Olympic medal winner, 82, ‘competes’ at London 2012 game

15:29 10 June 2012

Jean Pickering competing at the 1952 Olympics

Jean Pickering competing at the 1952 Olympics

Archant

IT may have been 60 years since Jean Pickering first took part in the Olympics, but her competitive spirit has not dwindled. Even if that means challenging her grandchildren on London 2012: The Official Videogame of the Olympic Games.

The 82-year-old bronze medallist in the 4x100m relay at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics was invited by computer giants Sega to test out its newest venture with her grandchildren Robert Quinlan, 19, and Caitlin, 16.

The Welwyn resident told the Welwyn Hatfield Times even her grandchildren were shocked by just how a spirited contestant she was.

“I managed to win a few times,” said sprightly Jean, who was married to the late athletics coach and commentator Ron Pickering.

“It [playing the game on the console] has taken me by surprise at just how realistic it is.

“I don’t usually play these games and don’t get to play them with my grandkids; I’m from the wrong generation for it.

“But this has brought back many memories, and now I’m hoping to get one [a console and the game] – I need to practise!”

As a multi-discipline athlete in her day, it was only right that Jean should roll back the years and challenge her old personal bests over the 110m hurdles, 400m and long jump.

“The key seemed to be the reactions and timing,” said Jean.

“Now that I’m getting older they’re not as fast as they used to be, but something like this can certainly help improve them.”

She added: “It’s surprising at my age just how much I enjoyed this game, it was great fun and we had a few laughs.”

For now, before getting an Xbox, Jean’s next ambition is to attend one of the events at London 2012.

“I think it’s what Ron would have wanted,” added the Wendover Place resident, who set up the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund to provide grants for developing young athletes.

“Back in 1948, we saw it together in London, and I remember it was quite impressive. He prophesied that it would return and he said the only place could be the Lee Valley region, so it’s amazing to see these facilities just a mile-or-so from where I grew up.

“I’ve had lots of tickets, but I’ve given many to friends as I wont be able to attend; but I would love to see the final of the women’s hurdles and/or the long jump.”

London 2012: The Official Videogame of the Olympic Gamess will be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It is out on June 29.

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