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Live webchat with Colin Jackson, Olympic athlete and commentator, TODAY, 23rd May, at 12noon

(78 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-May-12 16:01:59

Olympic athlete, commentator and Strictly dancer Colin Jackson is hurdling his way over to MN Towers on Wednesday (23 May) to join us for a webchat at noon.

Representing Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion three times, went undefeated at the European Championships for 12 years and was a two-time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91sec for the 110m hurdles stood for over a decade, and he is also the 60m hurdles world record holder.

Colin will be commentating on the Olympics for the BBC this summer.

Join him next Wednesday at midday or post a question in advance on this thread.

Colin is working with Mission Foods to highlight the range of sporting options for kids, from traditional sports to more marginalised sports, and to show that giving kids a chance to find a sport they like and enjoy is key to getting children to be more active.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:03:08


Hi Colin, lovely to see you here. I have long been an admirer of yours wink <that's a salacious wink btw>

What do you think are the key priorities in getting children involved with competitive sport? I have two daughters and I just know that the younger one will be a fantastic athlete with the right help. Ever since she was about 6 months old and she would hold on to my little fingers and leg it along the landing, I have been saying that she will be a future Olympian. She's only two, but is super fast, incredibly bold and just loves running. She also has fantastic genes on her father's side (without any formal training, he was a sub-50 second 400 metre runner). I don't want this to be lost - what do you suggest are the best things to do to harness her talent and love of sport?

wink again. Sorry, I couldn't resist grin

Remember guys, 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 just support them, and they will do the rest.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:04:30


OOh I didn't realise Suzanne Packer was your sister (till I googled) I love Casualty...sorry that was really irrelevant.

I was useless at hurdles at school, really fast at sprinting but I think i was too short for hurdles.

I'm waffling and haven't actually asked a question grin

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'm furious wink

Rindercella Wed 23-May-12 12:06:10

Thank you very much for answering my question Colin.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:06:14


Hi, I have a question from my sportsmad partner (who is very impressed that I'm actually able to ask you stuff grin)

How did you feel when you saw another man overtake your world record? How do you cope with that?

Thank you thanks

I wasn't too disappointed, because I always believe that the a`udience 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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:07:58


Any tips for top Brits for the summer's games?
I know you rate Jack Green very highly - can you see him beating Dai at the 400MH this summer?

Jack beating Dai is a wicked question smile 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 smile

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:08:42


Hello colin

I've always had a bit of a yen to do pole vaulting. Do you think I've left it too late?

I am 37 and a bit fat.

I had a go at pole vault, and it's a long way up. I would suggest you keep two feet on the floor.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:13:23


Hi Colin,

Can you tell us a bit more about your work with Mission Foods and how the project is going to work in attracting children (I am especially interested in ways of attracting girls to sport)?

Also a very quick follow up question - what sport (apart from Athletics) are you most looking forward to watching at the Olympics?

<Another one who is ridiculously excited about the Olympics grin >

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 like 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. Mission Deli Wraps incentive is a great idea. This works well for getting kids and adults wrapped up in local sport in their area.

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 the skill of archery is fascinating to watch...

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:15:32


Hi Colin - so excited you're coming for a webchat! Can I ask you, what do you think about Dwain Chambers being allowed back in the British team for these Olympics?

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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:17:17


Hello Colin, I am a massive fan and you were always one of my favourites to watch when you were competing. You and Roger Black were the highlights in the chunky household!

I am also 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?

Hi there,
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.

ASillyPhaseIAmGoingThrough Wed 23-May-12 12:17:28

What do you think of tweeting in the middle of his run with the olympic flame?

Would you tweet in the middle of a run during the olympics? it would be impressive if you won the race whilst tweeting

DameHermione Wed 23-May-12 12:17:35

Hello colin. Thanks for answering my ridiculous question.

I've just watched the torch go past. It was most exciting.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:19:14


What do you think of tweeting in the middle of his run with the olympic flame?

Would you tweet in the middle of a run during the olympics? --it would be impressive if you won the race whilst tweeting--

Well, I'm carrying the flame on Saturday in Swansea, and I will not be tweeting whilst 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!

undertheduvet Wed 23-May-12 12:19:34

hi colin :-) what is your favourite olympic moment, your own and involving someone else? Mine is usain bolt 100m in 2008 and linford in 1992

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Wed 23-May-12 12:20:21

At my youngest son's school they have non-competitive sports day. Now I think this is rubbish. Life is hard and you are always competing with others, and if you don't learn to lose gracefully at an early age I think it is really hard.

