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Workers' Gymnasium, Beijing

Let's hear no more talk of Great Britain only winning medals sitting down/astride something or in the water or going backwards (or all three at once).

We've finally won one on our feet, on dry land and going forward. Take a bow, David Price.

The 6ft 8in super-heavyweight will return home to Liverpool with no worse than a bronze but, given his serene progress thus far, will be disappointed if he can't upgrade that.

Price became the first member of Team GB's boxing squad to book some bling when he forced Jaroslav Jaksto to retire after the first round of their quarter-final on Monday.

Heavyweight David Price shows his muscle

Continue reading "Super-heavyweight Price is (up)right for boxing glory"

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Viticulture is the centuries-old science of knowing everything there is to know about grapes.

Protecting them from pests, monitoring their growth and working out when best to harvest them for making fun stuff like wine, these are all key duties for your average viticulturist.

They would also know exactly when grapes go sour.

I wonder then what they would make of two very different responses to British defeats in martial arts events at the Olympics on Tuesday.

Continue reading "When is a grouse fair game?"

Beijing Workers' Gymnasium

For those of us wondering what effect the last 48 hours have had on the British Olympic boxing team, James "Chunky" DeGale gave a forthright response: never mind Frankie Gavin, it's now about the seven of us still here.

Not that DeGale was dismissing Gavin's plight or passing any kind of judgement on the events surrounding his controversial return home.

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No, the ebullient Londoner, still swaggering after his impressive first-round victory over Mohamed Hikal, was quite justifiably stating the bleeding obvious. "We're all gutted for Frankie," said DeGale when asked about his team-mate's surprise failure to make the weight in the 60kg division. "But this is the greatest show on earth, it's time to focus on the rest of us."

Continue reading "Forget Frankie, it's Chunky time"

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"

Make sure Saturday the 9th of August is marked in your diary. That's when the boxing gets underway in Beijing and Britain's finest will be ready to take on the world.

When Audley Harrison won Olympic gold in Sydney, he was one of only two homegrown fighters to make the trip. Amir Khan ploughed a lone furrow in Athens. Now, as I prepare to meet the eight boxers who will fly the Olympic flag this time around, I am intrigued to see if they really are as good as everyone suggests.

They're certainly in good company in the Fight Art Club on the north side of Macau. Pictures of Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee adorn the walls of the gymnasium, and it quickly becomes clear that these guys are not here for the ride.

Continue reading "GB boxers preparing to rule the world"

Last month, we produced a shortlist of 10 British athletes and asked you for your thoughts - both on the ones we named, and any other athletes occupying your thoughts ahead of the Beijing Games.

We had a great response, which certainly affected at least one decision on who made it into our final 10 to watch. And now we're publishing full profiles of each of those 10 athletes.

Continue reading "Our final 10 to watch"

Seven of Team GB's boxers with coach Terry Edwards

There was a moment last Saturday - I think it was when England's cricketers started to make a routine run chase look like the Marathon Des Sables - when I felt myself slipping into tabloid mode.

We'd been thrashed by New Zealand at rugby in the morning, were in the process of losing to the same country (population 4.3m) at cricket in the afternoon and didn't even qualify for the football tournament that I would be watching later that evening.

Our three most popular team sports - sports we gave to the world - and we are rubbish at them, I ranted to nobody in particular. And it is Wimbledon next week, I banged on, that's always a depressingly accurate barometer of our sporting prowess.

We talk a good game, we stage a good game, but we certainly can't play a good game. With that I went to bed, convinced we should just stick to things we're good at, like nettle-eating, shin-kicking or queuing.

Continue reading "Why boxing can banish British blues"

Welcome to our Olympics and Paralympics blog, which we are launching as the countdown to the 2008 Games begins in earnest.

Wednesday marks exactly 100 days to go to the 8 August opening ceremony (though oddly enough the football tournament starts two days earlier).

Writers from across BBC Sport, Radio 5Live, BBC London and BBC News will bring you the inside track on all 28 Olympic sports, as well as the Games themselves - which are set to be truly fascinating, if controversial, given China's hosting of them.

One of the uncertainties at the moment from a British perspective is whether the Games will turn out to be a triumph - or a failure. My view is...

Continue reading "Welcome to our new Olympics blog"

Ben Dirs squares upto Frankie Gavin
"Stepping into a boxing ring with Britain's only ever amateur world champion while his mates, and fellow Olympians, heckle you from ringside"

That's not the Oxford English Dictionary definition of 'intimidation', but I can now tell you with confidence that it ruddy well should be.

Continue reading "Going toe-to-toe with a world champion"

Keep reading this blog for all the latest about the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing and also for the inside track on the long build-up to London 2012.

News and reports will be on the BBC Sport website but our experts will bring you behind the scenes access to the world's biggest sporting event right here.

All of our bloggers are keen to hear your views and we want people to engage and comment on what we have to say.

To find out more about all our contributors, check our about their author pages.

Comments on this blog will be moderated 24 hours per day seven days per week.

Please keep your comments clean.

Comments which fail our house rules (listed below) will be removed.

Continue reading "About the Olympics blog"

I'm in Beijing for my fourth Olympic Games, commentating on cycling and boxing for BBC Radio 5 Live.

Some of you may know me primarily as a football commentator on TV's Match of the Day and on radio, but having covered the Tour de France 14 times and numerous world title fights over the past 15 years - as well as Olympic Games in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens - I feel at home in the velodrome and boxing hall.

Chris Boardman - Olympic champ in 1992 - is alongside me for all the cycling events in China.

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