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Imogen Bankier: Badminton
At the 2011 World Championships at London’s Wembley Arena, Scottish badminton player Imogen Bankier and mixed doubles partner Chris Adcock beat three top-seeded teams, only to fall in the final round to earn silver. A year later, they won bronze at the 2012 European Championships, and are currently ranked tenth in the world.
Who’s your Olympic idol and why?
It’s got to be Sir Chris Hoy, surely. Considering he has four Olympic medals and over 50 world titles, he’s a Scot and he’s just an excellent role model. The way he conducts himself and how inspiring he is for young people is fantastic. I don’t think we’ll see anyone else like him in our lifetimes. It’s hard to look past him in terms of Olympic heroes.
What is your earliest memory of watching the Summer Games?
My first Olympic memory was actually badminton. It was watching Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson win silver at the Athens Olympics in 2004. I just had my appendix out and was watching the TV while I was recovering. It was so inspiring to see them. To think I’m going to be a part of the Olympics is a great thought.
What is your favorite thing about the Games?
It’s great to have a home Games. I can’t wait to be there, it’s so exciting. The whole country is getting behind it.
The pinnacle of every athlete’s career is to play in the Olympics. There is a real passion among all athletes because everyone wants that gold medal. Wembley Arena sold out very quickly [for the badminton Games] so that says something about the demand for badminton. Badminton is amazing to watch live. TV is great, but it doesn’t quite capture the speed and power of it. Watching a live game, you understand what an awesome spectacle it is.
What do you hope people take away from seeing the Games hosted in your home country?
Of course I’d like to see more people taking part in badminton in clubs, schools and socially. The more people that take up the sport, the more talent you will have to pick from and therefore increase the chances of producing somebody that can win medals. I hope people enjoy it and are inspired to take up sport, the same way I was inspired watching Nathan and Gail.
Outside of competition, what are you looking to do in London during the Games?
After the competition is over I’m looking forward to meeting athletes participating in other sports. It’s a great opportunity to speak to them and find out all about their sport.