Also the children who are more sporty than academic never get a chance to show their skills.
Do you agree with non-competitive sport for younger children or do you, like me, think it is all a load of tosh? grin

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:20:58


Hi Colin,
Do you have any tips for a ten year old and six year old who are keen to do well in the sprint at sports day?
Thanks x

Well this is an easy one, and will guarantee results. Tell them always 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!

ASillyPhaseIAmGoingThrough Wed 23-May-12 12:21:21

I am sure we will see a report on you carrying the flame, I will look out for you in the press. Nice to know it means so much to you.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:23:21


Hi Colin, I won't be able to join you at lunchtime but wanted to know what you think about the lack of competitive sports in some schools in the UK. My main gripe with the primary school that my 2 kids attend is their annual sports day. There's no element of individual competition there at all because they say it should be about fun for all kids and not just those who are good at sports. I find it baffling that they can't see the benefits for kids who excel at sports (who maybe aren't necessarily the academic ones) and also why they can't see how important a bit of competition is to help nurture the sporting talent around. I was never great at athletics at school but my favourite day of the year was sports day - I always won the sack race smile Have you come across this and what do you think?

I would say competition is not only about sport, it's about life in general. You compete for jobs, uni 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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:26:07


hi colin :-) what is your favourite olympic moment, your own and involving someone else? Mine is usain bolt 100m in 2008 and linford in 1992

My favourite Olympic moment was Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympic games in Australia, being the first aboriginal woman to win an Olympic gold, and then noise in the stadium when she crossed the line was just unbelievable. Her emotion really showed.

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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:27:49


Dear Colin
Hi! I am just really pleased to hear that you are taking up the mantle to encourage kids to access more marginalised sports. Our son has been doing lacrosse at school this year because his form teacher is essentially the sports lead for the school and is introducing a wider range of sport. Our son who is not necessarily very sporty but really enjoys participating in sport has loved the challenge.
You obviously believe in challenging yourself along similar lines - I am thinking how skilful you were learning to dance for Strictly Come Dancing. Do you have any plans to challenge yourself sports-wise in a new direction in the future?
Thanks and looking forward to your Olympic commentating!

I am. Watch this space because Dancing on Ice happens, an Oympic special, which will be aired shortly - and muggins is in it!

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:30:18


Colin - how do you suggest parents work out what sports their kids might have the aptitude for? My DS is 4 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 be happier with football or tae kwondo or hockey longer term? I'd love to talk to someone and say 'he's slim, strong, not particularly co-ordinated. What might be good sports to introduce him to?' we don't want him to fall out of love with sport because we tried the wrong ones (i remember how i loathed hockey and netball at school, nobody had any better ideas, and i didn't discover what I was good at until my 20s and 30s) but there are too many sports to try them all.

BTW I remember watching you a lot when you were hurdling. You were, and remain, one of my favourite athletes smile

Having your youngster doing gymnastics and swimming is fabulous, because they're the sports that will teach you co-ordination 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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:32:48


Hi Colin

I can not express how stupidly excited I am about the Olympics! Since the day we won the bid I have been counting down the days and now the torch relay has begun I am beyond happy. I am insanely jealous of all those who have got tickets but will be happy enough watching/listening to your commentating on the BBC.

Now for my question; 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?

Also very sneekily a second question; what is your opinion of the Dwain Chambers situation?

Most athletics clubs allow youngsters to join from the age of ten, because that's the time they will learn to compete and they're allowed to compete. 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.

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:35:51


Any suggestions on a sport for a uncompetitive 10 year old girl. She is very agile/fit/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.

(hope that makes sense!)

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, and 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, they may not be the ones she'll take up on a more full-time basis. So bide your time!

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:38:32


Hi Colin - I'm a massive fan of your presenting and know that when I see you're 'on', no matter who the co-presenters are, it will be a professional, intelligent commentary.

My son age 9 is 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 realistically feel like quitting? If so, what motivated you to carry on?


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. And if he loves his sport, you have no need to worry, because the Q word won't even come into his mindset.

undertheduvet Wed 23-May-12 12:38:57

thanks for answering colin, really looking forward to you commentating in the summer, is michael jordan doing it with you? Your knowledge and love of athletics is great to watch

ColinJackson Wed 23-May-12 12:39:56


Hi colin

I have always thought you are a bit of a dish-can you blow me a virtual kiss please-tawink x

thanks - they've not got a kiss emoticon on Mumsnet!

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