THE family of Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin have finally been able to close the door on the heartache of four years ago after watching the Swindon swimmer exceed all expectations in Rio.
Jazz’s parents, Mary and Roger, were in the stands at the Olympic pool on Monday night cheering themselves hoarse as their daughter touched home to claim second place in the 400m freestyle.
Having endured the agony of watching Jazz miss out on going to a home Games in 2012, when a bout of glandular fever ruled her out of qualifying, then picking up the pieces in the aftermath, Mary is now pleased to have new memories to replace them.
“The only word I can use to describe how we are at the moment is exhausted,” she said.
“With the timing and everything, it was a late night anyway and we didn’t go straight to bed when we got in and it was hard to sleep even then.
“We are trying to take it all in, as to what actually happened.
“All I remember is shouting all the way through and saying ‘go Jazz’.
“I was absolutely elated when she touched the wall and we saw that she was a silver medallist.
“For us the memories of 2012 will never go away and we never want to experience again.
“Even though she has proven herself since then, it is still hard four years later to put that to one side and say that she is in a better place.
“It is a memory that will never be erased for us but now we have better memories.”
Carlin looked in a state of shock as she took to the podium next to American Katie Ledecky, who claimed gold with a world record time.
Mary admitted that it took a while for them to be spotted in the stands by their daughter and, like any mum would, all she wanted to do was give Jazz a big hug.
“It was unfortunate when it came to the medal ceremony because she didn’t really know where we were at the time,” added Mary, who has been restricted to just messaging Jazz on her phone.
“We were already down on the lower deck, which was the closest to the pool, but we weren’t close to the podium.
“We had the flag out and when she was waiting for the medal ceremony to go ahead she did manage to spot us and acknowledge that she knew where we were.
“When they walked around with the medal she was able to stop and acknowledge where we were and share a moment.
“(BBC interviewer) Sharron Davies is doing the interviews on pool side and even after the heats Sharron gave her a hug and then after the final there were even more hugs and I remember sending Jazz the message earlier in the day saying ‘I saw Sharron giving you a hug and I wish it was me’.
Reporter-Matthew Edwards, Sports reporter / @Matt_r_Edwards