Olympics dream for Norwich schoolboy after he sprints to national success

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at t

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at the 2024 Olympics. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Inspired by Team GB and sharing a name with a world record breaking sprinter, a Norwich teenage athlete has moved a step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming an Olympian

Calvin Smith, 16, from Sprowston, has become the English Schools 400m sprint champion and has earned an England vest.

Representing Open Academy Norwich and Norfolk, Calvin won the 200m and 400m at the Norfolk Schools Championship in June at the UEA Sports Park. 

He went on to win the 400m final at the English Schools Track and Field Championship held in Manchester last month with a time of 49.43s.

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at t

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at the 2024 Olympics. Calvin is pictured with his family, mum Jo, dad Chris and sister Keisha, 13. - Credit: Denise Bradley

He will now be representing England and Open Academy at the Home Counties Schools International Athletic Board Track and Field Championship in Derby next month.

Calvin, who is currently number one in the UK under-17 boys’ rankings for the 400m and sixth for the 200m, said: “Looking to the future my dream would be to qualify and compete in the 400m at the Olympics. 

Calvin Smith wins at English Schools Track and Field Championship

Calvin Smith won at the English Schools Track and Field Championship held in Manchester last month. - Credit: DNEAT


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“The 2024 Olympics in Paris may be too ambitious as I’ll only be 19-years-old, but nothing is impossible with hard work and commitment.”

His mum, Jo Smith said: “His dad, sister and I are immensely proud of Calvin as well as the rest of his family. He has displayed dedication to his sport and spent many months in lockdown unable to train with his coaches or on the track.”

Calvin Smith

Calvin Smith is currently number one in the UK under-17 boys’ rankings for the 400m. - Credit: Archant

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Calvin, who will be attending City College to study for a diploma in IT from September, said: “I was having to train in parks where dogs were chasing me and running off with my cones, which was quite funny! 

“I had hoped to qualify in the 400m for the under-18s European Championships which was to be held in Rieti in August but unfortunately due to Covid it was cancelled in April.” 

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at t

Calvin Smith, 16, English Schools 400m sprint champion, who is dreaming of representing Team GB at the 2024 Olympics. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Jon Ford, principal of Open Academy Norwich, said: “This incredible achievement is part of Calvin’s considerable success story. 

“He really stood out at a sprint starting session for his peers during a PE lesson two years ago; it was honestly like watching a professional athlete.”

US athlete Calvin Smith

US athlete Calvin Smith was a world record-holding sprinter who competed in the infamous 100m at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. - Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Calvin shares his name with the 1980s former world record-holding US sprinter. 

Dad Chris said: “My wife is a big fan of athletics and was obviously aware of him. But Calvin wasn’t directly named after him, though there probably was some influence there.”

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