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Sport and politics shouldn't mix.

I heard it in a press conference again today, from a Chinese journalist who was ascribing that principle to the IOC, and asking what the rules were about protests or demonstrations by athletes during the opening ceremony.

Earlier this week, Jacques Rogge proclaimed the IOC to be an idealist organisation, adding perhaps that made them naive sometimes. Frequently cute, I'd say.

The sport and politics argument is always a matter of degrees. It's where you draw the line that counts, but every once in a while along comes an example that makes a mockery of the principle.

Let me tell you something about the flag bearer of the US team: he's called Lopez Lomong, and he's living proof that sport and politics can't be separated.

Continue reading "Lomong proves sport and politics do mix"


Recent entries


Ricky Hatton has carved out a nice sideline for himself as an after-dinner speaker and the butt of many of his jokes is his alter ego "Ricky Fatton".

This pie-munching, stout-quaffing man of the people is the stuff of Manchester folklore and gags about him having a lot on his plate never fail to bring the house down.

It is not, however, a line anybody should try around Frankie Gavin, who has been working with Hatton's slimming guru Kerry Kayes, for a while.

Continue reading "Frankie's early exit hangs heavy"



Qingdao

I can fully appreciate the frustration for sailors competing with the unpredictable weather - although judging by the conditions in Beijing I'm more than happy to be here.

At least you can see the sun!

We were supposed to have official practice races on all four courses today, similar to that in football with pre-season matches, but the sea was as calm as a millpond and most of the sailors ended up ashore sitting around waiting for some wind to kick in.

There's only so much tinkering, fine tuning or positive thinking you can do. Otherwise it's back to the hotel for guitar sounds, table tennis and DVDs.

There's serious competition on the table tennis front.

Continue reading "Sailors twiddle their thumbs - and table tennis bats - as wind dies"



Today I was able to check out the cross country course located at Hong Kong's Beas River Golf Course just a few miles from the old border with China.

I've been really looking forward to it as the cross-country phase is my favourite part of a three-day event.

I love the atmosphere on the course, the huge, solid obstacles and the speed and bravery required of the riders.

Before I got to see the course I caught up with Team GB's eventers who had just walked it themselves.

Mary King told me it was ''difficult'' and when I said: ''It'll sort out the men from the boys then?'' She answered: ''Yes and let's hope we're the men!''

Continue reading "Cross-country course will sort the men from the boys"



There are stars at these Olympics, and then there are stars.

As a mere mortal, you tend to assume that the elite athletes here in Beijing inhabit a strange egalitarian society of super-humans, all unfazed by each others' sporting achievements, all likely to attract roughly the same amount of attention from the world's media.

Roger Federer's regal arrival on Olympic Green on Thursday rather blew that theory out of the water.

The only way they could have squeezed more journalists into his press conference would have been to stack people on top of each other like school chairs.

Continue reading "The Federer circus rolls into town - but not the village"



Mark Foster, GB flag-bearer at Beijing - a gold medal hope too?

Today is tinged with sadness for me as I bid farewell to the Olympic countdown that has been my life for the last three and-a-bit months (I have done bits of other stuff too, just in case the boss is reading and, yes, I have had a haircut).

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 1 day - Golden GB"



Hong Kong

Things have calmed down a bit here now - storm Kummuri is now apparently described as a category 3 and this buzzing city is alive again.

It's still raining cats and dogs though!

Everyone has coped very well with the disruption, but the weather has taken it's toll on the equine contingent.

For instance, 24 show-jumping horses are currently stranded in Amsterdam and Dubai including the American team, unable to make the final leg of their journey because of the poor landing conditions here.

Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa practices in the rain on Georgeous George

.

Continue reading "Team King confident as storms ease in Hong Kong"



Macau

I hopped down to the Macau Athletics stadium on Tuesday, eager to check on the progress of our track and fielders.

This branch of the British team have taken their fair share of flak over recent years; by and large medals have been hard to come by.

Performance Director Dave Collins is expecting five in Beijing, and hoping for more.

The chief Gold medal hope is triple jumper Philips Idowu, freshly crowned world indoor champion, world leader and in the form of his life.

It is a rest day for the new star of the team, but it's not long before another name on Collins wish list rocks up.

Continue reading "Running the rule over GB's athletes in Macau "


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