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Chasing Olympic Dreams

Our S Form pupils have been looking at the history of the Olympic Games, so it was with great excitement that they took part in a video call from elite athlete and Old Fettesian, Jake Wightman, who is a middle-distance runner, competing primarily at 1500m. Jake was calling from his high-altitude training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Jake’s ambition is to be selected for and win a medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games, due to be held later this year. He will be taking part in an important trial race at the end of June, hoping to secure his place in Team GB.  

Athletics had been a part of Jake’s life from his earliest memories, and he has always been competitive, determined from his days of running at school to beat his twin brother Sam!  His inspiration came from the famous British middle-distance runners of the past and from closer to home too; Jake’s mother Sue was an international long-distance athlete, coming 12th in the marathon at the Seoul Olympics, whilst father, Geoff, was also an international marathon runner. Geoff has coached Jake since school and is also a stadium announcer for athletic meets including World Athletics Championships, London Olympics, London Marathon and many more. 

Jake’s breakthrough performance came in the 2013 European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, where he won the 1500m. He went on to win a bronze medal in the European Championships in 2018 and despite injury- interrupted preparation was placed fifth in 1500m at the World Championships in Doha in 2019. Jake has a personal best of 3.29 for 1500m, the second fastest time ever run by a British athlete.   

Our S Form pupils asked plenty of questions and learnt from Jake’s replies that the life of a professional athlete demands a lot of hard work, discipline, and determination but that racing is the reward for all of this. They also learnt a little more about Jake’s life including that he has a naughty cat called Biscuit, takes a daytime nap to help his recovery and enjoys a bagel with peanut butter and banana as an energy boost! 

Jake’s advice to junior athletes is stick with it, be patient and remember it takes time to build success. We were so thrilled that Jake found time to speak to us and we ended the call by wishing him the very best of luck in chasing his Olympic dreams; we will all be cheering him on.