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Proud to be a part of Olympics
2:00pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in Wiltshire
The two past Olympic medal winners who live in the Marlborough area, David Hemery and Shelley Rudman, have spoken of the pride they felt at taking part in the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday.
Hemery, who lives at Fyfield, and Rudman, who was brought up in Pewsey, joined a group of 260 UK medal winners since 1948 who welcomed the torch before a relay of aspiring young athletes lit the cauldron that will burn for the next two weeks.
Hemery, 68, won gold in the 400m hurdles at Mexico in 1968 and Pewsey’s super-slider Rudman, 31, who now lives in Sheffield, won silver at the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 and is currently the skeleton bob world cup champion.
The TV cameras covering the opening ceremony gave a brief glimpse of Hemery, vice chairman of the British Olympic Association, but failed to pick out Rudman before the seven young athletes lit the Olympic cauldron.
On Saturday Rudman told the Gazette: “I was with the Olympic medallists invited to the ceremony last night. It was incredible... so magical to be there.”
Hemery is working as an ambassador throughout the games taking VIPs to events – he accompanied the Princess Royal at the aquatic centre when Rebecca Adlington won her bronze medal. He said it had been “an honour and privilege” to be at the opening ceremony and to be part of the group of Olympians who greeted the seven young athletes who had carried the torch on a lap of honour around the Olympic stadium before it lit the cauldron.
Father-of-two Hemery said he had been blown away by the opening ceremony. “No opening ceremony before has been like this,” he said, praising its director Danny Boyle.
“I loved the transformation from our green and pleasant land into the industrial age...it was spectacular.
“I particularly liked the humour with Her Majesty and the Queen arriving with James Bond in a helicopter and parachuting down and then the scene with Mr Bean.”
Hemery said he shared the concerns over the large numbers of empty seats at some early events and was sure that action by the London Olympic committee to free-up untaken seats would help solve this issue.
One very proud grandmother watching the opening ceremony was former Marlborough mayoress Gillian Watson from Manton whose 11-year-old granddaughter Ella White was a singer in the Kaos signing choir for deaf and hearing children who sang the national anthem.
Ella is the daughter of Mrs Watson and the late Dr David Watson’s daughter Felicity who lives in London with her husband Simon.
The proud grandmother said: “I was overwhelmed when after weeks and weeks of secrecy they told me earlier in the day that Ella was taking part in the Olympics opening ceremony.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think this could happen,” said Mrs Watson.