BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for January 2012

Tennis 'gladiators' continue to set new standards

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David Bond | 12:23 UK time, Monday, 30 January 2012


Every now and again, sport produces a pure contest, a moment of such drama and theatre that it can be hard to think of any other form of entertainment that comes close.

That Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open final on Sunday is almost neither here nor there. The event dwarfed the outcome and it was a privilege to witness it.

It wasn't just the quality of the play or the unbelievable rallies which seemed to go on for ever, it was the stamina and energy levels of these two players.

Neither Nadal nor Djokovic were prepared to give way. Each time you thought you could call it, the match swung back the other way.

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Do more tests lead to cleaner Games?

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David Bond | 19:18 UK time, Thursday, 19 January 2012

There will be 5,000 drugs tests at the London 2012 Olympics - a 10% increase from Beijing 2008 and more than any previous Games.

Professor David Cowan, the man in charge of the new £10million state of the art lab in Harlow, Essex, says they will be able to test for the broadest possible range of banned substances.

But are more tests necessarily the answer in the battle for sporting integrity?

In Athens in 2004 there were 26 positive tests from 3,667 samples collected. Four years later the tests went up to 4,770 but the number of positives went down to 20.

During the world athletics championships in Daegu last summer every athlete was tested but - and this still seems incredible to me - there wasn't a single positive test returned.

Like crime statistics, does the trend for less positive tests during competition reflect how sport is getting cleaner? Or - and I suspect this is the right answer - is it evidence that athletes are getting smarter and not risking putting anything illegal in their systems during the big events?

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Ali the icon still resonates at 70

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David Bond | 13:07 UK time, Tuesday, 17 January 2012

It is now more than 30 years since Muhammad Ali retired from boxing. For much of that time he has been battling Parkinson's disease, his public appearances becoming rarer and rarer as his physical condition has worsened.

But for those who question whether he still resonates with the sport, I would suggest a trip to the Lynn boxing club in Peckham, south London.

I spent a couple of hours there on Monday evening, filming a special report on his 70th birthday for BBC News. Despite the freezing weather, around 20 boys, and young men and women had turned out to train and spar.

When I spoke to some of them I was amazed to find that even boys as young as 11 had watched most of Ali's classic fights and studied his technique and style intently.

As we played them replays of his fights on the wall of their gym, one or two mimicked his moves, trying to absorb a bit of the magic they were seeing.

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Ticketing hurdles for 2012 Olympics

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BBC Sport blog editor | 19:48 UK time, Friday, 13 January 2012

London 2012 says its ticket resale website will reopen next week after it was taken down on its first day of operation last Friday.

Officials from organising committee Locog currently overseeing attempts to resolve the ticketing problems, led by commercial director Chris Townsend, won't say it publicly but anyone hoping to buy tickets from those selling them may have to wait a bit longer.

Having spent the week testing Ticketmaster's flawed resale system, it is clear London 2012 can no longer risk its reputation by trying to match sellers with buyers instantly.

Instead Locog, as part of its commitment to provide customers with a secure and legal way to sell unwanted tickets and avoid touts, will buy back tickets from those fans who no longer want them.

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Securing Olympic legacy proves tricky task

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David Bond | 18:17 UK time, Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The government has announced its new strategy to try to ensure a lasting sports participation legacy from the 2012 Games.

At first glance a five-year plan worth £1bn aimed at young people looks impressive.

But, as ever, things are not what they seem.

Sport England, who are in charge of the new programme, was always going to receive this money as the reduction in the number of National Lottery good causes - from five to four - had guaranteed them an extra £180m over the next five-year funding cycle.

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Will Government grab gold at London Games?

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David Bond | 08:27 UK time, Monday, 9 January 2012

The turn of the year was always going to bring a significant shift in momentum around the London Olympics and Paralympics. After seven years of waiting, the start of 2012 brings with it a stark realisation that the Games are frighteningly close.

But the beginning of the year has also brought a major shift in the coalition Government's Olympic rhetoric. Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted the Games in his New Year message and will chair the first cabinet meeting of 2012 on the Olympic Park on Monday.

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