What do Tuesdays make you think of? Pancakes? Another dreary day’s work before the weekend? Tuesdays don’t get much more exciting than they did for Sponsorcraft this week. We found ourselves down in Exeter giving an introductory talk on crowdfunding to a packed NUS Conference – an opportunity to engage a new generation of Sponsorcraft enthusiasts with a little game, and Haribo. However, the story quickly shifted as, within minutes of leaving the room, we received news that one of our ‘launch crafters’ (the very first people to set foot on the fledgling sponsorcraft.com) had accomplished something truly amazing.
It was this particular Tuesday that saw crafter Emily Diamond celebrate her call-up to the Great Britain squad for the upcoming Olympic Games in London. Emily is a 21-year-old sprinter from Bristol, and she’s just been named in the 4x400m relay team. Just to clarify: at this summer’s Games, she’ll be competing alongside the likes of British 400m medal favourite Christine Ohuruogu. Not a household name? How about gracing the same track as a certain Mr. Bolt – the world’s (and history’s) aptly-named fastest man. And possibly for a long time to come too.
As you can probably imagine, she’s rather thrilled about the whole thing. At the age of just 21, and after an injury-plagued 2011, she had wondered if her home Olympics might’ve come a little too soon.
“I still simply cannot believe that I am going to the Olympics. I am so happy,” Emily told local newspaper The Post earlier this week.
“This has got to be the best day of my life and I feel over the moon with the news. I am going to be part of the British team going to the Olympics and to be involved in that is absolutely fantastic.”
So how did she get here?
Well, back in February this year she registered with Sponsorcraft hoping to raise some of the money she needed to fulfil her Olympic ambitions. She wanted to compete in a long list of events in the run-up to the Games and each of these cost money.
As she explained in March, “I need to find sponsorship to help me improve my chances of qualifying for the Olympics. I need finance to help pay for flights, hotel accommodation and expenses for overseas competitions and also competitions in this country. If you are in the elite, you get all that paid for. But lower down you often have to pay towards the costs.
“I was invited to a top class meeting in Stockholm on Thursday and, while flights are paid for, I had to pay for petrol to get to Heathrow and pay for parking and stuff like that.”
She’d been searching for corporate sponsorship for a while but turned to crowdfunding and Sponsorcraft in a bid to fund her entry to various events this year, as well as the physical conditioning she needed to perform at her best. It’s one thing getting to these events and quite another to make an impression.
“Sponsorship would help me with things like that plus also towards medical treatment and massages to ensure I stay fit and healthy. All these little things would add up to help get me selected,” Emily explained at the time.
She told her Sponsorcraft sponsors back in February that the London 2012 Olympics was the main goal of her year. Though, at the time, she still wasn’t completely sure which event would give her her best chance of making the cut.
“I aim, and have the potential to get selected for, the Great Britain team in the 200m, the 4x100m, the 4x400m and the 400m. Great Britain have several strong athletes also fighting for these positions, so I have been training very hard over the winter to make sure I stay injury free in order to give me the best opportunity for selection.”
In some ways, Emily’s selection is one of the most remarkable success stories of the 71-strong British squad. She has only raced over 400m on six occasions outdoors. She first experimented with the event when she was asked to run a leg of the 4x400m relay at the World Student Championships last year. She had been primarily picked to run the 200m in China, finishing eighth in the final, having forged a successful junior career at the event.
“If someone had told me 12 months ago that I would be in the team for the Olympic Games, I wouldn’t have believed them. I had a lot of injuries last year, but fortunately I ended the season on a high at the World Students and it has gone really well since then.”
She is extremely grateful to all those people who shared and sponsored her project on Sponsorcraft and, in doing so, played some small part in her realising her Olympic dream.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet but I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me and supported me. And a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored me on Sponsorcraft.”
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who got involved and helped make her project such a success. It’s nice every so often to hear how small donations have made a big difference.
We now can’t wait to see her bring the medals home in August
Good luck Emily!