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5 live at the Paralympics

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Jonathan Wall Jonathan Wall | 13:31 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

With less than a week to go until the start of the Paralympics the excitement and expectation is palpable.

But for everyone at BBC Radio 5 live, the start of the Paralympics, will be the result of over two years of meticulous planning to ensure that 5 live and 5 live sports extra capture all the key commentary moments and drama of the Games.

I'm proud of our line-up of experts which includes the country's highest profile Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has chosen to work with us. Before we had even secured the radio rights for this event two years ago, both Tanni and four times Gold medal-winning swimmer Marc Woods, pledged to be part of our team
And we are adding new names to our team who will be based at the Olympic Park.

Tanni Grey-Thompson

This group, all medal-winning Paralympians in their own right, will add their own insight and experience to the already rich mix of comment and reporting that you will hear throughout the competition.

It gives us a team with great expertise and gravitas. There's cyclist Mark Bristow, a double Gold winner in Beijing in the 1km Time Trial and Team Sprint; Alan Ash, who competed in the Paralympics in Atlanta , Sydney, Athens and Beijing in wheelchair rugby and Caroline Matthews, our wheelchair basketball pundit who will be joined by Joe Jayaratne who represented Great Britain in Wheelchair Basketball at three Paralympics and won Silver in Atlanta in 1996.

Kate Grey also joins our line-up. She competed in Beijing and was a Silver medallist at the 2006 and 2009 IPC Swimming World Championships and trained at Bath University, the centre of so much Paralympics preparation. She will be joined poolside by Olympic medallist Steve Parry.

John Inverdale, a familiar face across BBC TV during the Olympics will be providing coverage throughout Drive and 5 live sport whilst Shelagh Fogarty who has followed the preparations for the Paralympics over the last year, will be presenting her 12-2pm show from Olympic Park. George Riley will also be back in Olympic Park to present all of the breakfast and mid morning sports bulletins from there capturing all the atmosphere from London. Russell Fuller a veteran of four previous Olympics and Paralympics will present our coverage on 5 live sports extra.

Many of the commentators who rightly received a lot of plaudits during the Olympics are also in our team including Mike Costello (athletics) and Simon Brotherton (cycling).

The entire team have powerful personal stories but what unites them is their status in and experience of this elite competition.

I am confident that as a result of this, our coverage of the 2012 Paralympics -set to be the biggest ever will be the most comprehensive and incisive coverage of disability sport ever reported on radio with BBC Radio 5 live providing around 100 hours including 40 hours on BBC 5 live sports extra.

I don't think any of us knew when we started planning this how big the public support of and interest in the Paralympics would be but our job has always been very clear - to capture that the atmosphere, to deliver world class commentary of elite sport and bring it to listeners wherever they are.

And before the Games commence there's another chance to hear a powerful documentary telling the stories behind some of Britain's key Paralympic medal hopes this Sunday (11am). Presenter Russell Fuller has spoken to several competitors, including Stef Reid, a sprinter who lost her foot in a boating accident aged 16 and Tom Agar who broke his back in an accident while at University and now competes in the men's sculls. The programme hears how they became involved in the Paralympics and their aspirations for London 2012.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hope the Paralympics events get as in-depth coverage as the traditional events did - really looking forward to it having just recovered from the high a couple of weeks back!

  • Comment number 2.

    Whilst every 5-Live presenter bragged about being here and there - often with their "other halves" -during the Olympics, they are all absent, holidaying, for the Paralympics! The years of planning, therefore, must have gone into finding someone prepared to turn up.

    Where's the commitment?


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