STEVEN Burke’s family are delighted at his huge success in the London 2012 Olympics - they were at the Velodrome along with friends to watch him gain his Gold Medal.
And they are also looking forward to his celebrations when he is back in Pendle, including a homecoming parade on August 25th and his Freedom of the Borough of Pendle.
A group of 10 went down to watch the final. It was Steven’s parents, Alvin and Sharon, brother Nathan (21), sister Zoe (18), plus grandparents Brian and Mary Wesson, Steven’s girlfriend Claire Brooks, and friends Carl and Christine Wilkinson and Justin Dyson.
They had a great time down there. Nathan said: “It was unbelievable. It came through like a dream! I was a bit nervous - I could hardly watch! I kept looking at the clock!” But he made it very clear he enjoyed being there to see his brother honoured with his Gold Medal.
Mum Sharon added: “We were absolutely over the moon. He had worked hard for just that one day. Since his win, he’s been in floods of tears - and we have, too! We are so proud of him.”
Dad Alvin was very proud, too. He explained: “I used to go to the Manchester Velodrome with my father-in-law Brian, and that got Steven interested.”
Sharon had also been a great cycle rider, and she had represented Great Britain in the past. Steven trained successfully with the ACT League at Manchester and Alvin said: “The coaches there were very good.”
Steven was just 14 when he won his first national award.
Unlike other riders, he was still riding a steel-framed bike rather than a carbon frame model when he won. He then won three national awards when he was 15.
He later became involved with the Olympic Under-23 Academy, training in Manchester and then, for three years, trained for six months each year in Italy, where there were good hills and fine weather.
He was still in the academy when he achieved his Bronze Medal in Beijing four years ago.
Alvin said the team for this year’s Olympics had been great. “They had been training hard and they felt they had a chance of winning the gold. But you don’t know the way others like Russia and New Zealand are going to go!”
Steven attended Park High School in Colne and Nelson and Colne College, but before that he was at Park Primary, and before he went to London this year they invited him to an assembly there. Sharon said: “He got letters wishing him luck from all the children.”
On Steven’s behalf, the family expressed thanks to a series of people and organisations for their support - Holme Park Development, Simon at Fox’s Cycles in Colne, Lloyds of Colne, Justin Dyson who acted as his airport chauffeur, and the whole family. And Alvin added: “We would like to thank everyone in Colne for their great support for him.”
And Sharon added: “We were pleased to see him interviewed on TV as well.” They had a big celebration when he got his Gold Medal, but they made it clear they never got chance to meet him at the Velodrome before they came home. But he did give them a ring to say how pleased he was while they were still down there. Sharon said: “He was overjoyed!”
So the Burke family - who have great celebration designs outside their home on Temple Street, Colne - are now looking forward to him getting back after the Olympic Final Ceremony.