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Erikson gets shot at redemption in London

Date

Chris Wilson

Walker Chris Erikson with his 9month old son Oliver, Chris was chosen in the Olympic squad.

Walker Chris Erikson with his 9month old son Oliver, Chris was chosen in the Olympic squad. Photo: Colleen Petch

He has followed in his own father's footsteps to become a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, but race-walker Chris Erikson says it's too early to know if his own nine-month-old son, Oliver, will become an Olympian like dad.

''There's no pressure, when he takes his first steps we might get a better idea,'' Erikson says, laughing.

''My dad's always joking we need to get him training. He's getting close, he shuffles around the room on one knee.''

Erikson was yesterday granted his shot at Olympic redemption, given a discretionary selection by Athletics Australia (AA) to compete at the London Olympics in the 20-kilometre event. It was a huge relief for Erikson, who broke down in tears after being disqualified from the 50km walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Recognised in athletics for the flamboyant flame tattoos rising from his feet, Erikson has had two birds inked into either side of his chest this year. Tattoos of swallows are an old-world symbol, once given to sailors to recognise 5000 miles of exploration.

Erikson, of Deakin, estimates he's walked more than 15,000km in training since Beijing, driven by disappointment. For all his love of body art and ink, Erikson has refused to get the Olympic rings tattooed onto his body - yet.

''There's very rarely a day that goes past that I don't think about it [the disappointment of Beijing],'' Erikson said. ''I say to a lot of people it's a highlight, but also a lowlight of my career. To get to an Olympics and represent your country is fantastic but that's the only time I've been disqualified in my whole career, so it's a tough one to take. It's something that drives me every day and almost every step along the way.

''My big aim for the last four years has been to redeem that and make sure I get to London to have a great result … and finally get my Olympic rings tattoo.''

Tim Erikson claimed bronze at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, son Chris repeating that effort in 2006.

''I'm very encouraged about getting a top-16 or even a top-10 finish in London is an achievable target.''

Canberra-based race-walker Adam Rutter was also added to the Olympic nominations by AA yesterday.

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