BBC BLOGS - Ollie Williams

Archives for May 2011

British Olympic Dreams: May's programme

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Ollie Williams | 08:34 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

"To say Robin Miedzybrodzki's kitchen was messy is an understatement," says my colleague Nick Hope.

The two of us are part of a team which produces the series British Olympic Dreams - the next edition of which airs at 1300 BST on BBC One this Saturday, 14 May.

The programme's ambition is to get under the skin of Britain's Olympic hopefuls. Rather than simply showing race footage or post-match interviews, we want to show you the personalities and stories behind the names you're likely to encounter at the London Olympics.

That means going behind the scenes into people's lives, their passions, their backgrounds - and their kitchens.

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Selection is a breeze for Britain's paddlers

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Ollie Williams | 19:48 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"There are people living off their savings, trying to compete as full-time athletes, and they're putting a lot of their lives into one race. If things don't work out for them, it's a really big deal," says British canoeist Campbell Walsh.

"That's a life-changing moment and they have to decide: What do I do now?"

We will hear a lot about selection races over the next year. Most of Britain's Olympic hopefuls will face them, no matter their sport - some form of contest to determine the best of British, ready for the year of competitive international tournaments ahead.

Being selected makes or breaks the year for many athletes, but selectors in 2011 and 2012 could hold careers in their hands. This is Olympic qualification year and the athletes chosen to help Britain qualify get 12 months in the shop window for Olympic selection, a year later, where there are often fewer places available for the highest of stakes.

Canoe slalom's 2011 selection races took place at the 2012 Olympic course, in Lee Valley, this past weekend. Walsh and 12 other paddlers made the team and, while Walsh would have expected that as one of the world's top 10, he knows not to underestimate the importance of these races.

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