St Albans coaches guiding Team GB to Olympic glory

WHILE British athletes competing in London 2012 are giving their all to scoop medals for Team GB in London 2012, so too are our national coaches, some of whom hail from St Albans and Harpenden.

John Hurst, who was born and lives in St Albans, is a consultant goalkeeping coach at Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey.

The 60-year-old’s role in the Olympics is as men’s notational analyst for Team GB hockey.

Andy Halliday, born in Harpenden, is the men’s team manager for the squad. The 50 year old now lives in Great Missenden.

One of six specific team sports at London 2012, hockey has been on the Olympic programme since the capital first held the Games in 1908, with the exceptions of Stockholm 1912 and Paris 1924.

Those watching the hockey games would have noticed that the pitches at London 2012 are synthetic, water-based and blue with a pink trim – a colour combination which is an Olympic first.

Polish-born Maciej Wojtkowiak, national foil coach, is one of four coaches for the Team GB fencing squad.

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Born in Pozna, Poland’s fifth largest city, the 33 year old now lives in St Albans.

Fencing is one of just five sports to have featured at every Olympics since the formation of the modern Games, along with athletics, cycling, swimming and gymnastics.

Nick Juba, 61, born in Watford and who now lives in St Albans, is a swimming coach involved in the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) Olympic ambition programme.

In total 130 athletes and 56 coaches, including Nick, from across 44 sport disciplines are taking part in this programme during the Games.

It is hoped it will provide the next crop of potential Olympians and coaches, for the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 and the next Summer Olympics in Rio, 2016, an opportunity to experience the Olympic Games environment first-hand this summer.

The programme was first delivered by the BOA at the Beijing Games in 2008, resulting in 42 graduates competing at London 2012.