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At the end of August, as the Olympic extravaganza in Beijing drew to a close, Lord Coe reiterated his desire that London's Games in four years' time would inspire "fewer couch potatoes and more participants".

The 2012 chief said: "The real challenge for our governing bodies, and for sport more broadly, is how many people can you get into the sport off the back of that great moment?"

As long as the rowers and sailors keep producing these great moments, Chris Hoy's mighty pins and his Mr Spock impressions lead to more velodrome glory and Becky Adlington remembers to take off her Jimmy Choos before jumping in the pool, then Coe's dreams could and should be reality.

Continue reading "Beijing feats inspire Britain into action"

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The box office big-hitters at the Olympics or Paralympics will always be the athletes, swimmers, rowers and cyclists.

Over the last few days, ParalympicsGB hasn't let us down. David Weir finally grabbed a slice of gold pie in the Bird's Nest, 13-year-old swimmer Eleanor Simmonds got us all blubbering after putting her school books down to win two golds, and there was blind cyclist Aileen McGlynn's glorious win in the velodrome. And before I get a whacking from a rowing blade, there was Helene Raynsford's historic win.

But listen up, there's a Paralympic sport that may not be on many of your radars, but has certainly been rocking my world. It's got violence, bags of skill and more bangs than a Guy Ritchie re-make of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Just a play on the word 'bang', in case you were thinking Dick Van Dyke had played the sport).

Continue reading "A love affair with murderball "

Look up "dream" in a dictionary and phrases pop up like "cherished ideal" or "distant ambition, especially an unattainable one". Even the word "fantasy" will be there.

After being involved with the BBC's Olympic Dreams team, producing content for the Sport website for the last eight months, I wonder what the athletes being filmed would make of these words.

The programme is following some of Britain's stars as they aim for glory at the 2012 Olympics, or Beijing for some, with the new series transmitting every Tuesday night at 2235 BST over the next few weeks.

Continue reading "Living an Olympic Dream"


I can officially say I'm feeling a little drained. Or should that be "Dwained"?

Is he going to Beijing? Should he be going? When will they say if he's going? Who else is going? Are those going happy that he could be going? Is anybody going? Where's this sentence going?

At the start of Saturday, Dwain Chambers was actually going nowhere. He was stuck outside the car park without a pass. A cheeky little ruse by Dave Collins and co? No matter, he got in and it was another fascinating day in Birmingham. Even the sun came out to play.

Continue reading "Dose of long jump joy relieves Chambers headache "

He wasn't even sweating. Not even a pant. Dwain Chambers breezed through as the fastest man in the 100m heats of the Olympic qualifiers and he looked happy. "I'm just going to let my feet do the talking," he said, referring to Wednesday's court case.

How I could have done with his legs earlier after an agonising crawl up the M1. Thank you Clive Anderson by the way, for keeping my pecker up with your radio chat between junctions 10 and 12.

Continue reading "High emotions in heat of battle for Beijing"

Your chance to speak to Lord Sebastian Coe

In just a few weeks London Mayor Boris Johnson will be handed the Olympic flag to signal the start of the Olympiad in Britain. But is the country ready and willing to embrace the Games in 2012?

What does the London Olympics mean to you? Are you excited or do you feel detached? As costs spiral, is your region losing out? Is it a Games for London or for the whole of Britain?

Continue reading "What does London 2012 mean to you?"

With Beijing getting closer I've slipped on my Olympic-ringed spectacles to patrol the web for highlights.

How did anybody hear anything about an Olympics or its build-up before Mr Web popped up on our office desks with his new toy the internet? The occasional newspaper feature, books, pigeons carrying the latest qualifying results must have been the only way.

Trawling through the online archives, it seems 1996 was a bit of a watershed for internet coverage of the Games. We'll forgive them for the shoddy graphics, but the likes of the Washington Post , and USA Today were on the ball for Atlanta. Sssshhhhh, whisper this quietly, but the BBC's news website didn't even start breathing until a year after that. Auntie had to wait until Sydney for her first Olympic effort.

Continue reading "Who's top of the blogging podium?"

Dolph Lundgren. Dolph bloomin Lundgren.

Take a breath and just allow the consequences of that name to sink in. The enormity of it, what it means: the hair, the body, the images it conjures up.

Ready? Ivan Drago, the finest flat top to have graced this planet. Need I go on? Here's an academic-turned-actor who, during the making of Rocky IV in 1985, took a pop at Sylvester Stallone and put him in hospital for four days. Fact.

He's been He-Man, he also took a swipe at James Bond in View to a Kill, speaks five languages, got a Masters degree in chemical engineering (Masters of the Universe perhaps?) and he's pretty useful in judo and karate.

Imagine reading that CV when the giant Swede applied to be leader of the American modern pentathlon team ahead of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Continue reading "Dolph gets punchy for pentathlon"

Wednesday 26 May 1999 showed me just how streaky good fortune and dogged perseverance can achieve beautiful rewards.

There was the outstretched boot of the "Baby-faced Assassin" in the dying seconds of the Champions League final causing me to lose the plot (and my chicken madras) in my mate's living room, while, just a few hours before, my sweaty palms and a borrowed tie had steered me safely through a tricky interview, helping me realise a long-term dream of being a sport journalist for the BBC.

Nine years later, I'm still here, having interviewed and filmed some of the finest sporting stars around - not to mention the one-on-one game of footie I had in the BBC corridors with baby Becks Brooklyn as his mum and dad got changed for their Comic Relief Ali G grilling in 2001.

The cameras may now be smaller, and the technology more baffling, but my passions for sport burn as strong as ever.

Olympics. This one word has been found burrowing into my head with increasing regularity over the past couple of years, thanks to the Sport Academy website refocusing itself towards all things Olympic. And since London got le nod over Paris, the so-called minority sports are now finally getting their day in the sun. Long may it continue. It's ping pong and squealing taekwondo fighters that are putting the smile on my face these days.

As the Olympic juggernaut trundles along towards Beijing, and eventually London, I have been lucky enough to work with some of Britain's finest young stars being followed by the Olympic Dreams TV team.

Watching the likes of heptathlete Jess Ennis and the GB rowers in training makes you appreciate the dedication and sacrifice needed to get to an Olympics, let alone get on the podium. I am providing regular updates on the web in the build-up to the transmission of the second series just before Beijing.

The medals get the headlines, but helping to tell the story of the tears, the sweat and joy on many of the athletes' Olympic journeys is a privilege and just a beautiful thing.

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