Ross Murray will never forget London 2012 … and anyone who saw his post-race interview will never forget him. Sam Wonfor talks to the Geordie athlete, and his mum to find out what it’s like to have an Olympian in the family.
THERE were many occasions throughout last year’s Olympics when I think I’ll always remember where I was.
The opening ceremony saw our family in deepest Provence, collectively marvelling at my other half’s ability to sync the BBC’s international audio commentary with the French TV coverage.
Then there was the golden Saturday night of Innis, Farrah and Rutherford, which offered us the best of homecomings, as well as the perfect antidote to post-holiday blues.
The next memorable moment, for me, came courtesy of Ross Murray – a Wallsend-born middle distance runner who offered possibly one of the best after-race quotes I’ve ever heard.
After hearing countless tales of admirable sacrifices made by the amazing collection of Olympians we’d had the privilege of cheering on, Ross stopped me in my dishwashing tracks with the following statement – delivered in an unmistakably Geordie accent after he missed out on a place in the 1500m final.
(This is verbatim, by the way, taken from YouTube where many have uploaded the now legendary clip).
A breathless Ross told the trackside commentator: “If you told me a year or even eight months ago that I’d be disappointed on missing out on the final at the Olympics, I’d have probably laughed in your face… most of these lads have been going hard for four years, I’ve had six or seven months’ training with two years on the lash before that.”
Ross’s mum, Beverley Gosling laughs at the memory. “We were in the stadium and you could hear him getting interviewed. When I heard him, I was like ‘Oh god no!’
“It’s just Ross all over. I don’t think he’s ever going to live it down,” she adds.
“Mind you, we had no idea it was going to make such a big thing in the media. He was the quote of the Olympics on Mock the Week… but I suppose that fits Ross because he’s a bit of a joker.”
From Ross’s point of view, the quote which set him apart from his Olympian comrades wasn’t planned – it was just what he was thinking, so he said it.
“I always want to be honest,” says the now 22-year-old, speaking from his university digs in Teddington, near Twickenham.
“I cannot stand seeing the standard interviews people do. They sound so scripted and they’re so boring.
“Don’t just say your training is going well – that’s obvious… you’re competing with the best athletes in the world. Say something interesting. Even if it’s going to get you into trouble.”
And did it?
Ross, who counts himself as a former Wallsend and still Gateshead Harrier laughs. “Not at all. It went down a storm and my twitter followers went right up. Everyone thinks I’m the biggest lad ever – or some raging alcoholic. But I’m not. I just like a night out like the majority of guys my age probably do.
“I wanted people to realise that I’m no different to any other lad of my age.”
He might like a night out as much as the next fella, but at the same time, Ross’s talent on the track means he is set very much apart from his contemporaries.
You don’t get a Team GB kit for being your average lad, do you?
“I still find it hard to believe,” says Ross, currently in his final year of a sports science degree at St Mary’s University.
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, if someone had said ‘do you want to go to the Olympics?’ obviously I would have said yes, but I just didn’t think it was an option.
“That’s the mind-frame I was in. I just didn’t think I’d be good enough to go that year.”
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