Whether or not you like the title that appears to have been given to Jo Pavey (Super-Mum), it has definitely been a year to remember for the athlete. I almost put '40-year-old' in front of 'athlete', but felt slightly uncomfortable. Should we be drawing attention to Jo's age all the time? Or the fact that she had only recently returned to athletics after giving birth to her second child? Both facts make Jo's achievement of winning European 10,000m gold quite remarkable.
Jo has deservedly become the 'darling' of British athletics supporters. Not only is Jo the oldest female European Champion ever, but she is the second fastest Briton over both 5000m and 10000m. Prior to her European gold medal, Jo had already prevented a Kenyan clean sweep in the Commonwealth 10,000m by taking a hard-fought bronze. And then the awards began, started (we would like to think) by being voted British Athletics Supporters Club 'Athlete of the Year’.
For the first time in living memory the Olympic Games athletics schedule features finals in the morning sessions. Of course this could be seen either as a smart move to ensure better crowds in the mornings, or as a cynical move to charge more for the morning sessions .. only time will tell.
London 2012 proved that you don't need to put finals in the morning sessions to ensure sell-out crowds. You just need a sports-mad public with a sense of the historic opportunity that a major championships provides. Not everywhere is like the UK though - which may be an argument for bringing the Olympics back to London!