- London Olympics 2012
GB boxing captain leading by example
Great Britain boxing captain Tom Stalker has revealed how a combination of the support and help of the Olympic team's representatives and a reprieve from a court judge allowed him to see the error of his ways and focus all his energy on the sport.
The 26-year-old is captain of Great Britain's ten-person boxing team at London 2012 but has explained that his path could easily have been a very different one.
"If it were not for GB boxing, I could have gone away," Stalker said in the Sun. "A few years before I started boxing, I was a bit of a lad but I was given chances and I have been really lucky. I believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason.
"GB boxing stuck behind me as I had done something wrong. I hit someone I shouldn't have hit. GB representatives went to the court and spoke up for me, saying that I was a good person, even though the judge might have thought I wasn't.
"I was that close to going away to jail. When I walked out of that court, I was just so relieved. It put my boxing into perspective and what it meant to me.
"I had the court case and five weeks later I was winning silver at the European Championships in Moscow. It was a turning point. I wrote to the judge after I won a medal and said, 'Look, you let people off and they reoffend but not everyone does and I've proved that'. He gave me a chance."
Stalker started boxing at 18 in a bid to avoid the lure of petty crime that was present on the streets of his hometown Liverpool.
"I've done things wrong but now I hope I'm a role model back in my home city of Liverpool," he said. "I was a young lad who made mistakes but I've come through it all. That is all because of hard work. To go to the Olympics and box for your country is unbelievable but to be made captain takes it to another level."