Former torch bearer spins Olympic tale

JPCT 030512 David Shergold, Olympic torch bearer 1984. Photo by Derek  Martin
JPCT 030512 David Shergold, Olympic torch bearer 1984. Photo by Derek Martin

A HORSHAM pensioner has recounted the incredible story that saw him become a torch bearer for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in California.

David Shergold, 71, from Trafalgar Road, was working for American firm Applied Materials, based in Horsham, who picked out one employee to participate in the relay.

JPCT 030512 JPCT 030512 Copy from West Sussex Copunty Times - David Shergold, Olympic torch bearer 1984. Photo by Derek  Martin

JPCT 030512 JPCT 030512 Copy from West Sussex Copunty Times - David Shergold, Olympic torch bearer 1984. Photo by Derek Martin

When he was told his wife she thought he was winding her up, but eventually she joined him on a trip of a lifetime.

He said: “It was all a blur. It’s a strange sort of experience, with butterflies in my stomach, hoping to God I would not muck this up. It’s a mammoth relief when you finish and I’m sure it’s the same for other people when they finish.”

Running for a kilometre in California’s famous 17-mile drive, David remembers the torch, held high over his head, being very heavy and that he had to swap it from hand to hand.

“If you are playing in an FA Cup final the moment goes by before you know what you have just done,” he added.

“It was probably one of the highlights of my life. Obviously there are a few others that you think are just about important, two sons and a grandson and all of these things take precedence, but it was one of those things that you think you are in a dream or in a haze as it all takes place.”

Featured on the front page of the County Times, he admits to suffering from some gentle teasing from friends and colleagues.

The Olympic torch will be going through Brighton on July 17, the day he carried his 28 years earlier.

He also thought it was a shame torch bearers for London 2012 had to pay to keep their torches, considering he treasures his free torch even today.