Ex-Bath Rugby star Lewis Moody is ready to light up the capital
As a World Cup winner and former England captain, Lewis Moody is no stranger to the big stage, writes Tom Bradshaw.
And the former Bath Rugby star will be in the limelight once again next week when he carries the Olympic torch on one of its final legs.
"Everyone loves the Olympics but sportspeople in particular have a real affinity with it," said Moody. "To be asked to run with the torch and play a very small part in it is a real privilege and I feel very humbled."
The former Bath Rugby star, who recently returned from a working holiday in Bermuda where he coached the island's junior team, has been nominated to take part in the relay by Olympics sponsor Samsung.
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And Moody admits he has long harboured a sneaking desire to appear in the Games.
With a grin on his face he says: "I remember thinking four years ago, should I actually give up rugby so I could have a shot at being in the Olympics?
"I didn't have any idea of what I'd undertake – handball or something like that, I imagine! It was probably the right move to stick with my chosen career path."
Brought up watching Daley Thompson, Steve Backley and Steve Cram as a schoolboy, Moody competed at "a bit of everything" when it came to athletics, including the javelin, hurdles, long jump and 400m.
"I loved athletics as a kid," he said. "It's a sport that encompasses many different disciplines. I think if I was ever going to make it as an athlete it would have been in the decathlon.
"Rugby was my first love but I loved athletics too because it meant I could keep fit during the off season. I dabbled with cricket too – I was a highly- erratic fast bowler."
Moody got a sense of what the Olympic spirit is all about when the torch came through his home town of Bradford on Avon.
"The whole town came out in complete force," he recalls. "It brought to life what the Olympics is all about – the spirit and the unity."
Rugby will not feature in London but Sevens will make its debut at Rio 2016 – and Moody expects it to be a hit.
"I think it's the perfect sport to introduce to the Olympics – it's fast, there is flair and a lot of points are scored," he said.
"That's what makes me wish I was ten or maybe 15 years younger, I could have had a shot at it."
Moody hopes to take in an array of sports during the Games but is particularly keen to see medal-hopefuls Mo Farah and Christine Ohuruogu in action.
And then there is also the start of the whole thing.
"I'm hoping to go to the opening ceremony and take my wife along – that will be my brownie points for the year!"
Samsung, a presenting partner of the London Olympic Torch Relay, is giving away two pairs of London 2012 Games tickets each week until July 27. To take part,download the free Samsung Hope Relay app at www.samsung.com/ hoperelay.