“We are all so proud of him” are the words radiating around Bassetlaw for Lee Thompson - after he made his Olympic debut.
Lee, aged 24, a junior accountant and an international sprinter made Olympic history by helping Britain’s 4x400m mixed relay team set a new British record time at the Olympic Games.
Lee, a former student at Outwood Academy Portland, completed the fourth leg in the relay heat, where he ran his fastest-ever split time at 45.42 seconds.
Alongside Cameron Chalmers, Zoey Clark, and Emily Diamond, the GB team finished fourth, qualifying for the final, and set an impressive new British record of three minutes 11.95 seconds in the mixed relay.
Despite not running in the final, Lee is still grateful for the experience.
“The experience as a whole was amazing,” said Lee, from Carlton-in-Lindrick. “A massive thank you to the people of Worksop for all of their messages of support, they really do go a long way.
“I’d like to give a massive thank you to my family, my girlfriend, Hannah, and my coach, John Henson, for all of their support and help along my journey since starting the sport in 2014 until now, I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
Lee, who is a member of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club, also ran in the men’s relay but the team just missed out on qualifying for the final.
“We were pretty disappointed with not making the final, but we need to use this experience as a team to work harder in order to try to medal in Paris 2024,” the athlete said.
Lee only began competing at age 17 after studying at school, and has since won an array of competitions, including winning a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the 2017 European U23 Championships in Poland.
Outwood Academy Portland, where Lee studied, cheered in his triumph.
A spokesman for the school said: "Everyone at Outwood Academy Portland is so proud of Lee's phenomenal achievements.
“He is a true role model to our students and we are excited to support him and cheer him on to Paris 2024! Congratulations, Lee!"
Sally Thompson, Lee’s mum, said: “The school teacher always used to ring me up saying he’d be a really good runner.
“He didn’t start athletics until he left Portland school. He qualified on the week of leaving school for a big competition and won it for Notts, and they sent him into a big competition [in Birmingham].
“Within a year he did England Under-20s things and GB Juniors and it’s just grown from there, he’s just always kept in the top few of his age group - and now the seniors.
“Lee’s always worked full-time, he’s not a full time athlete,” Sally said. “He can go to the gym in the morning, he can go to work, then he finishes work and goes to Sheffield to train, or another gym session, but he can’t do it full time.
“He had funding from Nottinghamshire’s Talented Athletes scheme when he was younger for a few years which was really helpful towards him - even just paying entry fees for competitions.”
“All he gets [now] when he goes with GB is free travel and free kit, he doesn’t get any funding whatsoever.
Lee’ family have travelled all around the country to watch him compete in competitions, but have never had the chance to travel abroad with work commitments, and this time with a pandemic in the way.
“It’s just very nerve wracking when you’re the one sat at home and he’s a long way away,” said Sally. “It’s not the same watching it on the television as when you go and watch somewhere live.”
Big brother Ben Thompson, dressed his three children in GB merchandise in front of the television to show his pride in his younger brother: “We are all so proud of him. To see your little brother perform on the biggest stage for his country is such an amazing feeling.”
Lee’s girlfriend, Hannah Mulvey said she hopes they will all be able to cheer from the stand in Paris 2024.
“Watching Lee anchor the mixed relay team that broke the British record was amazing but so surreal and emotional,” Hannah said.
“I’m just so glad that Lee was fit and healthy enough to represent the nation in this year’s Olympic Games after a tough 18 months.
“It goes without saying how proud I am of Lee. He has been incredibly dedicated to the sport since he joined coach John Henson in 2016,” Hannah, added. “Lee’s selection for the Olympic team is a true reflection of the hard work that both him and John have put in over the last few years.”
The leader of Bassetlaw District Council, Simon Greaves, congratulated Lee’s achievements after years of training and hard work.
“Congratulations to Lee and all of the Olympians who have represented Great Britain in Tokyo,” Coun Greaves said. “Lee has done Worksop proud and will be an inspiration to young athletes by showing that dreams can be realised if you work hard and have great dedication.”
On Lee’s success, the Bassetlaw MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith, said: “It’s an incredible moment for all of us to see one of Worksop’s own taking to the world stage in Tokyo.
“Well done Lee and the rest of Team GB for doing our town and our country proud.
"Your strength, determination and hard work sets a great example for the Olympians of the future and I hope it inspires many more to get involved in local sport.”