It was the arbiters of teenage cool at Alderman Bagnall Comprehensive in Mansfield that drove 21-year-old Kevin Burgess on. As early as 2005, the skinny misfit decided to silence their cruel taunts by seeking glory at the London Olympics. Now that his dream has fizzled out anonymously, he has been forced to concede that they were quite right to label him a saddo.
'I was determined to prove them all wrong. I followed my dream, gave it 100% and travelled two hours each way to train in the freezing cold every day at Don Valley for three years, just to be nearly last in the qualifying heat, viewed by a few hundred people on the red button,' said Burgess. 'And to think I could have spent that time drinking cider down the rec. What a fool I've been.'
By a mixture of sheer hard work and the lack of anyone else in competing at such a lame event, Burgess rose to be Britain's number six 3,000 metre steeplechaser. Fate then smiled when two of those who finished ahead of him in qualifying were injured and another was disqualified for taking cough mixture. He lined up in the heats last Friday but limped home 18th of 20, far behind the Kenyans and Ethiopians.
Opinion is now divided among Burgess's local contemporaries. Some have reluctantly conceded that sixth best in Britain is not that bad, while others insist that he is still a gangly streak of piss who needs a good kicking. School social king Thomas 'Tommo' Godfrey, meanwhile, remarked that Burgess might be able to outrun him but not the BMW he has bought on the proceeds of dominating the local drug trade.
'I suppose it's as well I lost. I could hardly thank my supportive family, as they all think I'm a loser and missed my appearance to go shopping,' Burgess concluded. 'On the positive side, I did get a text off Hayley Brown, who I fancied something rotten at school. It said 'u did quite well. can u send me usan bolts number, id well shag him lol'. You never know, this could be the start of something.'