Richard Buck travels the hard metres to realise his dream
Potentially crippling adversity has been overcome by York one-lap star Richard Buck, as charted by The Press sports reporter STEVE CARROLL.
ILLNESS, loss of funding – City of York Athletics Club runner Richard Buck has earned his place in Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad the hard way.
But when the 25-year-old steps out in front of 80,000 screaming supporters at the Olympic Stadium, in London, as part of the 4x400 metres relay squad, all the trials and tribulations will have been worthwhile.
The former Pickering schoolboy will achieve a “lifetime ambition” by competing in a home games and he can reflect on a personal journey which has brought a clutch of medals.
Last month’s sliver, as part of the 4x400m team that competed in the European Championships in Helsinki, was Buck’s sixth – following silvers in the relays at Torino (2009), Paris (2011) in the European Indoor Championships and a silver in the relay at the World Indoor Championships earlier this year in Istanbul.
Two bronze medals were also collected as part of the World Indoor relay team in Doha in 2010 and for the individual 400m in Paris.
It’s a collection that has made Buck one of North Yorkshire’s most decorated athletes, but nothing has come easy for him as he has strived to achieve his dream of competing in the London games.
At the end of the 2011 season, he was dropped from lottery funding – a situation which has forced him to work part-time at a Tesco supermarket in Loughborough, while juggling a professional athlete’s punishing training schedule.
Having been selected to represent Team GB at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, only for a virus picked up during the 2008 European Championships to interrupt his training and ensure he would not compete in China, Buck could have been forgiven for feeling that he would face disappointment once again.
But motivation has never been this runner’s problem.
Spurred on by his funding blow, Buck has returned to action in fine form.
A personal outdoor best of 45.61 seconds came in June at a European event in Geneva – following a best indoor time of 45.88 seconds being set in February at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham.
With 45.83 seconds set in Helsinki last month, Buck is confident he can knock another half-a-second off that effort.
And what better place to do that than in the cauldron of Olympic Games competition?