CUMBRIA’S sports stars have returned from London 2012 with heavy hearts after their Olympic odyssey.
Water polo players Chloe Wilcox, who was caught chatting with diving sensation Tom Daley at the opening ceremony, Alex Rutlidge and Glen Robinson said they were sad to see the end of the games as they returned to Reagill, Burton-in-Kendal and Kendal respectively this week.
Gold medallist Scott Brash, the Peebles rider who prepared for the Games in Cumbria with his winning horse Hello Sanctos, told the Gazette that his time at Hill Farm, Ings was vital on his path to the top step of the podium.
“I’m good friends with Simon Buckley at Hill Farm and I knew I could trust him to do a great job looking after Hello Sanctos and getting his fitness up for the Olympics.
“When I got to Ings after competing abroad I kept myself to myself and stayed away from everybody else and that was such a massive help preparing for the Games.”
Cumbria’s water polo players did not enjoy the same success as Brash as neither the men or the women registered a win, but that did nothing to sully their amazing Olympic experience.
“It’s nice to see everybody again but I definitely wanted to stay in London and it was sad to leave, particularly when the flame was extinguished in the closing ceremony,” said Wilcox.
“Having 5,000 people cheering you on during the games and hearing your name being announced to the crowd before a match was just an amazing experience.
“People have been saying that I had a good tournament so to do that in the Olympics - what more could I ask for?”
Wilcox and Rutlidge are now going on holiday to Portugal with eight other members of the women’s water polo squad before they go their separate ways.
Rutlidge is still looking for a new club but Wilcox is moving to northern Spain to play for Mataro next season.
Wilcox added: “It was weird when I came back home - Alex has been my room-mate for the past month so on our first night apart she texted me saying ‘I miss my roomie!’”
Glen Robinson said he was sad to see the end of the Games despite meeting double gold medal winner Mo Farah, who asked Robinson to sign his flag of Team GB.
“It’s hard to put into words how amazing the experience was,” Robinson said.
“The atmosphere for the matches and the ceremonies was incredible and the reaction when I scored in my last match just gave me goosebumps.”
Robinson is also now looking for a club to play for next season, but he is hopeful that his good showing in the Olympics provided the perfect shop window for a side to snap up his signature.