Father and son duo recall Olympic roles

Paul Smith (left) and son Aidan in the Olympic Stadium
Paul Smith (left) and son Aidan in the Olympic Stadium

An Ilkeston teenager who was the youngest field judge at this year’s Olympics has been recounting his once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Aidan Smith was selected by London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to make rulings on field events at London 2012.

And the Games were a real family affair for the 18-year-old after his dad Paul was also selected to be an official.

Aidan was selected to perform tasks at a variety of Olympic events including shot put, the long jump in the women’s heptathlon, triple jump and javelin in the men’s decathlon.

As well as performing official duties, Aidan also partied with Paralympic athletes and even met the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt.

He said: “It was an experience I will never forget, seeing the Games close up and being a part of it was fantastic.

“I didn’t know what I would be doing until we got there. I was in the shot put team, which is a great event because anything can happen at any time.

“In the shot put I operated the EDM machine which measures the distance using a laser. The measurement came back and I had to send it to a computer which puts it onto the scoreboard.

“I was also raking the pit in the long jump and the triple jump. It was quite difficult and you could never get it perfectly flat, you have to rake out all the lumps and holes.

“I operated the time clock and wind speed tools in the long jump as well as in the women’s heptathlon, for which the atmosphere was amazing and really loud due to Jess Ennis competing. It was strange to be so close.”

Paul’s duties during the Olympics were mainly with the discus team, working the EDM machine in the men’s final.

In the Paralympics he had a variety of roles including handing the athletes their implements to throw and measuring the distance in the long jump.

He said: “Although we were up at 6am and working until 11pm some days it was worth it, It was good to be part of British history and let’s hope we bring a lot more people into sport.”

Aidan, who is studying sport and exercise science at Nottingham Trent University, has beentelling schoolchildren across Erewash about his experience in a series of visits organised by Erewash School Sport Partnership.

Rhian Lilley, the partnership’s development manager, said the teenager was in inspiration to local youngsters.

She said: “It just shows what you can achieve through lots of hard work and determination and you don’t necessarily have to be a great athlete to be involved in sport.

“Hopefully Aidan’s story will inspire youngsters and form part of the Olympic legacy.”