Latest entry

Storms caused havoc for a while at the Olympics today. Rain, wind, thunder and lightning swept through Beijing and Shunyi again - turning Olympic fans into pixies as they snapped up cheap plastic macs (price: five yuan = 40p) to protect them from the elements.

Apparently the parents of Aberdonian David Florence, who won a rare canoeing silver earlier in the week, were close to a lightning strike at the Great Wall and as a result were checked over by the British Olympic Association's medical team - but thankfully found to be uninjured.

Back in Olympic Green, it looked like a Smurf convention was in full swing as thousands of Chinese tried to make the best of it (macs come in blue, white, yellow and pink and quickly sold out).

Presenters John Inverdale and Sir Steve Redgrave managed to find a pair however, as they broadcast live from the rowing lake at Shunyi, which was worst-hit by the weather, causing chuckles from those who watched them on TV.

Continue reading "Storms bring out the Smurfs"

Recent entries


If they ever do get around to trimming tennis from the Olympics, I would like to suggest a thoroughly amateur activity to take its place: competitive spectating.

The game is simple: you watch as much live, in-the-flesh sport as possible within an allotted time.

Like cricket, there are shorter and longer versions of the game, but unlike cricket there is no time for lunch or tea. I believe the one-day format would work best at an Olympics.

It requires speed, planning and a change of shirt. I know this because I have tried it and I think I've set a new world record.

Continue reading "Around the Olympics in 800 minutes"

The British cycling team was out on the track this morning, the riders taking their last opportunity to tread the boards before the competition gets underway on Friday.

All seems well within the camp, Mark Cavendish has now flown in to join the team after his heroics in the Tour de France and everyone is upbeat after the success of Nicole Cooke on Sunday and Emma Pooley's silver medal in the time trial.

It was another memorable day up on the road course at Juyoungguan with Pooley in such fantastic form that it took an American called Armstrong to deny her the gold.

Continue reading "Mood sky-high in GB cycling camp ahead of track finals"


I think my wife might be a secret member of the Communist Party of China: like them, she just doesn't get why anybody would want to play a sport they'll never be any good at.

Sunday football makes about as much sense to her as Piers Morgan's career does to me and grass-roots sport does to the Chinese authorities.

It seems in this country, there's elite sport and there's getting sweaty for no sane reason - and not much in between.

Which might explain why China's population of 1.3bn will produce enough divers, gymnasts and weightlifters to win the Olympic medal table - but not enough footballers to beat Belgium, at home.


Continue reading "Why China needs more Dog & Ducks"

There's nothing like a hug to make you feel good.

Stevie Morrison turned me down in the mixed zone yesterday saying that he'd rather have a stiff drink after he and Ben Rhodes experienced more frustrations in the 49er - so the Mayor of Qingdao got one instead.

He made an impromptu visit to the team hotel last night.

Manager Stephen Park was on 5 Live with Simon Mayo at the time but once he had come off air he dragged me upstairs to the club suite on the eighth floor to meet him.

Continue reading "Fingers crossed for frustrated 49ers"

After the buzz of watching the British girls take gold and bronze in the 400m freestyle I came crashing down to earth with slightly more than a bump as the 4x200m freestyle relay team failed to qualify for the final despite being one of the favourites.

Rebecca Adlington and Caitlin McClatchey were rested to keep them fresh for the final and Jo Jackson, Mel Marshall, Hannah Miley and Fran Halsall could only stare at the scoreboard in disbelief as they missed the top eight by a tenth of a second.

National Performance Director Michael Scott came forward and took full responsibility for the decision which in itself was refreshing. I'm not sure his predecessor, Bill Sweetenham, would have done so.

In truth it's more likely that head women's coach Ben Titley picked the team and to his credit Ben was also prepared to be interviewed, but the British Swimming press officer felt Michael was more appropriate.

If I'm honest I would probably have made a similar decision to Ben.

Continue reading "British girls pay price for relay mistake - but I'd have made it too"

On a July night in 1992, 12-year-old Bradley Wiggins sat in front of a television with his cycling-mad father Gary and watched Chris Boardman storm to Olympic gold in the individual pursuit.

At that moment he decided, in his own words, "to do something with my life".

Sixteen years down the line, here in Beijing, Wiggins goes for his second Olympic gold in the same event - with Boardman alongside him as mentor and technical advisor.

Continue reading "How Wiggins will ride the perfect pursuit"

It was 6pm and feeding time for the pet cricket kept in a cage the size of a small box of chocolates.

The 60-year-old owner of the house in the old-fashioned Hutong area of Beijing put his hand into a bucket of what looked like maggots and handed one to the cricket through the cage.

In China, I'm told, crickets singing in the home are said to be a sign of good luck and potential wealth.

This one must have been highly regarded -- because it got away with biting the hand which fed it!

Continue reading "A proper slice of Chinese life"

Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Horses are all about highs and lows - and the Olympic Games just magnify that fact.

We had them in the eventing where Team GB started badly, and ended up on a high winning two bronze medals.

We've just had them in the dressage as Jane Gregory did what was in her words a "disappointing" test only for Emma Hindle to pull out all the stops and produce a superb test putting Britain second overnight (more on that later).

And we've already had a blow with the show jumpers as Michael Whitaker's horse Suncal Portofino has been withdrawn from the games due to lameness.

So all I'm hoping and praying is that we're owed another high, ideally in the shape of another medal!

Emma Hindle hugs her horse after a great test

Continue reading "Medal looks unlikely for British riders in dressage"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites