PE teacher on track to escort lighting fast Bolt

Olympiv volunteer Linda Smithson.
Olympiv volunteer Linda Smithson.
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POULTON teacher Linda Smithson is counting the days to the start of the Olympics after landing an “awesome, dream” job at the London Games.

She has been chosen as a volunteer to escort athletes from the warm-up area to the Olympic stadium for track and field events at the Games.

And she will fulfil a similar, important role at the Paralympics.

It means she could even get to accompany big names like Usain Bolt into the arena in front of a global audience of many millions.

And even though it is setting Linda back £1,700 in accommodation and other costs for the privilege, she does not begrudge a single penny.

Linda, a PE teacher at Calder Vale Primary School in Garstang, said: “To represent my country in a team of volunteers at an Olympics in my home country is a dream come true – it is awesome. “I will be escorting the athletes from the warm-up area to the track, and we won’t be able to speak to any athletes because I know they will be in the zone, preparing to compete.”

Depending on the luck of the draw, Linda doesn’t know whether she will get the chance to accompany the world’s fastest human, Jamaican sensation Bolt, but she has already allowed her mind to wander about how her role will pan out.

She mused: “It would like a dream to be alongside Mo Farah as he goes for two gold medals on the track or Goldie Sayers, who broke her own British javelin record at the weekend.

“It is quite a way to celebrate 50 years involved in sport,” added Linda, 64, who used to compete in all the throwing disciplines for Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Athletic Club.

Linda has gained huge experience as a volunteer at major sporting competitions since the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

She also worked at the Commonwealths in Melbourne, as well as in World Cup Para events in Manchester – and in London she will be keeping a close eye on how St Annes wheelchair ace Shelly Woods fares in her four chosen events in the Paralympics.

Linda, of Tithebarn Place, added: “We have even had a Olympic-themed sports day at school and some of the children think I will actually be taking part in London.”