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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK

Mary's golden memories

By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport Online

Dame Mary Peters might be an Olympic champion but if it wasn't for the Commonwealth Games, she might not have risen to the top of her sport.

Peters famously won pentathlon gold in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

But two years earlier she claimed double gold for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

Peters had competed in the shot put at the 1962 Games, where she finished fourth and picked up a silver medal in the same event in 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica.

"It was the catalyst to me winning Olympic gold"
Dame Mary Peters

But it was at the 1970 Games in Edinburgh where Peters made her big breakthrough, winning the pentathlon and the shot put.

"I think in the past I had been afraid of success," she told BBC Sport Online. "But when I won my first medal in 1966 it made me realise that I could do it.

"It was much easier second time around when I won gold in 1970 and it made me realise that it was good to win and gave me new opportunities.

"It showed me that success didn't have to change you. It made me more determined and was the catalyst to me winning Olympic gold.

"There also was a healthy rivalry between the competitors and I made friendships there which have stood the test of time."

Boxer Barry McGuigan was another competitor who secured Commonwealth gold for Northern Ireland.

McGuigan rates his triumph at Edmonton in the featherweight division of the 1978 Games, when he was aged just 17, as one of his career highlights.

"I was up against a boxer from Papua New Guinea in the final and he hit me so hard with a punch at the end of the first round that I was left shocked," said McGuigan.

"But I eventually recovered and the whole experience was one I will never forget."

Mary Peters and Barry McGuigan are guests on the Commonwealth Games edition of A Question of Sport which will be shown at 1900 BST on Wednesday 24 July.


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