Louis Smith. Sam Oldham, Hannah Macleod and Robie Grabarz ready for London 2012 Olympics

LOUIS Smith, Sam Oldham, Robbie Grabarz and Hannah Macleod will represent Huntingdonshire at the London 2012 Olympic Games which began in earnest this morning (Saturday, July 28) after Billions of people worldwide watched Friday evening’s spectacular opening ceremony.

The gymnasts, the high jumper and the women’s hockey player might make up a small percentage of the 542 members of Team GB – but each of them has a realistic chance of winning a medal at the Games after years of dedication and hard work.

Smith and Oldham will be in action today (Saturday, July 28) with the men’s artistic team competition beginning at the North Greenwich Arena. And the 23-year-old team captain Smith, who won bronze at the last Olympics in China, has the chance of becoming a double medal-winner in London with the individual pommel horse competition beginning on Monday (July 30).

Former St Ives hockey player Macleod’s first game for the GB women’s team is against Japan on Sunday evening (7pm). Grabarz, who was raised in St Neots, will make his first qualifying jump on August 5 as he aims to win a place in the August 7 final.

Grabarz said: “You have got to dream of the gold medal, it’s certainly what I’m dreaming about, I’ve got to go and fight and prove I am capable of winning it.

“It will be nice to have the crowd behind me, nice to know there’s 80,000 cheering for me but it’s just going to be extra noise to me really, it makes it harder to concentrate.

“I expected to make the Olympics, at the end of last year I turned myself around, I had a rubbish 2011 season and I knew this should happen, I thought about it and I really wanted to make it happen and step by step it has come into place.”

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Four years ago Macleod was considering retirement after missing out on selection for the Beijing Olympics.

Fast forward to 2012 and the 28-year-old is targeting the Olympic podium. “This is my first Games so it’s not bad timing really, with it being in London,” she said. “I missed out for selection in Beijing, so it was an incredibly disappointing time and I nearly retired and moved on.

“Everyone asks what it’s like in the build-up to a home Olympics, as far as I’m concerned they’re all like this, it’s all I know.”

Paul Hall is Smith and Oldham’s coach at Huntingdon Gym. He’s also a part of the Team GB gymnastics set-up.

Speaking from London last Tuesday (July 24), he told The Hunts Post: “It’s all good, we arrived yesterday and the sun was shining on everyone.

“It’s really exciting but it’s a waiting game now. There is a lot to do in the village and the guys have their final preparations to go though. There are all fit and ready.”

After years of working with Smith and the Oldham, this is as much Hall’s Olympics as it is the athletes’.

Smith said: “The team is such a good team and my main message to them is to enjoy themselves as for a lot of them, it’s their first Olympics, but not going to be their last,” he said.

“Personally, I feel brilliant. I’ve got a few creases to iron out, but mentally I’m sharp and feel ready.”

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