When the starting gun is raised for the start of the first track event at the London 2012 Olympics, the man firing it is likely to be Gordon Staines.
Gordon, 60, is from Newbold, Chesterfield, and is one of the three starters chosen for the Olmpics and Paralympics.
A production director at an engineering company, Gordon’s rise to the pinnacle of athletics officiating began in 1987 when his children joined Chesterfield Athletics Club.
He became involved as a coach, and in 1989 responded to a plea from the club for trainee officials by expressing an interest in becoming a starter.
He was thrown straight into action when approached to act as starter at Derby when the official starter failed to turn up.
After passing the required exam he gained his early knowledge working with experienced starters and achieved good reports to progress from local league meetings to county, regional, national and international championships.
He continues to support the local county clubs whenever his other commitments allow him to do so.
Starting may look simple, but it is a very responsible position with the need to make quick accurate decisions with confidence.
And Gordon cannot afford to be wrong, now that one false start leads to immediate disqualification
In his 23 year career he has officiated at numerous major meetings including Grand Prix and Diamond League meetings, World Veterans’ Championships, European Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Indoor/Outdoor and European Championships.
In addition to his starter position with UK Athletics, Gordon works part-time for Seiko.