Back at the start of last month, in what feels like a different age for British sport, John McEnroe mused on what constitutes the ideal development plan for the modern sportsman, while on commentary at Wimbledon.Andy Murray, the subject who prompted the debate, was starting to reap rewards for his decision to leave home as a teenager and devote his life to tennis. McEnroe was asked if such action was now a necessity for any aspiring athlete.
“I hope not,” he said. “Go to college and be a late developer.” It sounded a quaint sentiment, but is it really feasible in this day and age?
If these Games are anything to go by, then being a late bloomer is definitely a viable option. In fact, late developing should be a new Olympic sport. London 2012 has been littered with sportsmen who have just turned their hand to a sport, but made good more or less immediately.
Last week, Helen Glover won gold on the water at Eton Dorney, four years after answering an advert for “tall people” to give rowing a try.
Yesterday, Lawrence Okoye opened his Olympic account by chucking the discus about 20 yards wide of the target area.
He looked like the sort of bloke who had just given discus a try, and belonged on the rugby field instead. Which was exactly the case until recently.
Then he sent his third throw out to beyond 65 metres. Later today he will be in the medal hunt in the event. Not bad for a new kid