jack Green – Folkestone’s Olympian
Jack Green represented the UK at London 2012 and Rio De Janeiro 2016 Olympics in the 400m hurdles and 400 men’s relay. Guess what? He’s from Folkestone! Here he is talking to Folkelife about his athletics career:
How do you become a world-class athlete?
“A blend of natural ability, hard work, good people around you and a lot of luck too! I’m very grateful to have been able to live out my childhood dream.”
Was there much support to help you train as an athlete in Folkestone when you were growing up?
“I was very lucky to go to Brockhill Park and work under Trevor Rodwell there. Trevor was a top athletics coach and before that competed for Great Britain so his guidance played a big part in my development. Had I not been living down in Folkestone then I might not have met Trevor.”
How have you contributed to what’s on offer for young people today?
“I am a mental health advocate for charities such as Mind and Young Minds, as well as an ambassador for Shepway Sports Trust. Through those roles I have been able to share my journey through my athletic career as well as my mental health struggles. Hopefully by being open and honest about my journey it has helped the young people locally. We have the possibility of an athletics track being built here in Folkestone too, something I have helped support as of late.”
How important is it to support an athlete’s mental well-being, as well as physical?
“For me it’s understanding that sports people are not robots and do not live on top of a golden pedestal. It’s understanding that we are all human beings first. Look after the human being and you’re bound to get better results in your chosen field.”
Do you help with this aspect in the young people you see with your work with the Shepway Sports Trust?
“Through the Shepway Sports Trust I have been able to meet many sportspeople through the District and share some of my advice from the mistakes I’ve made. It’s been fantastic to be given those opportunities and hopefully better Folkestone and our District.”
Can you run a world-class athletic career from Folkestone?
“I moved from Tampa in Florida back to Folkestone three years ago and that was because I wanted to be near my support network of family and friends. I have great memories of the town and feel happy and comfortable here. It’s a nice escape from the track.
“If the athletics track is built here in Folkestone it will allow other athletes the opportunity that I had. I travel to Ashford or Canterbury to train and was lucky to have the support from my mum to make that happen. There is a huge abundance of talent down here in Shepway and an increase in the level of our facilities could allow more of our great town to achieve on the sporting stage.”
What are your next goals…?
“We have the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. It would be fantastic to make a third Olympics but my aims are to just be happy in my career and keep moving forward. Whatever medals or achievements come are merely a bonus.
“I coach very regularly with other professional sports, private clients and schools so it would be great to be able to do more locally in my coaching career and help develop our towns next generation of sports stars.”