Keri-Anne Payne almost stepped away from swimming after missing out on a medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games but her mum Pat admits it’s a relief she stuck at it with an Olympic gold on home soil her potential reward.
The 24-year-old is favourite to claim top spot in London in the open water event at Hyde Park, having won the World Championship title in Shanghai last year to book her Olympic spot.
But six years ago in Melbourne she only managed fourth place in the 800m and sixth in the 400m medley, something which her mum revealed hit her hard.
“After the Commonwealth Games in 2006 where Keri-Anne missed out on a medal in a couple of events she was very disappointed in herself,” said Pat speaking at the P&G Thank You Mum campaign that coincided with 100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“We thought it was wonderful what she’d achieved but she didn’t, she was really upset about the whole thing.
“So as a mum I just sort of sat by and was shoulder to cry on and tried not to talk too much about swimming but encourage her to continue with her training in the hope that she would get back into the competitive side of it.
“It was a good six months before she felt ready to get back out and compete again.”
Since becoming the first Briton to book her place at the Games Payne has become one of the poster girls of the Games, where she will be looking to upgrade her open water silver won in Beijing four years ago.
And with everything on the line on August 9 at Hyde Park, Pat concedes there will be more than a few anxious faces in the Payne household this summer.
She added: “She’s dedicated her life to what she’s doing, she’s sacrificed everything in order to do her training, go away on swim camps, focusing on one day out of her life.
“It feels very emotional being at Hyde Park, seeing where she’s going to be swimming. It’s an iconic place.
“It’s very hard to even you know concentrate on it sometimes, to think, knowing what she’s gone through and how hard she’s worked, it’s nerve-wracking for the whole family really.
“To come back in August is going to be, well, it’s going to be amazing. We will see all her hard work come together.
“Seeing all the sacrifices she’s made, all the sacrifices the family’s made – all down to that one day. It’s going to be a day to remember.”
Written by: Paul Smith
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