St Albans Olympian is just the ticket but may not be able to attend games

AN OLYMPIC HERO who hails from St Albans has been at the centre of a debate into tickets for next year’s London 2012 Olympics.

Ray Myland, former landlord of the Black Lion pub in Fishpool Street, was Great Britain’s youngest entrant in the wrestling event of the UK’s last Olympics in 1948.

He currently lives with his wife Eileen, a former headmistress of Watling View School in St Albans, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

His daughter, Lynn Myland, wrote to David Cameron and the British Olympic Association calling for former Olympians to get free tickets for next year’s games.

And last week the British Olympic Association announced that athletes who represented the UK in the Olympics of that year would be entitled to a pair of tickets to watch the sport they competed in. But they are not helping with transport though which means that Ray, who now suffers from arthritis, is unlikely to be able to travel to the the games.

Lynn explained how proud Ray’s family were of their dad’s achievements when they were growing up and they still are today. She said that she felt the fact that they might have had to pay for their tickets was an insult.

Ray, who was only 21 at the time, was beaten in the 1948 games by Sweden’s Gustav Freij, the eventual winner of the lightweight gold medal of the Greco-Roman category.

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He also took part in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki and reached the podium in the 1954 and 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

On one occasion he entered every weight he was eligible for in the National Championships and emerged victorious in each one.

He added: “There is a great picture of me in the ring with Freij. I think he gave me a few cauliflower ears.

“Sport was different then. You didn’t get any funding as you are able to get now. In ’48 we were doing it out of our own pocket.”