The 2008 Beijing Olympics
on the BBC
BBC Radio team Olympic impressions
Darren Campbell is unquestionably one of
Britain's most successful and well-known
His medal tally includes a European
Championship gold in the 100m, an Olympic
silver medal in the 200m and, as part of the
4x100m team, an Olympic gold, three
European golds and two Commonwealth
He was awarded an MBE for his services to the
sport in 2006, and later that year announced
his retirement from athletics.
One of his biggest
commitments since then has been Street
Athletics, the concept set up by himself, Linford
Christie and Nuff Respect, targeting disengaged
young people aged 20 and under,
predominantly in underprivileged areas.
Darren first worked with BBC Radio 5 Live in
2006 for a series of athletics debate
programmes around the world championships.
"The Olympics represents, for me, the
beginning of a dream. When I was 12 years
old, I watched Carl Lewis at the Olympics
winning his four gold medals and from
watching that I just always wanted to go to
an Olympic Games.
"I always hoped that I'd
be able to get amongst the medals and to
have two medals, including an Olympic gold – it's really been about achieving my dreams.
"My favourite memories are definitely of
winning my own medals – but also just going
to my first Olympics Games in Atlanta.
being in the village and being a part of the
whole experience – and being young at the
time, 'borrowing' the golf buggies that were
left lying around that were supposed to be
for the VIPs!
"Little memories like that; the
Olympic Games is a very special event so
being in the Olympic Village and being a part
of it all, they're my best memories really.
"I think Beijing will be a totally different
Olympics, it will have a different feel.
to three Olympics as a competitor but this will
be my first chance to be there and watch and
commentate on it and I think I'll have a
different type of nerves!
"Obviously being there
and competing, it's very intense, whereas
being there on the other side, commentating
on it and being able to watch it – I've never
really been able to watch the Olympics
because I've been too busy preparing! So it'll
be good to be on the other side.
"I've been to China a few times and I've seen a
few different parts of it – it's a beautiful
country. There's definitely a lot of people
there! It seems like a country that never
"Obviously there are a lot of issues
going on there but I know they are very
excited about having an Olympic Games there
and I know they're going to try and put on a
"I think that's one of the special
things about the Olympic Games, each nation
tries to put on a better show than the last one.
"It's a difficult one to predict with regard to
individuals – I've been really talking up Jessica
Ennis and now she's injured, so I don't really
want to focus on individuals in case I jinx
"But that's what sport's about. You
never know what's going to happen, there's
too many variables to pin my hopes on one
person – they've already been dashed with
Jessica and we're not even there yet!
"However, I am really looking forward to
watching the Americans in the basketball, and
I'm also looking forward to being able to see
how other sportspeople prepare and get
ready and compete in an Olympic Games.
been a part of the whole track and field world
but as a person who loves sport I'm looking
forward to watching different sports too.
"With regard to specific events, the 100m will
always be the blue riband event at the
"It's the event that everybody
wants to see and having been in a 100m
Olympic final I know how special that is, so I
will be watching out – especially now with the
emergence of Usain Bolt, it will be interesting
to see him, Tyson Gay and Asafa Po well .
"Bolt's position is fascinating. He's the fastest
in the world this year at 100m but prefers
200m – and it's very difficult to double.
talking about potentially eight races in five or
six days so if you've not already done the
work to double it would be too difficult.
there are too many variables over 100m – if
you get the start wrong the race is over. Then
you have to pick yourself up for the 200m –
you have to be very strong mentally.
the mental side that bothered me rather than
the physical. If you lose you have to pick
yourself up; if you win, you can't sleep!
"London 2012 is a great opportunity to
unearth some superstars. I think anyone who
can go to the Olympic Games in London and
win a medal – especially a gold – is going to be
shot to superstardom.
"I really do see Beijing
as a stepping stone to London 2012; the
advice I would give to any young person who
has the opportunity to compete in Beijing, is
don't put yourself under too much pressure.
"Go there and try to get through the rounds;
try and make the final, but the real big one
will be London 2012, so if you are going to
make mistakes, make them in Beijing.
"And to get the opportunity to run in front of
your home crowd is amazing.
"I had that with
the Commonwealth Games in Manchester,
which is where I grew up, which was great.
"I can't really wait for 2012; I think the effect
will be felt right across the country.
that feelgood factor – all the news will be
about the Games, whereas at the moment
we've got so many negative stories – all the
news about knife crime, gun crime, potential
recession, it's a lot of depressing stuff, but
come 2012 it will only be positive stuff and
we'll have some of the best sports stars in
the world on home soil.”