The 2008 Beijing Olympics
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
"Of all my Games, Athens was the
culmination for me and to win by eight
one hundredths of a second was a pretty
"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
"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
"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