Long jumper lifts Olympic spirit at Akiva

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

THERE WERE gasps all round when Olympic ath­lete Chris Tom­lin­son demon­strated to pupils of Finch­ley’s Akiva Pri­mary just how far he can jump.

The Bri­tish in­door and out­door long jump record holder — who com­peted at the Bei­jing Games and won a sil­ver medal at the 2008 World In­door Cham­pi­onships — used a tape mea­sure to il­lus­trate his 8.35 me­tres per­sonal best in the event.

His visit was part of a dou­ble Olympic at­trac­tion for the end-of-term assem­bly, which kick-started the school’s com­mit­ment to the Lloyds TSB Na­tional School Sport Week at the end of June.

Also present was Les­lie Lyn­don, a vol­un­teer at Akiva, who will be car­ry­ing the Olympic torch when it passes through Bar­net.

Pupils were thrilled to to see the torch up close and, in some cases, to hold it.

Four pupils also had the op­por­tu­nity to test their long jump­ing abil­ity, with the win­ner pre­sented with an Olympic shirt by Chris Tom­lin­son.

Asked by one girl whether Olympic ath­letes needed to be tall, he an­swered that it was no dis­ad­van­tage. But point­ing out that star hep­tath­lete Jes­sica En­nis is only five foot five, he re­as­sured her that “you don’t have to have long legs. If you’re shorter, you just have to try re­ally hard.” In any case, sport was about more than win­ning. “It’s about be­ing healthy and ac­tive. It’s a great way to meet peo­ple.”

Pupils leav­ing the assem­bly said they had re­ally en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ten-year-old Marni said of Tom­lin­son: “I don’t think I’ve ever met any­one that tall.”

Chris Tom­lin­son tow­ers over the Akiva pupils, who also get to hold the Olympic torch. Also pic­tured is Les­lie Lyn­don ( right), who will be one of the torch bear­ers

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