9th July 2012, by WAA
When you’ve been named the Official Shopping Centre for the Olympics, there’s only one way to kick off your summer calendar. Westfield were thrilled to be associated with London 2012, and embraced the sporting fever set to take on the UK this July and August by inviting two Olympic heroes to their Derby and Merry Hill centres.
Olympic Gold medallist Colin Jackson and Team GB medal hopeful Greg Rutherford provided a masterclass for local young athletes. In each centre an indoor long-jump pit and run-up was constructed for the youngsters to showcase their skills, while they received guidance and feedback from their celebrity mentors. Colin and Greg also participated in a Q&A with local primary school children, many of whom were undertaking classroom projects about the Olympics and its history.
As well as attracting a crowd of nearly 1,000 spectators in each centre, both events received huge amounts of interest from regional and national media. Local BBC crews were present at both sites and live telephone interviews with Colin and Greg were conducted by Sky Sports News, BBC Radio West Midlands, and BBC Radio Derby. Journalists from the Express & Star, the Birmingham Post, and the Dudley News attended the Merry Hill event, while Derby Telegraph reporters attended the Derby Centre festivities.
Crowds at Westfield Derby were particularly spirited as the event coincided with the Olympic Torch coming to the Midlands. One young athlete participating in the showcase with Colin and Greg had been chosen as an official torchbearer, and carried the torch through his hometown the next day.
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