Latest entry

Fire. Moon. Speed. Sky. Gold. Respect.

Not my words, but those of a Brazilian friend who was in the Bird's Nest Stadium on the night Usain Bolt won the 100m in world record time.

The Jamaican burned down the track on a crisp, clean, dry night in Beijing with the moon, almost in full bloom, appearing in the sky as if itself wanting to witness the special moment.

Bolt's two record shattering performances in achieving the sprint double are two of my main highlights of these Beijing Games, two memories I undoubtedly share with hundreds of millions of others around the globe.

Continue reading "What have been your Beijing highlights?"

Recent entries

Don't knock synchronised swimming - imagine the strength, the poise, the precision and the amount of practice it takes to be the best of the best in aquatic gymnastics?

All while maintaining a rictus grin which would embarrass an angry hyena.

I did recently read that synchronised swimming doesn't now require its competitors to hold an incessant smile, but the performers still seem keen to show how much they're enjoying themselves while carrying out their routines.

Continue reading "What's the most impressive sport?"

Michael Phelps hasn't had a normal life since he was eleven years old.

He's spent most of his free time back home in Baltimore training and pounding the swimming lanes, all with the aim of becoming the best swimmer the world has ever known.

And now, after an unprecedented eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, he is certainly that.

But at what expense?

Continue reading "How do you spot a future Olympic star?"

Africa had to wait until day seven of competition to win its first gold medal of the 2008 Olympics.

The entire continent celebrated as Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the women's 10,000m in the Bird's Nest Stadium, and then, on day eight, there was more glory for Africa to enjoy as Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry took gold while setting a new world record in the women's 200m backstroke.

Continue reading "Africa united!"

There are heroes and then there are heroes, but Natalie du Toit is a superhero.

She's not an Olympic champion - yet - but her story is the best kind, one of triumph over adversity, one of beating the odds, and one of pursuing your dreams at all costs.

For me, what makes sport so special is its humanity, and South Africa's Natalie Du Toit has plenty of that. As many of you will already know, Natalie is one of a select group of athletes to qualify for both the Paralympics, and the Olympic Games.

Competing internationally since the age of 14, in February 2001, when she was 17, her left leg was amputated at the knee after she was involved in a scooter accident on her way back to school after swimming practice.

Continue reading "Send us your questions for Natalie du Toit"

Every four years, during the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, the President of the International Olympic Committee calls on the "youth of the world" to gather in the next Olympic city.

Presumably, it's a call addressed specifically to the athletes, because there isn't anything particularly youthful about the audience.

The average age of TV viewers for the Athens Games was 46! So the challenge for the IOC is to keep the Games relevant to a younger audience.

Continue reading "Capturing the youth market"

Michael Johnson once made me cry.

It was 1 August 1996 when he crossed the Olympic finishing line having set a new world record for the 200 metres in Atlanta.

It was either whoop with delight or cry in astonishment, and I'm not ashamed to admit his earth shattering achievement, setting a record which still stands today, elicited a salty eyed response.

I couldn't believe what I'd just seen and I felt privileged to have witnessed it. Those golden shoes, that upright stance, those short steps and his squatting by the trackside clock are all images that will live with me forever.

My Games is now giving you a unique opportunity to talk with Johnson.

Continue reading "Your chance to talk to Michael Johnson"

I once read that pigeons don't know when their stomachs are full and will therefore continue eating until they're sick.

During his time in office, the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone launched an attack on what he believed was a scourge of pigeons in his city, saying they were nothing more than "rats with wings".

Presumably Livingstone, a man who played a large part in bringing the next Olympics to the capital city wouldn't mind if live pigeon shooting was reintroduced for London 2012.

My Games would like to hear your thoughts on the current list of sports which make up the Games, but we also want to know what you think would add value to the competition?

Continue reading "Which sports would you add to the Games?"

Picking a symbol for the Olympic Spirit is the easy part. Defining the concept is also straightforward, but judging its relative standing in modern society isn't.

