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24 September 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Chris Boardman © Ray Tang/Rex Features

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

BBC Radio team Olympic impressions

Chris Boardman


Chris Boardman is Britain's most successful cyclist of all time.


Chris broke three world hour records, won an Olympic gold and was holder of the prestigious yellow jersey in the Tour De France.


During his peak Chris was virtually unbeatable in time trials.


On the domestic time trial scene he won over 30 national titles including National 10, 25, 50, and National Hill Climb Championships.


Although Chris specialised in time trials he also turned his attention to road racing and competed in track disciplines.


Chris represented GB at four Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and one world championship, winning a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in the 4,000 metres pursuit.


In 1998 Chris was diagnosed with a form of osteoporosis, making it difficult to train for long periods at high intensity.


This needed treatment with drugs prohibited by the UCI, therefore Chris decided to retire.


He was awarded the MBE in 1993.


"The Olympics, for me in a sporting sense, is the ultimate opportunity to compete against the very best in the world.


"The winner can truly consider themselves to be at the apex of their sport; it's the ultimate accolade.


"In wider terms, it is one of the few global opportunities for nations to have common ground, to set politics aside and come together. Cheesy but true!


"My favourite personal Olympic moment was sitting on the Olympic village beach in Barcelona at about 2am with my then coach, Peter Keen, and a gold medal around my neck and beer in hand.


"That was a moment to savour. It was the first opportunity to stop and try to comprehend that years of work had just come to fruition, and the sheer magnitude of what we had just done.


"As far as Beijing is concerned, as with all Olympics, it is the utter scale that is amazing to be part of – it's simply the biggest global event you can see.


"For me it will be the first Olympics since 1988 that I have been to not inside the village, so I'm looking forward to a whole new perspective.


"Regarding the events I'm most looking forward to, definitely the inaugural BMX race, it's a superb spectator sport and I think something the youth of our country can relate to.


"After that, I simply can't separate the pack; it's all amazing to watch.


"I have friends who are coaches in other sports whom I have worked alongside for several years (such as sailing and hockey) and I am looking forward to seeing how their athletes perform.


"As far as British hopes go, I predict that the British cycling team will be the most successful sport.


"Thinking ahead to London 2012, when we first got the 2012 Games a journalist asked me what impact this would have on the cycling athletes; I rather flippantly said ‘the flight will be shorter'.


"Our athletes cannot try harder or prepare better because the Games are in London, they are already doing everything they can; however, the sense of pressure to succeed and expectation all around them will only increase, so it brings added challenges.


"We experienced this in a small way this year with a home world cycling championships, which helped us understand what it will be like.


"A real focus area for our athletes will be in learning how to harness all the upsides to competing at home and be able to put aside or cope with the added focus on GB riders in London.


"Right now we are pulling out all the stops for development, we are increasing our investment in coaches and every detail is being examined down to the last nut and bolt.


"This added focus and resource availability is for me the most powerful reward for hosting a Games and will last long after 2012."








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