HUCKNALL’S great hope for the London 2012 Olympic Games, sprint hurdler Andy Turner, spent Christmas in Disney World, Florida.
And he even treated his mum and dad to a holiday in the States as he started his build-up to what he hopes will be a year to remember.
Turner (31), who is the current European and Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion, is trying all he can to find the improvement he needs to land a medal at the London games — to follow the bronze he snatched at the World Championships this year.
So he upped sticks from his Surrey home for a special three-month break in Orlando for intensive warm-weather training, plus a family break for his partner Natalie and three daughters, Jasmin (seven), Carman (five), Morgan (nine months).
Most of the British athletics team are heading off to a camp in South Africa for their warm-weather training ahead of the new indoor season. But Turner won dispensation from the UK’s head of athletics, Charles Van Commenee, to skip South Africa and head out to Florida where he has rented a house and has linked up with crack American hurdler David Oliver.
The 29-year-old Oliver won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics and is the current American record-holder for 110m hurdles.
For Turner, the trip has meant lots of hard work with Oliver’s coach, Brooks Johnson, tweaking his technique and trying new methods in a bid to improve his race times.
But for his partner and kids, it has meant lots of trips to nearby Disney World, plus a holiday to remember. And joining in the fun earlier this month were his ever-supportive parents, Malcolm (55) and Yvonne (56) Turner, who still live in Hucknall, on Nottingham Road.
“We went over for a week and had a great time,” said Yvonne. “With Andy jetting all over the place, it has been difficult to spend any quality time with him and the family.
“He’s living only ten minutes from the training ground where the facilities are fabulous. He’s training twice a day and gaining some good experience against top American hurdlers.”
Turner returns home in mid-January before the countdown to London starts in earnest. Yvonne and Malcolm are praying that they will be able to get hold of tickets for the Games, while older brother Garry (33), who emigrated to Australia, is also coming back for the occasion.