My haven: The former Lib-Dem leader and Olympic sprinter, 71-year-old Menzies Campbell in the drawing room of his Edinburgh home
23:00 GMT, 3 August 2012
Politician Menzies Campbell pictured at his home in Edinburgh
I ran in the 200m and the 4x100m relay team for Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, in 1964, and the mayor of Tokyo presented every athlete with one of these banners. We arrived four weeks before the Games to ‘acclimatise’, but it was too long and we all got bored and spent too much time in the dining hall. I didn’t get a medal but the team didn’t do badly – we came tenth, with four Golds, and a dozen or so Silvers and Bronzes.
For several Christmases my wife Elspeth gave me claret jugs, so I’ve built up this collection I use when people come to lunch. I never get to use them myself – I have heart damage from the chemotherapy that treated my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2002, and am on drugs for it that don’t agree with alcohol. So I’ve become teetotal at the ripe old age of 71! I do miss the occasional glass of red wine, but feel a lot better for it.
Three years after the ’64 Games I broke the British 100m record in San Jose, California, after I’d spent a year studying there. I ran 10.2 seconds, a record that stood for seven years, and this is my certificate. Back then you couldn’t sprint year-around in Britain because there were no indoor tracks, so a year in the States gave me more chance to train. Better shoes helped too. When I started they were like boats but by 1967 we had ‘spikes’.
A BOND WITH SEAN
My wife’s father is Maj-Gen Roy Urquhart, who led the British troops at Arnhem, and Sean Connery played him in the film A Bridge Too Far. A friend bought this photo of Sean, Ryan O’Neal and Gene Hackman on the set for my wife at auction. My father-in-law was an adviser on the film and Sean was a big admirer. Their shared passions were golf, whisky and Scotland, and they’d often sit up late putting the world to rights.
I wore this blazer at the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo. They were thought to be very fashionable at the time because Britain’s traditional navy blue had been superceded by a stylish ‘French blue’ although the pocket insignia made it clear we were the GB team. Being a member of the Olympic Board this year I recently dug it out, and to my surprise I can still get into it, even if I can’t quite do up the buttons.
When my mother Betty died in 1987 she left me a small amount of money. I’d always admired the Scottish artist Hugh Buchanan, so I bought this painting to remember her by. My mother was an important figure in my life. She was a keen sportswoman in her youth, and I’ll always remember her making me listen to the 1948 London Olympics radio commentary as a boy, which fired my lifelong interest in athletics.