The Champion

The Champion

A Story by Les
"

This is a piece about humility for a writing course task. It is set against the background of the wonderful London 2012 Olympics.

"

London 2012. Jerome had been a shoe-in for the British Team, a cert for Gold.  He certainly had no doubts. In the athlete’s village, he’d demanded the best of everything, his long-suffering coach, Thommo, trailing in his wake. Any refusal and he’d say “Do you know who I am?” He always got his way.


Thommo’s maxim was don’t over coach raw talent. Jerome’s gentle training regime left ample time for his favourite preoccupation, preening himself and flirting with any pretty girl in view.


He’d breezed into tomorrow’s 1500 final.  The top podium step was his by right. As the sun sank, he started his last training session. He ran looking left and right for any good looking female. He had just started to sprint when “thwack”, he ran into something hard, ending up sprawling.

  

A groan. Lying next to him was a short, track-suited, figure. Jerome’s sharp “why didn’t you look where you were going?” only brought another groan.  Eventually, the figure replied, “I’m Tunde, I run in the Paralympics.” 

 

Tunde tried rising, but collapsed in a heap.  Thommo, watching, rushed over to examine him. “Lie still son,” he said. “Where does it hurt?”  Tunde pointed to his thigh. Thommo felt the flesh above Tunde’s prosthetic. It wasn’t good.


“My coach hasn’t arrived yet but my folks are over there” said Tunde, pointing to the hospitality area. Thommo scooped him up gently and carried him.

Jerome spat “Bloody paras. Why are they here?” Their Games don’t start for days. He stalked back to the village, his own thigh throbbing.

*

The 1500 final in a packed stadium. The finalists on the start line, avoiding eye contact. Except Jerome.  Looking up and down the line, “you’re all nobodies” he thought. As the starting gun was raised, he chanted “my turf, my turf.”


“Bang”. Jerome, running through the gears, was ready to strike. The last lap bell, the surge. Jerome surged too. Sixth place, fifth, fourth. The back straight, the last effort, fourth place, third. The last bend, Jerome moved out to take second when a pain jagged up his thigh, stopping him short.


Jerome made the finish long after the other runners. He was mortified. This hadn’t  happened. As he reached the changing room tunnel, a voice from the crowd, “Jerome, Jerome”. It was Tunde, distraught. “ I am so sorry.” Jerome hissed back “it was your fault, your fault!”


Hobbling down the tunnel a voice called  him back “Who the hell do you think you are, mister? At least you ran your race, my boy is out of his because of you!” It was Tunde’s mother, joining in her son’s tears.


No Damascene moment. It took the loneliness of an empty changing room afterwards for it to sink home. Thommo’s footsteps.  Jerome said “Thommo, I’ve been a fool. When I recover we’ll do things your way.” “No lad” Thommo replied. “These Olympics are the lot for me. I’ve had enough.” Jerome hung his head and cried like a baby.

© 2018 Les


My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Reviews

Good Les. You've told the story well and it's good that there is a moral behind it. I think your style, short and punchy sentences, works well in this context. You have shown how one of these elite athletes with an overinflated sense of his own worth is taken down a few notches but has learned something from it.
Cheers,
Alan

Posted 4 Years Ago


Les

4 Years Ago

Thanks for the kind words Alan. I quite like using staccato sentences on occasion. However, keeping .. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

153 Views
1 Review
Added on March 31, 2018
Last Updated on March 31, 2018

Author

Les
Les

St Albans District, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom



About
Have always enjoyed writing. Just looking to see if I have any creativity left in me to write some fiction. more..

Writing
Daniela Part 4 Daniela Part 4

A Story by Les


Daniela Part 3 Daniela Part 3

A Story by Les