From the Swindon Advertiser, first published Tuesday 4th Apr 2006.
COMMONWEALTH Games bronze medallist Chris Jones is facing the biggest decision of his life after a shock offer has re-ignited his Olympic dream.
The Swindon Dolphin swimmer, pictured, was all set to hang up his speedos and concentrate on a career in accountancy but an impressive showing in Melbourne has caused him to think again. Following his appearance in the 50m breaststroke final and a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay for Scotland in the Commonwealths, Scotland’s director of swimming has offered to provide Jones with full backing to continue swimming full-time.
The 24-year-old, who had already signed a contract with a top accountants in London, starts his British Championships campaign in Sheffield today but admits his mind is all over the place with his future very much up in the air.
“It has been unbelievable,” he said. “I thought my appearance in the Commonwealth Games was going to be a once in a lifetime experience.
“I have got a job all sorted but now this offer has thrown me all over the place. I have never received full support in swimming before.
“I have always been trying to impress but now I don’t need to. They have said they will support me financially and mentally and I now face a very difficult decision. I don’t know what is going to happen.”
Jones, a member of Swindon Dolphins, admitted he thought Melbourne was as far as his swimming career could take him but now he is beginning to dream of Beijing 2008.
He said: “If I took their offer up then it would be because I had a chance of making the Olympics.
If they say it would be one step too far for me then I would forget it and start my accountancy job.
“We are going to have a talk about it at the championships this week and hopefully it will become clearer after that.”
Scotland believe I have a chance of getting there and so want to help me do it. I just don’t know whether I can now having already signed for my job.
“I want to swim well in Sheffield this week but more importantly I know I have to make a very tough decision. It has all been very hectic since returning from Melbourne.”
Jones swims in the 100m breaststroke in Sheffield today, the 200m on Thursday and the 50m on Saturday.
“I am really hoping to swim well in the 100m,” he said. “I did not get to swim that in the Commonwealth Games and I want to show them they should have given me a shot.”
From the Swindon Advertiser http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk © Newsquest Media Group 2006