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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"

Recent entries

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"

There was plenty to reflect on and admire from the British Olympic Trials in Sheffield and the performances at the World Short Course Championships in Manchester.

British records, Commonwealth records, a few European ones sprinkled in for good measure, and the World Long Course record of Liam Tancock (pictured below) in the 50 metres backstroke.

Don't, however, get the impression that Britain has become a swimming superpower. There is still a long way to go before we can be bracketed alongside the USA and the Australians. Inexorable progress is being made on that front and, bit by bit, we are closing in on the top nations in Europe, which is a big step in itself.

Continue reading "Beijing the acid test for GB swimmers "

The days are ticking down fast to the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and excitement is building, not only for the athletes, but also for those of us who are involved in the BBC coverage.

The Great Britain team for the Games, which begin on 6 September, is already starting to take shape, and more sports will announce their squad selections over the coming weeks.

GB expect to send a team of around 350 athletes and staff to Beijing - that's more than the 283 who were in Athens four years ago - mainly because the five-a-side and seven-a-side football teams have both qualified this time around.

Continue reading "Paralympic countdown begins in Manchester"

Twenty years ago, British hockey enjoyed its finest hour. On a sweltering afternoon in Seoul, a 3-1 win over West Germany prompted wild celebrations.

The amateurs assembled under Richard Dodds' captaincy were deservedly crowned Olympic champions, but rather than heralding a period of dominance and trophies, the game in this country stagnated. Two decades on, do Jason Lee and Danny Kerry's sides have what it takes to win gold for Britain in Beijing?

The easy answer is probably no, given current form and world rankings. Both the GB men and women seem short of genuine world-class players, but there is nothing like an Olympic Games to galvanise a group. It's their Everest, and for some, it's the only chance they will have to showcase their talents on the global stage.

Continue reading "Tough tests ahead for GB hockey teams"

If I was given a fiver whenever someone said the name Robin Hood after learning of my association with archery, then I would have long since become a multi-millionaire.

It's such a cliché - but that's not to say that the archery fraternity under-estimate the power of the aforementioned outlaw. When the BBC series was launched 18 months ago, there was a dramatic burst in interest in archery - just as there was as each of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was launched. Nice one Legolas!

But what people really react to is success. And over the past few years, British international archers have done us all proud. The initial trigger to this was Alison Williamson (pictured) winning the bronze medal in the women's individual tournament at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

Continue reading "From Hollywood to Lilleshall - GB archery's success story"

A question for you: When the Olympics comes around are you one of those people who a) quite enjoys watching the various sports, but only if there is someone from your country taking part and with a chance of winning a medal? or b) will watch and enjoy anything which provides sporting excellence, intrigue and great drama.

If your answer is "a" then you may well have little interest in the weightlifting competition in Beijing. If, however, you are more open-minded about your sports-watching then the weightlifting is something to savour.

Continue reading "The power of weightlifting"

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.

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Continue reading "About the Olympics blog"

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