flashy is not always the best. And nor is expensive. They will advise you on what is right. Look at some Japanese companies (they spend a lot of time on development of running shoes). Good luck.
DameHermione: I've always had a bit of a yen to do pole vaulting. I am 37 and a bit fat. Do you think I've left it too late?
Colin: I had a go at pole vault, and it's a long way up. I would suggest you keep two feet on the floor.
YouveCatToBeKittenMe: I didn't realise Suzanne Packer was your sister (till I googled). I love Casualty.
Colin: My sister was the person who got me into athletics. I used to watch her compete and race and always wanted to beat her, and she never gave me the opportunity because she went into drama instead. I was furious.
sleepychunky: I am a huge Strictly fan, so a trivial question from me. Your quickstep with Erin is my absolute favourite dance ever, but who of your sporting colleagues do you think should be on this year's show?
Colin: Thanks for being such a big fan, and I'm happy you enjoyed our quickstep! Now who I would like to see on Strictly this season would be Jonathan Edwards and Gail Emms, because they can really move.