by Olly Allen
As Usain Bolt crossed the finish line in world record time in the 100m sprint at the 2008 Olympics, Sam Gordon, then only 13 years old, sat at home enthused.
“He made it look so easy, I was inspired,” Gordon said in an exclusive interview with Gair Rhydd Sport. “Up until that point I wasn’t sure if the sport was for me”. The teenager had previously been a keen footballer and only been pushed into athletics by his PE teachers.
11 years on, he is officially Wales’s fastest man with an 100m time of 10.08 seconds and is aiming to compete in the Olympics himself in Tokyo next summer. “Becoming the fastest man in Wales’s history established me across Britain and showed the potential that I have”, Gordon, who lives in Whitchurch, said.
“My immediate goal is to make the Olympic team next year. I love anime and everything to do with Japan, so I’ve always said if I’m going to make any games, it has to be this one. I can’t imagine myself not making it. Hopefully, if everything goes well I can also sneak under that ten second barrier.
“The long-term goal is that I want a medal at every single major championship I go to. I want to go down as one of the best athletes ever in history. Being a world record holder is the dream”.
So far in his career, the 24-year-old has been part of the Great Britain 4x100m relay team at the 2018 Anniversary Games in London as well as the inaugural Athletics World Cup in the same year, which he cites as one of his proudest moments to date. But getting to Tokyo won’t be easy. Gordon doesn’t have enough funding to train full-time, so works as an activities coordinator for the Vale of Glamorgan council.
He admitted: “I train in the morning and then I work in the afternoon. So it is doable, but at the same time it’s pretty challenging. I lack the recovery because I’m on my feet all day, so it can take its toll on the body”.
To try and ease the pressure and strain, Gordon has set up a GoFundMe page and aims to raise £25,000 in order to help him with transport, food, kit, living bills, medical costs, memberships and competition fees.
“It will cover anything and everything you can think of. Even weekly yoga sessions, which may only be £10 a pop but it all racks up!” he laughed. “It would allow me to essentially go full-time and not have to worry about anything other than training and competing as well as I can”.
Gordon trains six days a week at the Cardiff Met campus and is coached by Matt Elias, who won gold for Great Britain in the 4x400m relay at the 2002 European Championships.
“It’s going well but it’s been tough so far,” Gordon said of his preparations for the Olympic trials next year. “But I’ve started in a better shape than I’ve ever started before so I’m very excited to see what I’m going to do”.
To donate to help Sam, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lets-put-wales-back-on-the-spinting-map