To hear Jo Pavey speak, is to feel at home with a good friend: one who makes you feel like putting the kettle on for a proper natter. For this record breaking champion is a great Mum, a right laugh and an inspiration to the nation.
As training for Rio ramps up, Jo remains active in community life in the city of Exeter, once again serving as Ambassador to the Exeter Business Games. And it’s precisely this down-to-earth grace that makes her ideal for every role she plays – Ambassador, Mother, Campaigner, Trainer, Olympian.
Jo shared a moment of tension from her appearance (and third place finalist) on BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 2014.
As she walked tentatively towards the stage in five inch heels, she was doing her best to hurry, conscious that the pyrotechnic flares were uncomfortably close to the hem of her skirt.
To those of us tempted to claim that we’ve been thwarted by age and missed our chance for a great career, family or tuned and toned body, she need only smile with sweet contradiction.
And what makes Jo so cherished for her generosity is her gentle and firm conviction in fairness and equality and hard work. She would not consider herself exceptional, merely exemplary of an unswerving commitment to fair play and being her best.
Jo Pavey is as appreciative and proud of her community as we are of her extraordinary achievements.
So here’s to her Rio mission and to the joyful sound of titles and records crashing underfoot: go for it, Jo – and we’ll see you at the Awards Party – of the Exeter Business Games, of course.