Godfrey targets his gold precisely as archer takes aim for medals
01:57 GMT, 28 July 2012
Larry Godfrey’s world is measured in millimetres. As an archer, the tiniest slip could cost him an Olympic medal.
As an engineer, the same minute error could cost a soldier his life.
The 36-year-old works for Rolls-Royce, repairing the Apache helicopters which British Army pilots fly in the war zones of Afghanistan.
Brit special: Larry Godrey got his Olympic campaign underway on Friday
‘I’m a small cog in a big wheel of
protecting our country, if you like,’ he says in a Bristolian twang.
‘I’m not on the front line or anything but I do have a small part to
play in keeping those helicopters in the sky.
‘The guys are out there doing their bit, and I’m over here doing my little bit. That’s why I love my job. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.’
He was battling in his own way on Friday, amid the serene setting of Lord’s cricket ground. He continued this year’s superb form to shoot a personal best in the qualification round of the team event, finishing as the fourth best individual overall.
He and his two team-mates — Simon Terry and Alan Wills — face Ukraine on Saturday at 9am, hoping success will take them to a quarter-final clash with gold medal favourites South Korea. In fact, Godfrey has a better chance in the individual competition which takes place on Friday.
He sees the similarities between his sport and his work and reckons the latter drives his chance of success in the former.
‘(My job) is like Team GB. There are 500-odd athletes and I’m one of them. When I put my colours on for the country, I’m competing for my country, and for myself. The level of pride is the same when an engine comes in and needs a quick turnaround to get it back out into the field. I’ve got a balance of sport and a balance of real life and they definitely complement each other. It’s a lot of hard work because both the jobs are demanding and there’s a lot of dedication but that’s who I am.’
Checking them out: Godfrey has two chances to win a medal in London
Godfrey got an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce when he was 16 to continue a family relationship with the company, his father and grandfather having been employed by them.
Supported by his bosses he stopped work a couple of months ago to concentrate on the Games.
Godfrey confessed his need for precision even extends into home life, which can occasionally infuriate his fiancee Rebecca, who he will marry after the Olympics. ‘I’m a DIY nightmare because I always try to get everything millimetre perfect,’ he admits.
He felt the pain of getting it slightly wrong during his individual bronze medal match at Athens 2004. He lost to Tim Cuddihy of Australia by one point.
Speak to him now and it’s clear he is confident there will be no repeat.
He won World Cup silver in his last major competition in the USA, to go with gold from a World Cup in Turkey earlier in the year.
‘If I’d have medalled in Athens I think I would have stopped,’ he says. ‘So I’m almost glad I didn’t. A gold medal there or a gold medal in London It’s a gold medal in London.
‘It was quite hard though, one point, 10 millimetres away from actually having a medal around my neck. But I’m over it. I’ve learned from it. I’m in the best form of my life.
‘I know I have it in me to compete for the medals.’