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Good role models don't have to be black

TOMLINSON: Role model

WITH ALL this Government talk about how black kids need black role models, someone ought to tell them that you can hang around for ages waiting for a decent black role model so you’re better off finding your kids a white one.

Usain Bolt is the number one role model in sport. British fans - both black and white - have been waiting patiently for the ‘lightening’ Bolt to race at any of the major track meetings here in the UK. We want to take our kids so they can be inspired by him.

But the reason why we see every star of track and field over this side, except the one man we all want to see, is tax. Usain is one of the top earning athletes in the world. He is making so much money now (some estimates reckon it’s £21 million a year, but I cannot confirm this as he has not returned my calls since the Beijing Olympics) that Chancellor George Osbourne wants a piece of it. Quite simply for a man who gets paid on average £10,000 for every yard he runs on the track, Mr Bolt simply cannot afford to run in Britain until the Olympics. Not unless we can convince the Chancellor to give the people what they want.

In the absence of Usain Bolt my daughters have gone and got themselves a new athletics role model. He’s 29-year-old Chris Tomlinson. He’s the British long jump record holder. And he trains at the same track as they do. But the little ones didn’t really appreciate it until they saw him on the telly representing the Great Britain team at the recent European meet in Stockholm. He’s a nice bloke and a hard worker. And inspirational to my 10 and 12 year olds. To them, if you want to be their role model, it don’t matter if you’re black or white.

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