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''Hello, it's Daley here.''

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Colin Murray | 16:43 UK time, Friday, 8 June 2012

Daley Thompson

Tracking down the so-called superstars of British Olympic history isn’t actually that difficult, in the overall scheme of Gold Run.

You want Redgrave, you ring an agent. You want Holmes, you call a manager. You want Coe, just hang around Canada Wharf tube station for a couple of days.

Much more tricky is tracking down those Olympic heroes who have somewhat disappeared into a normal life, taking jobs ranging from teaching to dentistry, and from lawyer to, in the case of '56 boxing legend Dick McTaggart, rat catcher!

The one exception to the rule was Daley Thompson who, despite being arguably the most famous face in our Olympic history, proved somewhat of an enigma.

Despite his magnetic appeal, courting publicity is the last thing on this mind these days, and after a couple of months of digging around, I finally bribed, blackmailed and begged someone for a mobile number.

Over a period of a few weeks I left two, three, maybe ten messages on his answering machine and, just when I thought Gold Run would have to make do without, quite possibly, our greatest natural athlete of all time, my home phone rang as I was watching the football on a Wednesday evening.

”Hello, it’s Daley here.”

Not many people in sport can simply utter a first name, knowing that no further explanation would be needed.

For the next ten minutes I frenetically scattergunned about Gold Run, not allowing the double-gold decathlete to get a word in edgeways and, when I finally stopped for breath, he warmly agreed to appear on the programme.

A month later and I found myself in west London, ‘double-dating’ with Daley, as he insisted we bring along our partners to a steak restaurant and make a night of it.

Given that this man was my first real living memory of the Olympics - the main reason why I fell in love with it as a seven year old - I was a little nervous to say the least walking into that restaurant.

They say never meet your heroes but, as we said our goodbyes that evening, it was quite possible that he had actually gone up in my estimation.

In 2012, 28 years after he last stood on top of an Olympic podium, Thompson remains as enigmatic, controversial, contridictory, hilarious, honest and inspirational as always.

While I refuse to separate one of our Gold Run targets from another, it’s a real honour to have him grace the programme this Sunday at 11am on BBC Radio 5 live, because Daley Thompson, even in such esteemed company, is cut from a different cloth.

We’re also podcasting the extended version of that interview, as I had to leave so much on the cutting room floor, so I would heartily recommend that.

Plus, in the same podcast, my day at the swimming pool with the grounded, smiling, Rebecca Adlington.

Also in episode 4, the amazing story of Anita Lonsbrough, a special baby shower with some of Britain’s greatest ever sailors, and I stay on the water for a brief encounter with Tim Foster and James Cracknell.

Colin Murray's Gold Run is on 5 live on Sunday's at 11am. You can subscribe to Colin Murray's Gold Run Extra here. For updates and photos follow @BBCGoldRun on Twitter.



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