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29 October 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Colin Jackson

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC TV team Olympic impressions

Colin Jackson


Without a doubt one of the greatest athletes that Great Britain has ever produced, Colin Jackson called time on his outstanding athletics career at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2003 after more than a decade spent at the very pinnacle of his sport.


110m hurdler Colin ranked in the world top 10 for 16 years, was World No. 1 from 1992 to1994 and, for the last seven years of his career, was never out of the world's top three. Colin held the world record over 110mh outdoors (12.91, world title, Stuttgart 1993) until July 2006. He still holds the record over 60mh indoors (7.30, Sindelfingen 1994) and, after setting a European junior record of 13.44 in 1986, went on to set seven European, eight Commonwealth and nine UK records at 110mh.


On retirement, Colin joined the BBC's sports presentation team and he continues to cover all of our athletics output as an analyst and presenter.


Covering the 2004 Athens Olympics was a highlight early in his broadcasting career and 2006 saw him covering the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and European Championships. In 2006 he also took on a key role as development producer for BBC Sport Relief.


Outside sport, Colin kick-started his broadcasting career by co-hosting the BBC sporting talent reality TV project Born To Win and has also taken part in programmes such as Celebrity Bargain Hunt, The Weakest Link, Departure Lounge, Strictly Come Dancing and Who Do You Think You Are?


"To me, the Olympics is the biggest sporting festival in the whole wide world – and I think the emphasis is on festival.


"My earliest Olympic memories are from Montreal in 1976. I remember there was a lot of anticipation in the Jackson household because there was a head-to-head match with the Caribbean – Hasely Crawford taking on Don Quarrie - and because my household was full of Jamaicans they wanted Don Quarrie to win.


"They were absolutely devastated when he lost and that was the first time I remember thinking, okay this thing is pretty serious!


"For me the Seoul Olympics was very exciting because it was my first Olympic Games, and that was a really great experience, to go to a brand new culture, and to enjoy the Olympic feeling and movement in a brand new culture, was very special – and then to win a silver medal on top at the age of 21 you think, yeah! Anything can happen!


"I'm looking forward to Beijing in a way just to see how the Chinese do the Olympic Games; after going through many Olympic Games in the Western world it's interesting to see how they are going to approach things because they are a completely different and unique culture.


"I'm not expecting it to be a bad Olympic Games in any way, but it will be very different, I feel.


"I've been to China once, briefly, and it was fine – but I might have had a false impression of the country because I went with the Prime Minister!


"As for the significance of the Games being held in China, well, it was an interesting selection from the IOC. I think they wanted to use the fact that the Olympic Games is something the whole world should embrace; I think that's really the reason why initially they gave it to China, because they were coming out and they felt this was a good opportunity for them to do something for the world.


"I don't think that many of the athletes themselves really care too much where the Olympic Games is – they just want to compete.


"I'm really looking forward to seeing Phillips Idowu in the triple jump. I think he's a completely different athlete now and he's more than capable of taking the gold medal – I would really love him to do that. He's one of those people who's been forgotten on many occasions but the time's right now.


"Other than that my main event has to be the 100m on the men's side – it's very interesting to see what's happening now with young Usain Bolt, who's favoured the 200m up till now but he's currently the fastest in the world at 100m too. I read a quote recently he hasn't even started training for the 200m yet so it will be fascinating to see what he can produce!


"And as for my old event [the 110m hurdles] it's going to be the No. 1 event of them all with Liu Xiang the big Chinese hope. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out because it's not going to be one-way traffic for him so it will be really exciting for me to watch – there are possibly four guys who could win it.


"Liu Xiang is the big star and I think that helped me when I was there – because he took my world record there was a lot of interest in me to see what I thought of him and his potential.


"Looking ahead to London 2012, for me personally there'll be a huge amount of jealousy! What a great event to have on your own turf, sensational! I wish I was still capable…


"For the team itself it's the best carrot – anyone who's successful at the 2012 Games is really printing themselves a lifetime meal ticket if they play their cards right.


"And it will be a real party atmosphere. Britain is a nation of sports lovers and we certainly know how to have a party, so we will do ourselves proud and the nation will be very excited as a whole."








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