Northern Ireland

Olympic aftermath - Gavin Noble reflects on London 2012

It is now over 100 days since the memorable opening ceremony of London 2012. BBC Sport NI has been reflecting with athletes on their experiences at the games and the impact on sport in Northern Ireland.

In part two, Denise Watson speaks to Gavin Noble, the Enniskillen tri-athlete who represented Ireland.

Gavin Noble hobbles across the kitchen at his house in Enniskillen on crutches - he has been recuperating after knee surgery.

"My surgeon says it'll take six months. Six months! But I'm determined to train well before that. I can't run but I can still do strength and conditioning, swimming and cycling. And being at altitude," he laughs.

The 31 year old is generally a very positive individual but admits he is frustrated that he has had to lie on the sofa and cut down on his gruelling training regime following the 2012 games. But it has given him a lot of time to reflect on his experience which was ultimately a positive one. Noble finished in 23rd place at the Triathlon.

The event involved a 1500m swim in the Serpentine at Hyde Park, followed by a 40km bike ride via Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Corner and back to Hyde Park for a 10 km run.

"On the morning of the race I went down to the bike circuit a few hours earlier. I didn't want to talk to anyone so I put my headphones on. There was no music playing in my ears. But I was taking it all in. You get goosebumps…and even when I think back to it now I think…wow. That first time I went out there and saw the crowd was unreal."

Gavin stayed on at the Games for a few days after his event finished. He says he loved spotting other famous athletes at the Olympic village and even blagged a media pass to sit ringside for fellow Irish athlete Katie Taylor's gold medal-winning performance.

"I was front row for Katie boxing. I looked around and Sonia O'Sullivan looked at me as though to say 'what are you doing here?' Then I went to the gold medal basketball and met Mo Farah in the VIP area. I have so many stories. I really, really enjoyed being there."

Since the games, Gavin has seen his childhood sporting hero - former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong - disgraced as a drugs cheat. But Armstrong still takes part in triathlons. So how does he feel about having his fallen idol in his sport?

"He's broken the rules. I think sports need to distance themselves from drug takers in general. Federations and coaches should always distance themselves too."

Talk has now turned to Rio and the Olympics in 2016. But Gavin says his focus is actually on Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 where he will represent Northern Ireland.

"I know Scotland very well. I've spent ten years in Stirling and I have a house there. Scotland has been very good to me in my career. NI will release qualification criteria for the Games in January. I hope it's demanding and - for my own motivation - I hope it won't be too easy, if you understand me. 2014 is next on the horizon for triathlon as a Federation so plans will be made in the New Year."

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