BBC BLOGS - Steve Parry

Hanging out with Mr Nice Guy

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Steve Parry | 07:48 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

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It's not every day you get to hang out with a true legend of sport, but that's what I went down to the Manchester Velodrome to do recently.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist, 10-time world champion, Commonwealth champion and a winner of 30 World Cup series events, Sir Chris Hoy very kindly spent an hour with us at the track.

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Secrets behind Britain's Olympic success

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Steve Parry | 15:34 UK time, Thursday, 25 March 2010

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Why did Great Britain win so many medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing two years ago?

Nineteen gold medals, from a country with 60 million people, makes Britain pound for pound the greatest sporting nation in the world.

There is no doubt that when lottery funding came on board, in the late 1990s, it heralded a new era in British sport - one where athletes could focus on being elite without having to work to support their training.

The country took another giant leap forward in 2002 with the formation of the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

The EIS aims to provide high-quality sports science and medical support throughout the United Kingdom. There are now 17 sites, delivering services to more than 1,700 elite athletes.

With the Olympics in London on the horizon, I thought it was time I went to see what happens behind closed doors.

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Michael Phelps and me

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Steve Parry | 16:59 UK time, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

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How many of us know what sort of person we would become if we were in the position of Michael Phelps - or Tiger Woods for that matter - with people screaming your name everywhere you go?

Would you stay grounded? Would you even be able to stay focused on your job? Most of us can only imagine what it would be like to be that well known and have our every move examined by the media and the public.

Phelps and I had our first chat in 2000. I was in Seattle for the US nationals to take on the American Tom Malchow, the number one in the world on my event the 200 butterfly.

It was here after winning the race I met a baby-faced Phelps. He was in the warm-down pool and asked me what time I'd done. I thought he had just watched the race but it turned out the 14-year-old with the spotty face and a mouth full of braces had just come within a second of me and Malchow - both aged 23 and in our prime!

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