GRAPPLER: The 36-year-old in action
WITH LONDON 2012 now well and truly a distant memory, three-time Olympian Winston Gordon has returned to his every day vocation.
The 36-year-old judoka is continuing in his role as a judo sensei at all-boys secondary school Ernest Bevin College and Sixth Form Centre in Tooting, south west London.
Gordon was eliminated in the second round at the Olympics inside the ExCel Arena in the -90kg weight category, but says he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Gordon told the Voice of Sport: “For me, it was such an amazing journey even just to get there. But to actually be a part of it all was just fantastic and that’ll be in a special place in my heart forever. It was emotional but enjoyable at the same time.
“Obviously the result didn’t go the way I wanted it to but overall it was great. It’s the best one I’ve been to. Even though 2004 in Athens where I lost to get into the final then I lost for the bronze, it was good there because obviously your first one is always a good one; but to have it at home was amazing.
A JUDO JOURNEY: Gordon
“The feeling, the adrenaline, to see the thousands of people come out and watch you was overwhelming. And the weather held out so that’s a blessing as well!”
The Tooting native said: “Compared to Beijing and Athens this one was the top of the top. The opening ceremony, the closing ceremony, everything just went according to plan. It was an amazing experience and something that will be cherished.”
A judo veteran of over 20 years, Gordon is looking forward to unearthing the next generation of GB judokas at the dojo inside Ernest Bevin College, which is the same school he studied as a teenager.
“I’ve been doing judo for 22 years and this is where I started,” he shared. “To come back to where it all began and to be teaching the kids of today is a blessing. The sport of judo teaches the elements of discipline and respect. The name judo means ‘the way of life’ and once you participate in judo it will take hold of you for the rest of your life."
He continued: “It’s fantastic especially when you teach them certain moves, they do it in competition and you see each competition that they’re doing better and better. In the school we’ve got British school champions which started from grassroots. To see that your work is paying off, for me, that’s an achievement in itself.
“Some of them are representing England as well and then the next step is the British team. We’ve got a few boys who are coming through the system, they keep working hard and we’ll see future champions from the Bevin boys.”
A Commonwealth Games gold medallist back in 2002, Gordon refused to rule out the possibility of becoming a four-time Olympian at Rio, Brazil in four years time.
Describing his list of priorities in terms of upcoming competitions, he added: “The next one’s the Commonwealth Games [in 2014 in Glasgow] and age is just a number. I’m 36 but I’m still beating guys on the world scene that are younger than me so I’ll see how it goes.
Importantly, the judo expert said: “I’m going to focus on getting the youth up to speed and concentrating on that and then who knows what the future holds.
“I’m going to take each year as it comes and if the candle’s still burning in 2016 we’ll see about Rio but I’m going to focus on the youngsters now and show them that if you put your eggs into the basket, you can achieve anything you want.”