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Charlotte Nichols and Stuart Bates, who have links to Waterford and Mayo, will try out all 96 different Olympic events. They will try all of them in just 17 days during the Olympics in memory of loved one, Spencer ‘Spenney’ Bates
From weightlifting to dressage and sailing to pole vaulting, the pair will run, throw and jump their way through nearly 100 sports. They believe they are the first to attempt the impressive feat.
Charlotte is currently studying to become a doctor at the University of Bristol while Stuart has a full-time job as a window cleaner in Oxford.
Not only will the pair need to complete a triathlon, a 50km speed walk, a 10km swim (which takes the world’s best athletes two hours to complete), and a 240km road cycle, but also a full marathon.
Charlotte is a keen athlete, being a part of the Oxford-based GAA club Eire Óg. The pair have received a lot of support from the Mayo people and footballer Paddy Durcan.
This year marks 10 years since the passing of Stuart’s brother Spencer ‘Spenny’ Bates. The father of two tragically died, aged just 49, of motor neuron disease.
Charlotte and Stuart hope to raise £10,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association with their Olympic challenge, which they have dubbed the ‘Spennylympics’.
Charlotte, now finished her third year at Bristol, said:
“We’re terrified and excited at the same time. It’s been a real journey already: we’ve had to learn loads of new sports and we’ve met some amazing people along the way.
“The training has been tough, particularly fitting it around studying medicine. But there have been some incredible moments too, like sailing in Weymouth as the sun was setting.
“It has been a chance for us both to think about Spenny a lot too. When you’re feeling achy and tired and you don’t want to go out and train, having him in your mind really helps.”
— BBC Radio Oxford (@BBCOxford) July 12, 2021
Starting on July 23, Charlotte and Stuart will have 17 days to complete the 96 sports. They will visit Reading to cycle on the velodrome, Bath for some of their track and field, and Bristol to surf at the Wave, a new inland surfing venue.
They will then travel to Weymouth, Spenny’s hometown, to go sailing and windsurfing. While there, on the penultimate day of the challenge they will play a football match with Spenny’s friends and family.
The final day will be the dreaded marathon.
Spenny was well-known in Weymouth for being a drummer in several bands. He is survived by his wife Nicky and two sons, Samuel and Isaac.
About Spencer, Stuart said: “He was many things to many people, a loyal and trusted friend, a completely devoted father and husband, and just the best company you could wish for.”
Thrilled that the amazing @IanMarsdenGB has joined us as a special ambassador. A Paralympic legend who is also living with a rare motor neurone condition, Ian is one of the most charismatic people we have encountered!
— spennylympics (@spennylympics) July 14, 2021
Despite their busy schedules, Stuart and Charlotte have managed to recruit more than 55 former and current Olympians to be ambassadors for the challenge. The pair are also being supported by Daniel Davey, an Irish performance-based nutrition specialist who works with Leinster rugby and Dublin GAA.
Dozens more have helped by offering lessons in everything from canoeing to rhythmic gymnastics.
Stuart and Charlotte now have just a few weeks of training before they are thrown into the biggest physical challenge of their lives. And the bit they are dreading the most?
“Diving 10 metres is pretty daunting, but I’ll make it happen!” said Charlotte
Stuart added: “Staying on the horse whilst show jumping is something giving me sleepless nights!”
To help Stuart and Charlotte toward their fundraising target visit their Just Giving page here.