Jack Oliver has competed in two Commonwealth Games and an Olympics, but after the joy of competing for Team England, he confirms that Gold Coast 2018 will be his last Games.
The 26-year-old weightlifting star is determined to go out on a high, after coming so close to success in Glasgow, and make it a perfect end to his Team England career.
And after coming back from two cases of surgery early in 2017 year, Jack’s focus is on the Gold Coast with the tournament six months away.
He said: “I’ve gone from doing nothing a year ago because I had surgery on my knee and my elbow so I’ve basically had my whole body put back together and I’ve been working away since then.
“It’s just ticking boxes and then taking the steps to qualify for the Gold Coast, but it’s all going well considering not that long ago I didn’t really have a working arm or leg!”
It’s not easy for any athlete to go through injury, but for Jack, matters were made even worse by needing surgery on his knee and elbow.
He said: “It’s definitely not easy, especially I’d say when it’s your upper and lower body. As a weightlifter, you have knee surgery and I’ve had three knee surgeries, and you can do a lot of upper body work and entertain yourself, but I was pretty immobile with my arm being out of action as well.”
However, the thought of competing again for Team England has kept Jack’s spirits up as he chases a medal after coming so close in Glasgow 2014.
He said: “My goal is Gold Coast 2018. I’ve been to two [Commonwealth Games] before and I came fourth in the last one. I knew I wanted to get a medal in this one, so I just had to keep reminding myself that while I couldn’t train.
“I think about that medal pretty much constantly. It’s hard not to at the minute because I know that will be my last Commonwealth Games.
“This is my last chance so everything is going into it and it will make my career a lot nicer to look back on if I can say that I’ve done it.”
While it’s difficult to make the decision not to compete after 2018, Jack wants the opportunity to pull on the Team England jersey one proud, final time.
He said: “It’s when you step out onto the platform, lifting for your country - that’s when you really notice it. I lifted in the London Olympics and it didn’t really seem real until you walk out onto the platform.
“They bring the lifters out for presentations, they call your name and country and you step forward and that’s when it hits you with so many people cheering for you.
“It’s the same at the Commonwealth Games. You step out onto the platform grinning there for a while trying to remember that you’re actually there to lift weights and not just stand around smiling.”