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24 September 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Allison Curbishley

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC Radio team Olympic impressions

Allison Curbishley


Allison Curbishley competed at two Olympic Games during her career as an athlete.


At the 2000 Games in Sydney she reached the quarter final of the 400m as well as finishing fifth in the final of the 4x400m relay.


Allison won a silver medal for Scotland in the 400m at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and in the same year won a bronze in the 4x400m relay at the European Championships in Budapest.


A persistant knee injury finally led to her retirement in 2002 and since then she has been a regular expert athletics summariser for BBC Radio 5 Live.


"For me the Olympics is the pinnacle of my sport. Even before joining an athletic club, the 1984 Games in LA was mesmerising TV for me at the age of eight.


"As soon as I joined the Harriers at the age of 11 it was a dream to compete for my country in the greatest sporting show on earth.


"I remember at the 1984 Olympics, Daley Thompson doing a back flip on the pole vault mat; in fact that picture was a present in the form of a giant poster at Christmas in 1984 and adorned my bedroom wall.


"Then in 1992, Sally Gunnell winning the 400 hurdles – an event I had started competing in.


"I vividly remember stopping off at a service station on the way back from competing for my club, Middlesbrough and Cleveland Harriers, to watch Sally's race with all my athletic team. A memorable race!


"As far as Beijing 2008, I'm most looking forward to the spectacle of the Games being in China, the fact that they will undoubtedly deliver a unique event, which is what the Olympics should be all about, a city being able to lend its own culture to the Games and those who come to take part or spectate.


"Having recently visited Beijing and the Olympic site it's only helped to heighten my anticipation of a vibrant and exciting Games.


"They'll be efficient but extremely passionate about every sport.


"Particular events and performers I'm really looking forward to seeing include Liu Xiang in the 110m hurdles; can the red-hot Chinese favourite deliver their expected gold?


"Also Usain Bolt in the 100m; I'm eager to see if Usain can match his world record performance early in the season with an Olympic title against tough rivals in Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.


"Then there's David Davies in the 10K open water event, the marathon of swimming! I'm really looking forward to whether David can bring home a medal for Great Britain in the first-ever open water event in the Olympics.


"Rebecca Romero in the track cycling is the most exciting prospect to possibly take home two Olympic medals in two completely different sports. Formerly a rower, now a world-class cyclist, she's so exciting to watch.


"Equally our British female 400m prospects – that's my old event and we have two extremely talented athletes in Nicola Sanders and Christine Ohuruogu, both of whom could potentially make the podium.


"As for medals for Britain, on the track and in the field particularly the two 400m girls I've mentioned, Nicola and Christine in the individual, but also when they are joined by two further members they have a huge opportunity in the 4x400m relay to take a medal.


"For Phillips Idowu, in the triple jump, there's a big chance to add to his world indoor title.


"Kelly Sotherton, in the heptathlon, if she's injury and illness free – this could be Kelly's best opportunity to take an Olympic title with no Caroline Kluft to contend with – or, sadly, Jessica Ennis. However, competition is still fierce!


"And my complete outsider for a medal would be Mara Yamauchi in the marathon. Ninth at the World Championships last year, if the favourites eat each other up she may not be too far away from a medal. She has been planning meticulously for Beijing!


"I think the Games in London in 2012 will have a huge impact on the UK as a whole, not just London.


"The nation has an opportunity to influence the Games with its own culture and sporting passion and we have the chance to witness the spectacle of the world's greatest athletes in all sports compete in our back yard.


"If this doesn't engage the country in sport and what it has to offer, nothing will!


“To be a member of Team GB in 2012 is once-in-a-lifetime stuff!


"I sadly missed out on the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002, but from all accounts every British athlete raised their game in the field and delivered performances to be proud of and have memories that will last for ever.


"I can only imagine how fulfilling and proud an athlete will be taking a medal home from a Games hosted by their own nation; I hope there'll be many!"








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