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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Humans of Méribel - Olympic Special

Posted on
November 11, 2016
Humans of Méribel - Olympic Special

Last week I blogged about a personal project that was run last winter on a Facebook page called 'Humans of Méribel'. In summary, whilst ski teaching each winter, I'm very lucky to get to meet a whole variety of people. It's fascinating to spend time with new and current clients, and get to know them a little more each time. This project was started to celebrate the stories I hear each day, and also an excuse to take a very quick photo of them. Last week featured a couple of Ski Sunday presenters, incuding an Olympic Bronze medallist. This week, we are going to change the colour of the medal to Gold! Let's get going straight away.....

"We first met at King's College Hospital in London just under forty years ago. I was working there at the time as a senior physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal problems. Adrian was training for the 1976 Montreal Olympics and had an achilles injury. I had only just started my precious lunch break, when I was told that I had to go and treat another patient. I remember starting the session feeling rather cross, not with Adrian of course, but the situation."

The-Parkers-2.jpg

"What was your first impression of Adrian?"

"It was how in God's name did someone get to be an elite sportsman without knowing how to stretch a calf muscle!"

"Was it love at first sight?"

"Absolutely not. One perk of the job was being in the company of some very fit men. He was just one of those gorgeous bodies that I treated. It took a while for our relationship to build. I worked for the NHS at the time, not the British Olympic Association, so I wasn't able to go to the Olympic games in Montreal. Instead I saved up for my first ever TV set;  it was a Sony and in colour, not the more common black and white option in those days. The coverage for his event during the games was very poor, because there was such a low expectation, it was predicted that they would not medal."

The-Parkers-3.jpg

"The hardest thing to deal with leading up to the Olympics wasn't necessarily my injury, it was the lack of funding. It was tough getting access to facilities that helped us compete in the 'Modern Pentathlon' event. A lot of kit is needed for fencing, horse riding, pistol shooting (with real guns and bullets in those days), swimming and running.However, during the games, we were given pocket money by the British Olympic Association. I spent all of this money on long distance phone calls to Jane back in the UK."

"How did your event go?"

"It's a very long story, but we won the Team event in Modern Pentathlon. In those days with team events, there was only one gold medal awarded to the team, shared between the three of us! The very next morning, we received a telegram from a Mr Phillips who ran a jewellers on Bond Street in London. He was horrified that there was only the one 'gold' medal, and that we didn't receive individual medals. So he generously made a replica medal for each of us, in silver gilt that was in fact much better quality than the original. There were only two other British gold medallists at the Montreal Olympics: David Wilkie in the 200 metres breaststroke, and John Osbourne with Reg White in sailing. After the Olympics I continued to compete but only part time. I gradually worked full-time at my father's business - Phil Parker's Ltd - a brass instrument shop in London."

The-Parkers-4.jpg

"One and a half years after the Olympics, we were married, and have raised three delightful daughters. The family have skied together over the years many times, especially here in the Three Valleys. We have just entered into another exciting period in our lives because over the last six months, we have become grandparents twice over. We can't wait to become a family of three generations of skiers all together."

How cool is that? I really love this project and can't wait to get going again with it in a few weeks time. If you enjoyed this article, you might like to see last week's version, click here for the link. Or if you would like an article that isn't 'Humans of Méribel' connected, click here for a link on how to improve your skiing. Feel free to share away on social media, by using the icons. Or leave a comment below. See you next week with another 'Humans' post. Martin.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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