Swimmer's gran speaks of pride

Millions of people turned on their televisions to watch Friday's Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing. But few could have been as proud as 85-year old Gwen Lovell of Harleston whose grandson Mark Foster carried the banner for the British Olympic squad, and was at the head of the contingent as they paraded before rapturous crowds.

Millions of people turned on their televisions to watch Friday's Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing.

But few could have been as proud as 85-year old Gwen Lovell of Harleston whose grandson Mark Foster carried the banner for the British Olympic squad, and was at the head of the contingent as they paraded before rapturous crowds.

“Mark was chosen because he's a veteran swimmer at 38 and you normally retire at 25. He's been a world champion, a European champion and a world record-holder, and I am very proud because he's never won an Olympic medal, and has come out of retirement to compete,” she said.

It is the fifth Olympics for the freestyle sprint swimmer who has won 47 major international medals, and was overjoyed to be given the ultimate honour by his team mates as their flag-bearer.


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His delighted grandma said she will be glued to the screen when the swimming is on TV to make sure she doesn't miss any coverage of his event.

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