The 2008 Beijing Olympics
on the BBC
BBC TV team Olympic impressions
Rishi is a presenter and reporter for BBC
Sport working primarily on cricket and horse
He grew up in Trinidad, just a 10-minute walk from the Queen's Park Oval in
Port-of-Spain. Rishi played a lot of cricket at
school, both in Trinidad and in the UK,
where he came to live aged 12 in 1986.
Prior to joining the BBC, Rishi was at
Channel Four, where he was part of their
Royal Television Society award-winning team
at the Cheltenham Festival.
He joined the
BBC in April 2003, and has worked on the
London Marathon, Wimbledon, the Open
Golf Championship and coverage of bowls. He
also worked on the Athens Olympics, where
he presented Olympic Grandstand alongside
Sue Barker and Clare Balding.
"I come from Trinidad in the West Indies, a
tiny little island, and I remember once
watching the Olympics as a little kid and
asking my parents why doesn't Trinidad have
the Olympics? And they said to me that we
were never big enough to host it.
"And so I
have always thought of the Olympics, ever
since I was a little kid, as something that was
way beyond a tiny little place like Trinidad and
as I grew up it was the Holy Grail really for
"I got the chance to go to
Athens four years ago and I was in awe of the
whole event, the entire Olympic experience.
"My favourite Olympic memories are of Kelly
Holmes winning her second gold medal in
Athens – that was pretty special, and there's
very little to cap Steve Redgrave's fifth medal
in Sydney. Those are two that stand out for
me, particularly Kelly, the look on her face as
she won those medals… fantastic!
"For me it's great that the Olympics is in
Beijing because my mum is a quarter
Chinese; her mum is half Chinese, which
obviously makes me just a strand Chinese!
We actually have family in Canton who I've
"I've experienced quite a lot of the
world through my work; last year I was in
Australia, I went to the Caribbean last year
for the Cricket World Cup, I've been to
Hong Kong – but I've never been to Beijing
and it will be a whole new experience for
me, and to combine that with the Olympic
experience will be pretty special.
"I'm excited by going to a new place, and also
somewhere that I'm totally unfamiliar with the
culture, the people, the way of life out there
and how they do things.
"I've watched all the
preview programmes and I know they're
saying they're prepared for the Olympics – I'm
not sure how prepared I am for what we're
about to encounter!
"But for Beijing and for
China – for any country that gets a chance to
host an Olympics – there's no opportunity like
it because you're hosting the world, basically,
in your back yard and you have to be on your
"But it's a real chance for you to
showcase all the things you can be proud of,
and especially the Chinese culture. Over here,
the only Chinese culture I have is my takeaway
so I'd love the chance to see what they can put
on that I can experience and enjoy.
"With regard to the actual sport, I'm
particularly looking forward to the track and
field. I love the buzz of the evening track
meetings. Last time in Athens I saw the 100m
final which was such a terrific atmosphere –
the tension, the build-up to it was simply
sensational and I'm hoping to be able to
experience that again.
"I'm also looking
forward to the cycling, particularly because I
think we might do okay in that, looking at the
results in the World Championships; and just
being able to visit the venues – I didn't get a
chance to see much of Athens but I saw a lot
of the venues and they are what I remember
of the country. They were pretty special, and I
have a feeling that the venues for these events
are going to be special as well.
"As for the British chances, I think we've put
quite a lot of pressure on young Tom Daley's
shoulders but he seems so level-headed. I saw
his feature with Gabby Logan on Inside Sport
and he came across as very focused, very
determined, very mature and I personally
think that, although clearly I don't know much
about diving, he's got the ability and he's also
got the right attitude and I really hope that he
can do something special.
excited about Victoria Pendleton in the
cycling; I like athletes who step out of their
comfort zone and transcend their sport and
with Victoria, because she's such a pin-up girl
she's one of the more instantly recognisable
cyclists, so it will be great if she has a great
Games so that it can give a further boost to
cycling in this country.
"Looking ahead to London 2012, four years is
a long time to think about because I'm so
excited about Beijing. But in sport there is
nothing bigger than the Olympics.
to some of the great events in sport – World
Cups in individual sports and the Wimbledons
and the Oaklands – but the Olympics is even
"Just the thought of what London will
be like when hundreds of thousands of
people from around the world descend upon
it – not just to see how pretty London is but
descending upon it for an event – is an
"All those people coming
here, ready to enjoy themselves; hopefully it
will be a huge carnival atmosphere and it will
be a great success and the infrastructure will
all be right so that people can just get on with
enjoying the Olympics.
"I personally think,
coming from where I come from in the West
Indies, this little tiny island, to be part of the
greatest event in the world now in the place
that I call home, London, it's just the most
incredible prospect and I just hope I'm still
around to enjoy it with the BBC.
"And to be
able to say I was part of London 2012, for a
person who calls London home, is a special opportunity."