The 2008 Beijing Olympics
on the BBC
BBC Radio team Olympic impressions
Olympic bronze medallist Katharine had a
highly successful career as a youngster.
13, she broke UK records for her age-group
at 100m, 70m, and 75m hurdles, high jump
and pentathlon, the last four of which still
She also won two gold medals at the
1993 European Junior Championships.
In her first years at senior level she was held
back by injuries but still managed second
places in both the 100m and 200m at the
However, by 1998 her senior
career had stalled, beset by injury problems.
The subsequent switch to 400m transformed
her career, leading to her Olympic medal in
In 2001 her great form continued and
she clocked the year's fastest time in the
400m; however, she had to withdraw from
the World Championships due to an Achilles
Injuries caused her to call time
on her career in 2005, and she is now an
official UK athletics mentor.
"For me the Olympics is simply the biggest
sporting event in the world – a celebration of
sport, all sport.
"I like the fact of the whole
celebration – the best athletes in the world
"My earliest Olympic memories are from
1984, which was the first Games I physically
remember watching – I was 10 years old.
"The US put on a great show, it was brilliant
and really caught the attention, and GB did
"My hero, Kathy Cook, took bronze in
the 400m and I was just getting involved in
running at that time so it was very
inspirational for me.
"Then Sydney was the culmination of my
career, with the significance of winning a
medal. Everyone asks about it, where I keep
it – it's actually just in a drawer in bubble
"I was so happy just to be involved in
such an iconic race, with Cathy Freeman
winning the gold medal; it was very special.
"As far as the Beijing Olympics go, I'm really
looking forward to not competing! Not doing
physical activity, but being on the other side
of the fence, the media side, will be
"You get a different viewpoint and
a different insight, and I can cover different
sports, gain new experiences.
buzz is fantastic at the Games, though, so
just to still be involved is amazing.
"I've actually been to Beijing – I went to the
World Junior Championships there in 2006,
in a mentoring role. I was just there for a
couple of days and they were basically road-
testing it for the Olympics. What they've
done there is really impressive.
South Korea; Seoul was my second Games,
but I was never really a big fan. It's very busy,
lots of people, very crowded – and I'm
basically a country girl!
"I like all sport – well, barring cricket! – and,
like a lot of people, I like the personalities.
in Beijing I'm really looking forward to the
men's 100m sprint with Asafa Powell and
Tyson Gay going head to head.
Liu Xiang, the David Beckham or Cathy
Freeman of Beijing in the 110m hurdles. I've
been working with the modern pentathlon
team so I know them well and follow them.
“Then Tom Daley in the diving – I've got
swept along with the sentiment and the story
like everyone else! I really hope he does well;
he's been pulling up trees lately and he's got
nothing to lose – he's only 14 – and we do
like our outsiders!
"We seem to always do well in sailing and
rowing so I'm tipping those sports for British
"With track and field, Paula Radcliffe
has her demons to bury so the marathon
could be massive.
"Then Phillips Idowu should
do well in the triple jump, and we could get
four or five medals in the cycling – I really
like the cycling!
"In the 400m there's Christine
Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders who have a
"Looking ahead to London 2012, I'll be
jealous! I'd love to have done an Olympics in
my own country. It's a fantastic opportunity.
"The youngsters I work with now are all
looking to it and what would inspire them if
not that? It's a very proud moment to take
part in an Olympics anywhere, and I'm very
proud to have been part of it, but in your
own country it would be extra special.
"I really think we'll do a good job of it and it
will be a really great couple of weeks."