By News Reporters
A local man is to carry the Olympic torch as part of the national relay to bring the flame to the stadium for the start of the London 2012 opening ceremony.
Chris Janzen who lives in Fitzrovia has been selected to be a torchbearer because of his work in coaching and training people to achieve their potential.
He will be running with the torch on 26 July as it makes its way through City of Westminster.
We caught up with Chris as he took time out from his job as a personal development trainer. We asked him if he’d be selling his torch on eBay and where he’d be running.
Chris says he is very proud to be chosen as a torch bearer and he would “never” sell his torch. But he is still not sure where he will be actually running with the torch.
“All I know at this time is it will be in Westminster on July 26 (day before the opening ceremonies). Based on the few details available for that day I’m guessing it will be late afternoon or early evening. I will find out the exact spot and time a few weeks from now,” says Chris.
Chris assures us, unlike some to the torch bearers, he has no connection with the corporate sponsors of the games and that he has been chosen purely for the work that he has done to help people reach their potential.
“I work in the ‘coaching and training’ space. Have my own business and help individuals to achieve their best in work and life, work with business teams to improve performance and work with athletes on the mental side to achieve their best. I believe I was selected for my passion in this area and for the results I help people achieve. My girlfriend nominated me so maybe it was good karma too.”
We asked Chris about the wrangles over the Olympic legacies and if he felt in any way there’s been a betrayal of the Olympic ideals.
“I won’t pretend to be an expert on all the complexities and opinions on the impact of the games. However, I have always been a fan of sport, of the Olympics and local involvement and I believe that they do have a lasting positive impact. Of course, that can get messy when money and politics cross and it’s very hard to please all the people all the time.
About the corporate sponsorship he says:
“It doesn’t bother me and it’s a modern necessity. If they didn’t have the sponsors, people would be up in arms if money was siphoned out of local transport, health care, education or transportation to feed the ‘promotion of London’, and any Olympics would be a minor blip on the world’s stage. Instead, the nation is connected by the torch run, people can watch live online, athletes have the absolutely necessary funding to train, it showcases the best of London. People who make the corporate sponsors into evil doers are somewhat ignorant I’m afraid. But everyone has a right to their opinion,” says Chris.
Do you think there is enough money spent on grassroots sport?
“There can always be more spent but it comes down to choices and people either have to make the most of what they have got or raise the issues with those they can influence.”
So what does the Olympic mean to Chris and why would he encourage people to watch the games?
“The Games celebrate the full expression of being human. Triumph, tragedy, camaraderie… all conspiring with each other to rise to the challenge and be the best of themselves – win or lose. People should watch and appreciate the efforts of the competitors and be proud of those who inspire others to try a little harder and be a little better everyday.
“I’m a fan so I’ll be watching all the events. But the only tickets I got was for the Modern Pentathlon — don’t know much about it but will be a fun day out.
The Olympics open on 27 July and close on 12 August 2012. The Paralympics open on 29 August and close on 9 September 2012.
More about Chris Janzen and his work here.