On your mark, get set, RESCUE!
FOR a woman who still holds the UK 100m hurdles record, joining the male dominated firefighting profession was never too much of a leap for Angie Thorp.
The Wombwell athlete - who found fame at the Atlanta Olympics - has raced through the ranks, to become a Watch Manager at the Dearne's new fire station at Manvers.
And her message to other women thinking of joining the Fire Services: "If I can do, it so can you!"
Angie, 37, jumped at the chance to take up her childhood dream job after injury ended her career in world class athletics nine years ago.
She told the Times: "I'm loving it - I really enjoy my job.
"It was something I have always wanted to do, but obviously when I was young my priority was athletics.
"Eventually injury meant I couldn't continue competing at the top level. But I needed to do something challenging and rewarding and this is - both physically and mentally".
Thorp's 12.80 British record - set in the stifling heat of the 1996 Olympic Games - still stands.
"I don't know how long it will last - Jessica is getting close!", she said of her one time training partner and world pentathlon champion, Sheffield's Jessica Ennis.
"I will never forget walking into the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. Nobody can take away the memories of being cheered on by 95,000 people. It was amazing."
Angie still lives in Wombwell, the town where she grew up and where her talents were recognised and nurtured at an early age.
Aged just 11, her performances in games lessons on the top field grass track convinced her teachers at Wombwell High School that she had a world-beater's ability.
She added: "My teachers asked if I had thought about joining a club. Soon I was begging and begging my parents to let me join Wombwell Athletics Club.
"I was trained by Janette Tomlins, who is still there doing a great job.
"Eventually she said she couldn't do any more for me and I joined Wigan Harriers - she never held me back".
In the late 90s, a succession of muscle injuries and a knee operation meant Angie never was able to improve on her Olympic times and she decided a new career - saving lives - was the way forward.
She is still coaching young athletes at Wombwell AC and is a qualified personal fitness instructor and sports massage therapist.
She said: "I don't feel I can coach full-time, as I work shifts now and a coach needs to give attention 24/7 like I have had in the past".
Angie spent eight years at Brampton fire station and moved to Doncaster before taking up her present position.
She said: "It is a fantastic job. As far as getting on with the guys, they just treat me as one of the lads.
"Women have to do exactly the same things and there are around 35 of us in the South Yorkshire Fire Service now.
"It is a physically active job and you have to keep your fitness levels up. You see things and deal with things a normal person on the street would have difficulty with.
"I can watch TV programmes like Casualty and the sight of blood makes me turn away.
But when you are actually there in a real live situation - the scene of an accident for example, the adrenalin takes over.
"It's only when you can sit down at the station later when you reflect on what you have done."
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