The symbolic emblems of the Spirit are the Olympic torch and the Olympic flame. Lit every four years in ancient Olympia in Greece, for these Beijing Games, the flame has been on an unprecedented intercontinental journey.

China's desire is for people everywhere to feel, live and understand its slogan "One World, One Dream". So the torch has been to places it never had before, highlighting the inclusiveness of the Olympic Games.

If you doubt that inclusiveness, consider that there are more competing teams in Beijing than there are members of the United Nations.

Continue reading "What is the essence of the Olympic Spirit?"

Olympic Green is closed. There are no stalls, no music, no entertainers, no colour, no food sellers - no fun! So close to the opening ceremony, surely crowds should be congregating and people should be gathering to enjoy a festive build-up to the 29th Olympiad. Perimeter fencing surrounds the Olympic park, where many of these spectacular new venues for the Beijing Games are located. This is where the "Water Cube" is, where the "Bird's Nest" stadium is. This is the focal point of the Games.

Continue reading "MORE FUN PLEASE!"

I was born in an Olympic year, but sadly that's the closest I've ever been to being an Olympian. Despite my passion for the Games, this is the first time I'll be in a host city while they are taking place - Beijing 2008 looks like being a pretty good place start.

I am going to the Chinese capital to present "My Games" on BBC World News and am hugely looking forward to capturing and sharing the excitement with you, transferring to your screen some of the the colour and the passion, following the issues and bringing you the stories from Beijing.

From the stories that happen in the sporting theatre to those that are taking place around the city and the rest of the host nation, but also to hear from you. Most importantly the programme is about first hand accounts of how the Games are being viewed, experienced and regarded across the globe.

That means we need you to participate, tell us what's on your mind, what you're discussing, and with whom. "My Games" is actually YOUR Games, we're going to be in Beijing to get your opinions and your analysis of what this event means to you, your friends, family and nation. Tell us how you're living the Games.

(To take part, email the programme:

Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 were my formative Olympics. I still have a picture in my mind of Alan Wells crossing the 100 metres finishing line in 1980. Every four years along comes another achievement to imprint itself on my memory, ones no doubt one shared by millions of others.

For me, in no particular order, but eternally part of the images in my head are Matt Biondi, Florence Griffith Joyner, Maurizio Damilano, Hassiba Boulmerka, Felix Savon and Michael Gross. Some of those names may not resonate with you, but ask others, and they will, especially when you go to Algeria, or Cuba, for example.

There the names Boulmerka and Savon are lionised, and while I'm neither Algerian nor Cuban, I too recognise their achievements as heroic.

And that's just one of the reasons I am a fan of the Olympics, it is the most international sporting gathering of them all. It's surely exactly the vision the creator of the modern day Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin must have had. Bringing people from diverse cultures together through sport.

And if it's not too cheesy, that's what we're aiming to do with "My Games". I'm going to be giving you MY take on anything that catches my eye, and that's going to be about plenty more than just the sport, but it's also a place for YOU to do the same. Having a website and 4 weekley broadcasts on BBC World News is our chance to give you a platform to look at the Games from every possible angle.

Every picture, every e-mail, every comment and every contribution will be gratefully received, processed, and hopefully make a valuable contribution to our global debate. We really will be NOTHING without your involvement over the course of the Games.

We promise to have fun and hope to make you smile (sometimes), because that's exactly what sport should be about, celebrating achievement and participation, being elevated by supreme performances which take our collective breath away, and in the end leaving us with a smile of satisfaction that we have witnessed something special.

If you want to be involved with us in enjoying the biggest sporting, social, political and cultural extravaganza of the 21st Century so far, then we want to hear from you.

Throughout the Games, you'll be able to join in on the blog, and also with me live on BBC World News. If you have a webcam then you can even show your enthusiasm to the world. Our website will show you that there's more than one way to interact with us as we trawl through the wonderful and increasingly wierd world of the Olympic Games. For more details, email the programme:

Hope to hear from you soon,

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