Inspirational Laura Weightman admits she is still pinching herself after competing in an Olympic final.
Performing on the biggest stage of them all, the 21-year-old shone at London 2012, in what was her Games debut and first taste of a major championship.
Describing the experience as the best moments of her life, the promising Lesbury athlete came through her heat and semi-final, before racing in the women’s 1500m final on Friday night.
And having competed against the best in the world and being cheered on by the whole nation, the Games have given her memories she will cherish forever.
“It will take a while for me to believe what I have achieved,” she said.
“It is quite strange to know that I made it through to an Olympic final. It is quite surreal and it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“When I hear the words, Laura Weightman, Olympic finalist, it is just unbelievable.
“With the training camp in Portugal before the Games, followed by the Olympics itself, it has been the best three weeks of my life. I will never forget it.”
One of Laura’s biggest memories was the patriotic home crowd inside London’s Olympic Stadium, who cheered her on every step of the way in all three of her races.
It’s something she won’t forget in a hurry.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “Everyone was shouting your name and the roar from the crowd was the biggest I’ve heard.
“I have never experienced anything like it and it really did spur me on.”
The Morpeth Harrier did not disappoint. Not only did she go all the way, but she managed to run a 4:02.99 personal best (PB) in the semi-finals as she sneaked through to the final by the tightest of margins.
Reflecting on London 2012, she said: “I am really pleased with my performance. It’s the best I could have done.
“To say that I am 21 and have made an Olympic final, and run a personal best, and done it in London, is unbelievable.”
Laura also paid tribute to her coach Steve Cram, saying his advice and support has been ‘invaluable’.
○ See back page for more on Laura.