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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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Nick Hope meets beach volleyballer Robin Miedzybrodzki

As Nick said, having picked his way around hillocks of cooking detritus while filming beach volleyballer Miedzybrodzki: "Who has time for washing up when you're having to combine full-time employment with training and competition?

"Robin is a very different aspiring Olympian. He works as a trainee civil engineer for Network Rail and is trying to raise £50,000 to reach London 2012. He never expected reaching the Olympics to be easy, but he didn't expect it to be quite so tough."

You can enjoy the kitchen for yourself in the latest programme, alongside appearances from top British names in a host of other Olympic sports.

Triple jumper Phillips Idowu is Robin Miedzybrodzki's polar opposite when it comes to tidiness, according to my colleague Jessica Creighton, who accompanied Ronald McIntosh to film Idowu alongside French rival Teddy Tamgho for the programme.

"What you see of Phillips when he competes is how he is in everyday life: lively, funny and not afraid to express himself," says Jess. "Especially when the camera is around.

"One thing that struck me was the tidiness of his hotel room. His clothes were separated into categories and crisply folded in neat piles. Every item in the room seemed to have its place. He told us: 'I think I'm borderline obsessive-compulsive.'

"Teddy was just as interesting. I stood in awe as he conducted in-depth interviews in not just his native French but English and Spanish - which he'd only been learning for five months.

"I rarely saw Teddy without his fingers tapping on his iPod, headphones on, mouthing along to the sounds of hip-hop artist Rick Ross. He told me music is a big part of his life. I can imagine the headlines if he wins Olympic gold in 2012: 'Rick Ross inspires Tamgho to victory!'"

Mark Cavendish might have some Rick Ross as well. During the two days we spent with him in late March, he insisted his music collection contains any genre you can name.

Cavendish, who turns 26 next week, is a superstar in Belgium, where we filmed with him and his HTC-Highroad pro racing team. He's famous across the Channel but far fewer people would recognise him in Britain, a situation he's keen to preserve.

He takes pains to make it clear that fame is not the reason he cycles: his aim is to get his name in cycling's record books alongside the sport's legends: Lance Armstrong, Eddy Merckx et al.

Making a living along the way is great, but one thing that isn't important - yet - is the Olympics. Road cycling doesn't see the Games the way most other sports do. The Tour de France is the sport's pinnacle and the World Championships offer the prestigious rainbow jersey, but the Olympics doesn't have the same pull.

Cavendish does, however, associate the Games with British patriotism and he knows how much a gold medal in his Olympic road race, potentially Britain's first of the Games, might mean. You can hear his thoughts on Saturday (or for seven days afterwards on iPlayer).

There are other sports where Olympic gold is the be-all and end-all. Taekwondo is one of them and, if newly crowned world champion Sarah Stevenson maintains her form for another year, tears on the podium are guaranteed.

"Both of her parents have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses but somehow, despite not competing in more than a year, she battled past the defending Olympic champion to reach her final," says Nick Hope, who followed her to the World Championships in Korea.

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Sarah Stevenson speaks to BBC Sport having won the world title

"I was standing with the GB team during the final. It was incredible watching Sarah, knowing her thoughts were back home but still able to focus.

"The final seemed to take an eternity and came down to the referee's decision. When she raised her arm in Stevenson's directions the tears began to pour out. I found it impossible not to become caught up in the emotion. She's a true champion and a remarkable person."

Stevenson's story leads Saturday's programme. Along the way you will also hear from Ben Ainslie and his sailing rivals as they battle to occupy Britain's Finn class boat at the Games; hop in a horsebox with equestrian star Piggy French on the road to Badminton Horse Trials (a journey I documented at the time); and ride the Olympic canoe slalom course with our presenter, Ore Oduba.

I hope you enjoy the programme - let me know what you think of it. We're already filming for next month's edition and there will be much, much more before we reach the Games.


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