Rio-bound modern pentathlete Samantha Murray is a silver medal winner from London 2012 who was born in Preston and spent her childhood in Clitheroe. Here she discusses her pre-Rio training camp and sport as a unifying force
As I approached the final week of training for the Olympic Games in Rio, it was comforting to be back at the training camp in Font Romeu, high in the mountains of the Catalan Pyrenees.
Training at altitude helps to increase strength because your body has to work harder in the altitude. In an endurance multidisciplinary sport like modern pentathlon, strength is essential.
We come to this training base frequently and it is rather like a second home.
I love the peaceful atmosphere which provides an excellent opportunity to prepare mentally for the big competition ahead.
The food, as is the case everywhere in France, is excellent and I love the French language, which I read as my major degree subject at University of Bath.
French is one of the two official languages of the Olympic Games – the other being English.
It was with great sadness that I heard the news about the most recent terrorist atrocities in France. At troubled times like this, I often think how sport can be a unifying force.
As an elite athlete, I compete internationally and have extended the hand of friendship to athletes from all over the world.
There are many cultural differences amongst athletes of the international family of modern pentathlon but the one thing we have in common is the love of participating together in our sport.
Participation is the spirit of the Games because we all take part, irrespective of cultural differences.
We love the competition, the chance to test our skill, strength and focus.
The willingness to participate allows spectators from all over the world to cheer for their own teams but applauded the winner regardless of who that might be or their provenance.
It is a joy and a privilege to be part of the Olympic movement for the second time.
Aldi are proud supporters of Team GB, read more from Samantha Murray at www.teamgb.com/homegrownheroes