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29 October 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Jake Humphrey

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC TV team Olympic impressions

Jake Humphrey


Norwich-born Jake is best known for his range of work with CBBC, which has included everything from the live Saturday morning extravaganza The Saturday Show to Fame Academy. He also fronts the weekly Newsround spin-off, Sportsround, for which he has hosted live daily shows from the World Cup in Germany and presented at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.


For BBC Sport Jake has presented Football Focus, Match Of The Day and Final Score, covered the Women's World Cup from Shanghai and, most recently presented from Euro 2008. Beijing will be Jake's Olympics debut.


"For me the Olympics is quite simply the greatest sporting event in the world. It represents athletes pushing the boundaries of physical endurance, making huge sacrifices to devote their lives to one thing – becoming an Olympian.


"I am sure for many sportspeople across the globe, reaching the pinnacle of Olympic gold rates as the finest sporting achievement, making winning one even more special.


"I have many memories of the Olympics as I was growing up. The rowing and the relay finals were always 'must watch' television in the Humphrey household, the 4x100m relay had all five of us on our knees yelling at the television.


"I was fascinated by the games as a youngster, with Tony Jarrett's beaming smile never missing, despite him seeming like a serial finisher behind Colin Jackson. Kris Akabusi's double-bronze celebrations in 1992 are still very vivid in my mind.


"However, my defining Olympic memory is of Linford Christie, arms outstretched, winning gold in the 1992 Barcelona games… I'm actually having a holiday in Barcelona this year and I'm sure I'll think about that moment a lot as I wander through Las Ramblas.


"China is a fascinating place and I'm really excited about returning there. I travelled around the country for the Women's World Cup in 2007 and had an amazing time.


"It's a culture shock comparable only to a visit to one of India's big cities, I think. Everywhere is vast with motorway fly-overs criss-crossing the big cities.


"Despite my extensive travels across China, one place I didn't manage to visit was Beijing, so I'm delighted to get a chance to stay there.


"Not that I expect to have much time for sightseeing with all the events we will be covering – but rest assured that given a spare afternoon or two I will attempt to enjoy the delights Beijing has to offer… but I will choose my food carefully; on my last China trip I ended up eating a Sechzuan dish that was the hottest meal I'd ever eaten… not that the heat shocked me as much as finding out I had been nibbling on a mix of donkey and frog!


"The Games being held in Beijing is amazing for China and is a great indicator of the country's development over just the past 15 years. It has, of course, also highlighted the frustrations the rest of the world has with the Chinese regime, which may help the country move forward again in the coming years.


"One negative significance is the pollution which I can tell you from first-hand experience is very invasive. I imagine the long-distance athletes will feel it the most, and it may lead to some super-cool, streamlined pollution masks making an appearance on the track!


"I will be keeping my eyes very firmly fixed on the development of young Tom Daley, an athlete of great poise, maturity and single-minded determination.


"I've met Tom a number of times recently and it seems his talent is only matched by his relaxed modesty – something that will keep him in good stead over the coming years. It's been claimed Tom's not aiming for a medal in August… I wouldn't be so sure!


"I am very excited by the chances of medals for the Team GB cyclists and swimmers who seem on cracking form. And China have been tipped to end the US's reign as the medal table-toppers; if they do that in front of the home support it will be some party.


"I am also anticipating a spine-tingling moment if I manage to get into the Olympic Stadium one evening, under the floodlights, for one of the relay finals.


"For Britain, can Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson go one better and bag a gold? Not easy but not impossible. Tim Brabants, a star on the flatwater in his canoe bagged bronze in the Men's K1 1000m in Athens, I've high hopes for him.


"On the track I believe that Christine Ohuruogu is our best hope of a gold medal, and across the board I have really high hopes for our sailors… in fact, I'm a general romantic and optimist so will expect medals galore this year!


"Looking ahead to 2012, I live in London, I'm really proud of the city I call home and I think we will host the greatest games ever.


"I really hope everyone gets behind the staging of the Games, which is simply one of the greatest sports events imaginable. I am hoping to be involved in the presentation of London 2012 and to be covering my second games, in my home city would be indescribable … so I won't even try!


"For London it will obviously mean huge investment in the infastructure of the city, and while I realise it will cost, and cost Londoners, I genuinely believe we will live in a better city for it.


"Quite simply with the eyes of the world upon those responsible for the games they can't afford to get it wrong. Therefore, from trains to tubes, to clean, safe streets, London must improve.


"Also the free events and the flood of awesome athletes should inspire a whole generation of British Olympians.


"In the short term the encouragement and support for Team GB in 2012 may inspire them to greatness, and to see the games on their doorstep should inspire home-grown athletes for years to come."








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