Talking sport: Meadows deserves to be remembered as a better athlete than history will give her credit for

Imagine, for a minute, a parallel world in which Leeds were stripped of last year's Grand Final trophy and Wigan were, today, named 2015 Super League champions.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 9:25 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:11 pm
Jenny Meadows won four major individual medals - three are the 'wrong' colour

And that Arsenal had their 2014 FA Cup triumph (enter your own fictitious reason) taken off them, finalists Hull City were also disqualified and the famous trophy was this morning sent in a DHL delivery to Latics, who were knocked out in the semis.

Would you celebrate?

Possibly, in a ‘good-excuse-for-a-midweek-beer’ kind of way.

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But would you feel like they had won it? No.

Because you would have no memories of the win. No ‘Ben Watson moment’ to treasure, no recollection of the countdown to the final whistle, no euphoria, no hugs, no screams, no trophy-lift, no photos on your 
Facebook or phone.

It sounds ludicrous, right?

But now imagine how Jenny Meadows feels as she reflects on her athletics career.

There is one major 800m gold in her cabinet – from the 2011 European Championships. But she didn’t experience the joy of finishing first, she didn’t step to the top of the podium and she didn’t hear her national anthem.

In the photographs from that day, she had two silvers round her neck - from the 800m and 400m relay. She only received the gold years later when the Russian athlete who finished ahead of her was banned.

In isolation, that would be hard to take.

But it wasn’t. She has three other major medals in her collection. Two are the wrong colour.

There have been times she has finished fourth, to athletes later accused or found to have doped.

Times she didn’t reach finals, only to later learn some of those ahead of her in the semi-finals had rocket fuel coursing through their veins.

They took the prizes, the prize money, and all the glory that went with it. And Jenny was left to feel like she just wasn’t good enough.

She may receive future medal ‘upgrades’, though nothing can be done to give her back the stolen memories, or lost money – no wonder she has bitterness and a lack of belief in athletics.

She deserves to be remembered for being a much better athlete than history will give her credit for, even though the medals she has got prove she was one of the best 800m runners in the world.

And anyone who knows her will say she has always shown such integrity and positivity (her and husband-coach Trevor Painter are terrific people). She has been a credit to her sport, her country, and her town.

We should feel proud to be able to call her one of our own.

He’s not played a game but I’m happy Wigan have signed Frank-Paul Nuuausala.

Because for the first time in a long time, we have a player with a real nickname – the ‘Wrecking Ball’!

For too long, we’ve had to put up with a squad of nicknames like ‘Lockers’, ‘Faz’ , ‘Micky’ and ‘Gells’!

For fans old enough to remember players called ‘Cement’, ‘Blocker’ and ‘The Bricks With Eyes’, it’s been hard!

Welcome to Wigan, ‘Wrecking Ball’!