Thursday, July 26, 2012
A young skier has an Olympic date with royalty tomorrow when the torch relay reaches Buckingham Palace.
Thomas Baldwin – known as TJ – is British champion in four skiing disciplines and splits his training time between Norwich and Austria.
As part of the Olympic Ambition programme for future games stars, he has been selected to attend a royal reception with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry tomorrow, when the torch will arrive for its final overnight stop before the London 2012 Olympic flame is lit on Friday.
The 21-year-old said the full details of his role in the handover had not yet been revealed, but whatever they were, he “couldn’t wait”.
He added: “I’m really excited, I was so pleased to be asked to do it especially as I was one of only a handful of people were picked as part of the Olympic Ambition programme.
“It’s going to be great to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and get the chance to go inside Buckingham Palace.”
Baldwin was identified by Norfolk County Council in 2008 as one of its rising stars, and receives funding from the council’s Sports and Cultural Foundation to contribute to training and equipment costs.
He is also one of 150 athletes on the Olympic Ambition programme, which aims to give future Olympians advance experience of the games to ensure they are ready when it comes to their time to shine.
As the British number 1, he is also ranked in the top 150 and is British champion in the super-G, giant slalom, downhill and super-combined disciplines.
Baldwin, from Tharston, near Long Stratton, is currently training with the American ski team as he aims for a place at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
It’s a long way from Norfolk Ski Club’s dry slope in Trowse, where a young Baldwin first pulled on his skis at the age of six.
And despite not getting the chance to compete at his own home Olympics, he said the anticipation for the games could only be a good thing for all sportsmen and women.
He added: “It’s great that there’s so much support from the public at the moment. It’s brilliant for every sport, winter or summer, that there’s this national excitement from everybody.”