Goodison heads for the 'blades'

Avid football fan, Laser Gold medallist Paul Goodison honoured by his team, Sheffield United

Saturday August 30th 2008, Author: Gail Willows, Location: United Kingdom
Sheffield born, Olympic Gold medallist Paul Goodison has been invited by Sheffield United Manager Kevin Blackwell, to meet the players and go onto the pitch this Saturday before the game kicks off against Cardiff City. Paul, who grew up in Rotherham, is as an avid Sheffield United Fan and is thrilled at the news:

“For me this is the ultimate treat after the Olympics. I’ve had months of preparation and training, and this is a great opportunity to get involved with something else I love - football! I have been a blades (Sheffield United) supporter all my life, I can’t wait to meet the players and Kevin Blackwell again. My friends back home will all be really jealous!”

Goodison will have the honour of carrying out the matchball and lead the teams out onto the pitch at 2.55pm. Paul will be introduced to the crowd at half-time when he will also be congratulated by Sheffield United FC Chairman, Kevin McCabe.

It wasn’t clear sailing for Goodison’s Olympic campaign when he suffered with a broken wrist in November 2007 almost hampering his Olympic dreams. But he was determined to put the heartache of coming fourth in Athens in 2004 behind him, to take gold at the Beijing Olympics this year. Goodison is one of the best and most exciting sailors of his generation; is the Olympic champion and four times European Champion.

Kevin Blackwell met Paul Goodison for the first time this year when Goodison invited Blackwell to sail with him in the famous yachting around the Isle of Wight. This was Goodison’s last appearance in the UK before heading out to China for the games. After hearing the news that Goodison had taken Gold in Beijing Blackwell said: “To be in a position in the Olympics where as long as he could finish he would win the gold was a fantastic achievement. I know what he has been through, after Athens, the way things cruelly finished for him there. And so for four years he has had to graft, and he’s achieved a gold medal now and I admire him for that.”

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