The five-year-old fan who inspired Louise Hazel to fight back in London 2012 Olympic Games
LOUISE Hazel has revealed how a five-year-old fan inspired her to launch a comeback in the London 2012 heptathlon.
March’s golden girl was holding her head in her hands on Friday after a disastrous high jump saw her slide down the leaderboard to second last.
“I just bombed out,” she said. “Then I turned around and saw a little five-year-old girl in the crowd and I heard her say ‘We love you Louise’.
“That’s when I knew it was time to grit my teeth.”
Over the next 24 hours, Hazel showed the world her fighting Fen spirit. She clocked a season’s best in the 200m and the long jump, before throwing an incredible personal best in the javelin.
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The results meant Hazel finished 27th with 5856 points - but it was the courageous comeback she was most proud of.
“After the high jump I was shocked and disappointed,” she said. “But then I thought ‘game on’.
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“I told myself that there will always be winners and losers but it’s most important that I show my true character and my inner fight.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who would have died to be in my shoes and I had to go out there and fight.”
Hazel, who was rated as a 50/1 long-shot for Olympic gold, was one of the first TeamGB athletes to take to the track in the Olympic Stadium.
“Stepping out in front of that crowd was unreal,” she said. “I got a huge rush when I heard the noise.
“It’s the sort of noise you only ever hear at football matches. It’s not polite clapping, it’s just roars and roars of encouragement and you know that 80,000 people are cheering for you. That is an amazing feeling.
“I loved every minute - the highs and the lows - and I feel like I’ve grown so much from the whole experience.”
Fellow TeamGB star and friend Jess Ennis took the gold with a magnificent 6955 points.
“I choked up when Jess gave her interview afterwards,” said Hazel.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her really emotional and I just got this feeling of immense pride.”
Hazel, who is due to appear on Question of Sport following the Olympics, is planning a return to March to celebrate with her family and friends.
But she also admitted that she was considering her future in athletics.
“It’s something I have to go away and think about,” she said.
“Being on the biggest stage has presented me with a lot of opportunities and I will re-evaluate what is coming my way.
“The Olympics has not only made me a better athlete, it’s made me into a more well-rounded person.
“I always said I wanted to be an Olympic athlete. It’s a complete and utter dream come true.
“That’s why I’ve worked so hard all these years. That’s why I’ve chosen social groups carefully. I had that goal in my mind and to say I’ve achieved it is amazing.