OLYMPIC gold medallist Rebecca Adlington has said the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be brilliant for inspiring a younger generation of swimmers.
Speaking to The Observer at the official opening of the sports and leisure centre in Bromsgrove the Olympian said she was inspired to take up swimming competitively after her parents took her to the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester when she was just 12.
“I saw the crowd and the amazing atmosphere and thought ‘this is what I want to do’,” she added.
“It’s great to watch swimming on TV but to be there watching it live gives you goosebumps.”
The 28-year-old said the Commonwealth Games in 2022 will be a fantastic opportunity for people in the region to go and see the events live.
She said: “There will be two types of people with regard to the competition – those who will be at that level and be able to compete in Birmingham and those who will watch the games in Birmingham and be inspired like I was to get to the next one or the Olympics.”
Adlington won two gold medals at the 2008 summer Olympics in the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle, breaking a 19-year-old world record in the 800m final.
She was Team GB’s first Olympic swimming champion since 1988 and the first British swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals since 1908.
She won bronze medals in both the women’s 400-metre and 800-metre freestyle events in the 2012 summer Olympics in London.