Late on Friday night, in a remarkably close race, Boxing Club President Alex Lacy was elected to be next year’s AU President. “I was absolutely gobsmacked,” he later tells Nouse. “I didn’t see it coming.” He and his supporters ended up celebrating twice, when someone accidentally flashed the result up on the big screen before the official announcement was made.
When I meet Lacy, it’s easy to see why he is such a popular figure in sporting circles. He is friendly and approachable, slightly nervous about his upcoming exams, and off to try and find out where he left his car after the interview, having been out the night before with the Boxing Club.
Asked first of all about his campaigning, he freely admits that his 5,000 press-ups in Market Square were “first and foremost a publicity stunt.” He also claims that he did it to make sure that, even if he didn’t win, he at least would have raised some money for charity.
However, it turns out that the stunt could be what he jokingly refers to as “the first of many broken promises,” as he admits that he only managed 2,500 before his “elbow locked up”. To make up for it, he states that he feels “obliged to do the remaining 2,500 next term”.
The concept of obligation crops up more than once in the interview, especially when Lacy states that he wants to “meet the expectations that people have of me”. To this end, he has chosen policies that he believes are “realistic” so that he can fulfil them.
Foremost among his policies, which are “mainly geared towards participation and inclusivity”, is a free ‘cross fit’ style fitness scheme that Lacy describes as the “hot thing at the moment”. Due to the build up to the 2012 Olympics, Lacy claims that “outdoor gyms, which is essentially what this is, are getting a lot of support and a lot of grant money from things like the National Lottery”. Consequently, he believes that the scheme won’t ultimately be that expensive for the University, “especially considering the health and sporting benefits.”
Instead of the upgrades to facilities espoused by other candidates, he stresses the need for maintenance of existing facilities after the recent closure of the squash courts for health and safety reasons.
His plans for coaching also fall under his plans to make the AU more inclusive. He explains that “making sport more inclusive is not just about getting people who don’t normally play sport involved, but also about accommodating for people who want to play sport at a very high level”. Reassuringly, he seems to value coaching for smaller clubs just as highly as the larger ones, and plans to attract coaches by getting clubs to devise “development plans” on how they can improve.
The same could be said of his approach to budgeting, where he plans to carry on the initiatives begun under the current AU to give clubs what they need to improve based on their development plans, while also helping clubs to find alternatives to AU funding.
When asked how he would like his tenure as Athletic Union President to be remembered, Lacy barely hesitates: “I want to be remembered as someone who got as many people as possible doing sport and exercise at the University.”