Schofield and Heath part of 'one team' after kitting out
5 July 2012
Loughborough University graduates Jon Schofield and Liam Heath say they started to feel part of ‘one team’ after their kitting out day at the Team GB Loughborough Preparation Camp.
Jon and Liam, who compete in the K2 200metres canoe sprint, joined the many athletes at Loughborough University who have gone through the Team GB Experience and started to live the dream just weeks before the 2012 London Olympics start.
Jon and Liam formed a partnership late in 2009 when the canoeing programme for the London 2012 Games introduced the K2 200 metres event.
Both had previously excelled at the shorter distances, and made the commitment to aim for London 2012.
Liam, who studied Industrial Design and Technology from 2003-06, said: “It’s great. Having a personal shopper and making sure everything looks very smart and fits properly for the Olympics has been an incredible experience.
“Everyone has made us feel welcome and been absolutely fantastic.
“When you see the tracksuit in real life and wear it you start to feel part of one team.”
The pair qualified for the Games after winning the first National Sprint Regatta of the season, held at the National Water Sport Centre in Nottingham in April.
In 2011 they won the European Championships in Spain, and claimed the silver medal at the World Championships in Hungary.
Although Jon and Liam both studied at Loughborough their canoeing partnership did not develop until after the 2008 Beijing Games.
Both went to Beijing as part of the Igniting Ambition programme that provides an experience to up-and-coming athletes of what the Games are like.
It also gave them the motivation to aim for the London Games. The decision to alter the Olympic programme for canoe sprint, with the K2 500 metre event replaced with a shorter 200 metre race, was a significant turning point.
Liam said: “Basically a door was just opened in front of us. We wanted to step through it and grab the opportunity.”
The pair feel they have a real chemistry. Liam said: “We work well together in the boat. We are both driven athletes and both talented in aspects needed for the event. We are both fast twitch paddlers, plus we get on well, which helps.”
They say they will try to treat the Olympic event it like any other race.
Liam said: “We have done it a thousand times before, it’s now just a case of replicating it on the day.”
Jon added: “We have to think of it as any other race, but we are incredibly lucky. To say that we competed at this Games will be very special.”