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'My earliest memory was watching the Olympic Games'

The Eiffel Tower and the Olympic symbol
The Paris Olympics start in just over two weeks' time [Getty Images]

With the Olympic Games just over two weeks away, three hopefuls have been talking to the BBC about their path to Paris.

The Olympics are my 'earliest memory'

Race walker Callum Wilkinson was three years old when Sydney games took place in 2000.

The athlete, from Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk, always dreamed of competing at the Olympics and will be taking part in his second games in Paris.

The 20km racewalk takes place on 1 August - the first day of the athletic competition.

"It does mean so much to me," he said.

"I remember watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour Bridge, it’s my earliest memory.

"Now, going to my second Olympic Games and all the work I’ve done to get to this position, is really special to me."

Wilkinson hopes to improve on the 10th place finish he achieved in Tokyo.

'A nerve-wracking time'

Another athlete heading to their second games in Paris is 1500m runner Revee Walcott-Nolan.

The Bedfordshire athlete said she took a gamble last year by leaving home and moving overseas to join a new training group.

Walcott-Nolan, 29, joined the On Athletics Club (Europe) in October 2023. She splits her time between Switzerland and South Africa and it appears to be helping her improve.

Walcott-Nolan, who grew up in Luton, trains alongside fellow Great Britain athletes George Mills, Cari Hughes and Aimee Pratt.

"It was a very nerve-wracking time having to make such a big life and coaching change so close to an Olympic year but luckily it’s gone so well for me," she said.

The middle distance runner missed out on a place in the 1500m semi-finals at the Tokyo games by one hundredth of a second. Her event begins in Paris on 6 August.

'A lot of hard work'

While Walcott-Noland and Wilkinson have Olympic experience, it will be a first Games for Colchester athlete Charlie Dobson.

The 24-year-old only started taking the 400m seriously last year. Previously he focused solely on the 200m sprint.

His progress this year has been impressive, winning a silver medal at the European Championships in Rome last month. This followed him setting a new personal best time of 44.46 seconds at another event in Italy in May.

"There’s definitely a lot of hard work that goes into it, I don’t think anyone expects to be able to make it," he said.

"Certainly, when I was growing up and starting sport I wasn’t expecting to reach the Olympics or even come close to be honest so to finally be here is pretty spectacular."

Dobson, who has a first class masters degree in aeronautical engineering, is also part of Great Britain’s 400m relay squad. His Olympic debut is on 4 August with the 400m individual heats.

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