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29 October 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Sue Barker

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC TV team Olympic impressions

Sue Barker


Former World number three tennis player, French Open champion and Wimbledon semi-finalist, Sue made her BBC Sport television debut co-presenting the evening highlights programme from Wimbledon 93 with Harry Carpenter.


Since then she has gained a wealth of experience presenting world-class competitions, including coverage of other major tennis tournaments, Summer and Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, the Grand National, the Derby and World and European Skating Championships.


Her credits also include hosting Sports Personality Of The Year and A Question Of Sport.


Among her many accolades are the 1998 TRIC award for Sports Presenter/Reporter of the Year and the 2001 Royal Television Society sports presenter award.


"Winning a gold medal means you have reached the pinnacle of your sport. For me in tennis the ultimate goal was to win a grand slam championship and we had four chances every year, so I cannot imagine the pressure competitors are under when their chance only comes around every four years. An Olympic gold and a World Cup winner's medal must be the greatest prizes in sport.


"My Olympic memories? Wow, I have so many favourites, but I'll start with Mary Peters winning in 1972; she was my heroine because I admired not only how competitive she was, but also because she won with such style and grace.


"Other favourites are the domination of Mark Spitz, the home wins of Michael Johnson and Cathy Freeman – the flashbulbs going off throughout the race lit up the stadium; also the duels between Coe and Ovett, and of course Steve Redgrave's five magnificent victories.


"I have been to so many countries throughout my tennis career but China isn't one of them so this will be a new experience for me. It was a surprise to me that Beijing was nominated, but I hope that we leave China with fond memories of the Games and hope for the future.


"I will be in the stadium for track and field and I am looking forward to witnessing the great rivalries there, especially watching Liu Xiang going for gold in the 110m hurdles. Elsewhere the table tennis and badminton could be an entertaining watch too.


"The opening and closing ceremonies I'm sure will be spectacular as well.


"As for any predictions for British medals, I wouldn't dream of adding any more pressure on the team, but I will be following closely Paula Radcliffe, the cycling, the sailing and the rowing teams. Good luck to them all.


"With regard to London 2012, I worked on one of the videos for the bid and was thrilled to be a part of what promises so much to young people, not only around London, but the whole of the country. I will be working on the Games and that will be the highlight of my television career, I can't wait.


"As for Team GB in 2012... what an experience but also what an opportunity, I will envy every one of them."








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