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Chris Cracknell Reflects on the Olympics

Chris Cracknell (England 7s International) passes the ball around with Fiona Pocock (England International) at the Find Rugby Now London Sevens on 19 August 2012

So, it’s safe to say the Olympics captured the hearts of the nation. Be it from Danny Boyle’s emphatic opening ceremony to Mo Farah’s double gold, we all sat in awe, watched, dreamed and cheered until our throats were sore!

For 2 weeks every free minute was spent, in my world and arguably most people’s worlds, trying to find a TV to watch and cheer on whoever was wearing the GB colours. I surprised myself by being strangely mesmerised by the archery!

The spine tingling feeling of watching these fantastic athletes compete had an added surge of buzz for me. The sport I am most fortunate to play and compete in for my country has now, following the conclusion of London 2012, been flung into the exciting world of the Olympics itself.

Yes, rugby 7s is going to be in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The London games gave us all an extra spring in our step as we headed into pre-season training 6 weeks ago.

Yes, that dreaded word on every rugby player’s lips around June/July – PRE-SEASON!! It comes around every year and doesn’t get any easier, especially with the game enforcing higher demand with the number of tournaments increasing and ability of players evolving. The limits we have to push ourselves to be prepared are going to be pretty high!

As if pre-season wasn’t grim enough, this summer I was subjected to an operation on my hip (I’ve aged pretty well for a 70-year-old). This came with 3-4 months of rehab! Being an injured player is no fun at any time, but being an injured player during pre-season leaves you with very little time left in the day to know which way is up.

My days have consisted of the usual fitness sessions (bike, swimming, pool running and cross trainers) and weights, in addition to physiotherapy and rehab. I then feel like I’m missing out on all the fun as I watch the lads do the rugby sessions!

This however is all slowly evolving after a running session this morning. The rest of the boys on the other hand, are on a well deserved mini break after the first block of pre-season training and completing our first victory of the season at the Harpenden 7s. Again the further joys of injury – you’re in whilst everyone else is off! Hopefully though, once they are back in I’ll be throwing the pig skin about with them in training.

It was also great to see the FRN team competing once more on Sunday and to see them gel as a team after only really being together for 3 weeks – great effort lads.

For now it will be back to the grind stone, reflecting on the fantastic Olympics and waiting in anticipation for the next batch of Olympic heroes to come to the fore in the Paralympics.

No doubt this will spur this amazing country into a new frenzy once more as we witness heroes that show us that anything is possible if you have a strong enough mind to compete and push yourself!!


About Chris Cracknell

Chris was the first England sevens player to be offered a professional contact, and has now captained the England Sevens team on a number of occasions. He was signed to Premiership club Worcester Warriors until the end of the 2009-10 campaign before taking up an England Sevens contract. He had previously represented England U19 and U21, having captained the South West U18 side in 2005-06. His club rugby experience has spanned Harlequins, Cornish Pirates, Newbury Blues, Bath and Worcester Warriors. View all posts by Chris Cracknell

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