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Fuelling Around podcast: Iwan Thomas on his epic cars and peculiar route into athletics

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November 11, 2021
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Former World and European champion sprinter Iwan Thomas joins Jason Plato and Dave Vitty this week to talk about his bonkers car collection and his Olympic career.

The 47-year-old, who represented Great Britain at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, before injury ruled him out of competing in Athens in 2004, discusses his love of cars and details the weird and wonderful vehicles he has owned over the years.

Among the petrolhead’s favourite vehicles is the Subaru Impreza STI and the Lotus Elise, which was the first brand new car he ever bought, shortly after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. But the former Olympian has also had some rather memorable cars for all the wrong reasons, including the Ford Probe – remember them? – of which he reveals the funny anecdote that made him buy the car from a Ford garage.

Olympic star Iwan Thomas reveals his odd journey into athletics

Prior to revealing the long list of motors he’s owned over the years, Thomas revealed his rather peculiar route into athletics, when his teacher registered him for the County Championships without him knowing.

“I got my first car in the same summer I started athletics, which was a whirlwind of a summer.” Thomas revealed.

“I went from never ever trying the 400m, to three weeks later being in Seoul and competing in the World Junior Championships, despite never doing a day’s training! I didn’t have a coach and I certainly didn’t belong to an athletics club and I was wearing borrowed running shoes.

“I changed schools for A-levels because my parents moved abroad, and in the summer term I knew I was good at running, but previously I’d been one of those ‘Sport-Billy’ kids who didn’t concentrate on athletics because I didn’t even really like it. I liked BMX and went to a couple of World Championships for that from the age of nine, so I always knew I was very competitive, but I was one of those annoying kids who played county football, rugby, cross country, every sport going and athletics came really late to me at the new school.

“I tried to fit in and show off on sports day, so I asked if I could do five different events, which I ended up winning all five events and broke all the school records.

“A teacher came over to me after I’d won the 400m and he clipped me around the head and said: ‘What are you doing boy? I’ve never seen anything like it, that’s raw talent!’ and I said ‘whatever sir’ and the following weekend without telling me, he’d entered me into the County Championships.

“I won that too and after that I got a call from the England team asking me if I wanted to go to the World Juniors.”

Thomas is the second guest on the third series of the Fuelling Around podcast hosted by British Touring Car Championship legend Jason Plato and Dave Vitty, following Bradley Walsh last week.

Jason Plato, Bradley Walsh and Dave Vitty during the recording

Enjoy plenty more Fuelling Around

The third series of Fuelling Around kicked off with TV star Bradley Walsh last week, and we’ve even more famous names appearing on the podcast over the next six weeks. But in the meantime, if you’re still in need of some car chat you can listen to all of the episodes from series one and two here.

You can also listen and subscribe to the popular automotive offering on Spotify and Apple podcasts.

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