Sophie Bradley will visit Team GB in Beijing as part of an 'Olympic Ambition 2012' programme.
England footballers Sophie Bradley and Fern Whelan are off to Beijing in ten days, where they are hopefully set to rub shoulders with some of Great Britain’s latest Olympic champions.
Sophie, Fern, England Women’s U19 Head Coach Mo Marley and her male counterpart Brian Eastick, are taking part in the British Olympic Association’s ‘Olympic Ambition 2012 programme’.
152 athletes and coaches have been invited to take part, giving them an experience of the 2008 Olympic Games that aims to inspire and help prepare them for the London Olympics in 2012.
The Leeds Carnegie Ladies and Everton defenders will visit the TeamGB preparation camp in Macau – where Hope Powell’s senior squad also acclimatised before the 2007 FIFA World Cup – before flying on to Beijing. There they will visit the Athletes’ lodge and Olympic Village, as well as attending two Olympic football games.
Sophie said she was keen to pick up valuable tips from the Olympians:
"There are obvious differences in coaching for this kind of event. When we as a team prepare for European games the training gets more intense, so for the Olympics, the training will be even harder.
"It will be great to see how the athletes are off the field, and how they deal with the pressure to compete and do well. We can compare this to our own preparation. Beijing will be very hot and it will be interesting to see how the athletes deal with the heat. I am looking forward to getting a feel for the Olympics - watching it on TV will be very different to watching it in real life."
The England quartet fly out on Beijing on 17 August and Sophie is optimistic that the profile of Women's football will continue to rise.
"People sometimes judge Women's football before they've seen it. I don't think you can really compare Women's football to men's football because the male game is always going to be different. Men are physically stronger and faster than us, so I think Women's football should be judged on its own merits."
The USA are the defending Women's Olympic football champions, after beating Brazil 2-1 in the Athens final.
"It would be great to see Great Britain come away with lots of medals, but in football I think it will come down to the USA or Germany - they're both very strong teams, although the US will definitely miss Abby Wambach up front," Sophie concluded.