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29 October 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Sir Matthew Pinsent

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC TV team Olympic impressions

Sir Matthew Pinsent


In one of the classic sporting moments of all time, Sir Matthew Pinsent led the Great Britain coxless four to victory at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Just eight one hundredths of a second ahead of the Canadian champions, the win booked Matt's place in Olympic history and he is now one of only five athletes to win four consecutive gold medals.


After an illustrious career in rowing during which Matthew was able to fulfil all his ambitions, he is now turning his hand to journalism and media pursuits.


Currently working at the BBC as a sports reporter with Inside Sport, Matthew covers a range of sports from football to horse-racing and from rugby to the Winter Olympics. As yet no rowing!


Matthew was awarded the MBE in the 1993 New Year's Honours list, the CBE in the New Year's Honours list 2000, and a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list 2005.


"The Olympic Games was basically the focus for me for 20 years of my sport. This is the first Games I'll be going to not being a sportsman, so for me it's an opportunity to see the other side of the fence now. I think it will be very different but I don't think I'll miss the competing side of it at all…


"Of all my Games, Athens was the culmination for me and to win by eight one hundredths of a second was a pretty close race!


"Other than my own experiences, I remember Coe versus Ovett in 80 and 84; Daley Thomson in 84 and 88; the rowing from 84, Steve's first gold medal – so a variety really, but I guess I'm the generation when 1980 and 1984 were my formative Olympics.


"I've been to China four or five times. I think it will be an amazing Games – obviously it's going to be very controversial and there'll be some challenges for everybody – athletes and broadcasters – when we're out there, but I think it's going to be a remarkable games for all sorts of reasons.


"I'm keen to see how the Chinese deal with the games; obviously it's a huge logistical hurdle, and the media attention is going to be very high on them and how they deal with all that is going to be fascinating.


"As for the action in Beijing, sailing, cycling and rowing will be the main focus for me, because I think that's where the medals are going to come from. I'll be keen to see how those sports get on.


"In the rowing I'm tipping the men's four and women's quad; the sailing will be Ben Ainslie and the two Sarahs – Webb and Ayton; and then there'll be Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy in the cycling.


"I'm doing a general reporting role at the Games so I'll be all over the place. It will be great to get close up to sports other than the rowing.


"Looking ahead to London 2012, I'm pretty jealous of the guys who've got those Games in their planners now because I never competed at home! I never got the chance to row internationally on home water.


"Generally, I think it will be the culmination of so many people's lifetime experience and training to get to there, it'll be great. I think it's going to take over the country for that whole two weeks.


"And I hope there'll be a legacy – that's down to London to sort out really. I think the opportunity is there, it's whether they can convert it. But I think that's the challenge they've got."








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