Nurse Cathy clinches Olympic place
Published: 22 June 2012
A Royal College of Nursing steward has been chosen to officiate in the showpiece athletics competition at the London 2012 Olympics.
Cathy Briggs, a sister in the Acute Medical Unit at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, will judge field events such as long jump, high jump, javelin and discus.
She said: 'It’s amazing and still feels like a dream. I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere and being involved in a momentous occasion.'
Cathy is the RCN’s lead steward at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as chair of the staff side and chair of the RCN’s Shropshire branch. She has also been selected to judge field events at the Paralympics, when she will stay in the Olympic village.
As one of around 60 British field judges selected for the Games, Cathy could find herself measuring a throw or jump or, equally, checking that athletes do not break the technical rules in any of the eight field events.
She said: 'I think I’ll be more nervous than usual. The stadium holds 80,000 people and every decision we make will be under video and television scrutiny, but as judges we don’t have the luxury of freeze frame, slow play or rewind. We have to judge on what we see.'
Cathy became involved in judging in 1996 when her sons joined an amateur athletics club in Oswestry.
She explained: 'I used to stay and watch them and was asked to help out with little things like registration and collecting money. I became a judge because teams lose points in leagues if they don’t have qualified judges. I qualified in both track and field but decided to specialise in field.'
Selection for the Olympics is as coveted for judges as it is for the athletes. Cathy had to qualify as a senior judge which, in itself, involved training followed by years of regular assessment and examination.
She learned in April 2011 that she was on the provisional list for selection, but had to keep the news quiet. She took part in test events in May this year before her place was confirmed.
Cathy said: 'My family and friends are very proud and impressed. They’ve asked if they can come with me!'