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29 October 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Steve Backley

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC Radio team Olympic impressions

Steve Backley


One of the most consistent and successful athletes of the golden era, with three world records, three Olympic medals and 13 major championship medals, Steve is Britain's first athlete to win four consecutive European titles – a true demonstration of his strength of character and unrivalled ability to overcome adversity.


He's also the only British track and field athlete to have won medals at three consecutive Olympics.


Steve swapped his javelin for a microphone in 2005, joining the BBC Radio 5 Live commentary team for athletics, including the European Cup in Florence and the World Championships in Helsinki.


He also coaches youngsters as part of the UK Athletics and Norwich Union mentoring programme.


Steve was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list 2003.


"For me the Olympics represents the biggest organised challenge to anyone anywhere in the world.


"I see it as the cutting edge of human endeavour. It represents the ultimate in human performance organised on a stage for everyone to enjoy and for no one to dispute who is the ultimate champion.


"My own favourite moment from past Olympics is probably from the 2000 Games where I threw an Olympic record in the second round.


"This, in many other Games, would have been enough to win – but not there, because Zelezney was really on his game that day.


"As for Beijing, I am looking forward to seeing the British team do well. I really see this as a great opportunity to up the ante four years before hosting the Games in London in 2012.


"I was in China in 2006 and enjoyed the insight into a different culture.


"As far as the significance of the Games being held there, I see it as purely that the Games is contested by every nation in the world and as one of the fastest-growing and largest countries in the world it was their turn.


"Sport, and especially the Olympics, cuts across any social and cultural differences.


"As for the events to watch, of course I'll be glued to the men's 100m – Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt.


"I'll also be following the women's heptathlon where Kelly Sotherton is in with a shout – and the men's triple jump, as Phillips Idowu has a great chance of winning.


"I keep an eye on my old sport, the men's javelin, where Pitkamaki v Thorkildsen should be an exciting battle – as should the women's 400m with Nicola Sanders v Christine Ohuruoghu. They're all the ones I'm tipping for glory.


"Looking ahead to 2012, as far as the Olympics being in London goes, in terms of the challenge, it is purely the platform where the contest will take place.


"The commercial angle is great for our capital city and the impact the Games will have on our sporting youth is important for the development of sport in our country.


"For me personally, it will be a chance for my family to see and enjoy the Games."








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