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Hold the back page, Paula has arrived!

After months of "Will she wont she?" Radcliffe stepped off the bus at the training camp hotel reception on Monday bathed in smiles and looking like a million dollars.

Only 24 hours previously, the signs were that Team Radcliffe, which includes husband and coach Gary Lough weren't crazy at the prospect of facing the mass of media in Macau waiting on her every word.

Continue reading "Radcliffe ready for action"

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If you've got it, flaunt it.

Sailors are no strangers to getting their kit off for the cameras and Iain Percy is no exception.

The Sydney Olympic gold medallist is one of Britain's highest-profile sailors. He says one of his greatest strengths is not taking himself too seriously and he was one five members of Skandia Team GBR who stripped off and covered themselves in gold.

Continue reading "Stripping for sailing gold"

This is my third trip to Beijing in the last two years and I'm still shocked by the sheer size of the city - and, most of all, by the millions of cars on the streets.

The Chinese authorities have introduced traffic restrictions which will take half of the 3.3 million cars off the roads during the Olympics in efforts to solve the capital's chronic air pollution problem. But it still feels busy.

There are still major doubts about how distance athletes are going to cope if the air is too polluted.

But London can't be complacent about its air for the 2012 Games, either.

Continue reading "London needs to work on air quality too"

Make sure Saturday the 9th of August is marked in your diary. That's when the boxing gets underway in Beijing and Britain's finest will be ready to take on the world.

When Audley Harrison won Olympic gold in Sydney, he was one of only two homegrown fighters to make the trip. Amir Khan ploughed a lone furrow in Athens. Now, as I prepare to meet the eight boxers who will fly the Olympic flag this time around, I am intrigued to see if they really are as good as everyone suggests.

They're certainly in good company in the Fight Art Club on the north side of Macau. Pictures of Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee adorn the walls of the gymnasium, and it quickly becomes clear that these guys are not here for the ride.

Continue reading "GB boxers preparing to rule the world"


I am glad we were prepared for the heat out here as it is incredible.

Imagine your mother is standing in the doorway on a hot summer's day with the thickest winter feather duvet she has. She wraps you around and around in it and then tucks in all the edges, then gives you a big hug, rubbing up and down to create more heat, before you try and walk off.

Then, when you try to breath it is like being in bed and putting the duvet over your head to cut out the light and make it dark. You can hardly breathe because the air is so hot and oppressive.

Continue reading "Like the week before Christmas - but far hotter"


Don't worry about the pollution, the Beijing authorities have been telling us.

Factories will shut down. Cars will be taken off the roads. Skies will be seeded with silver nitrate and clouds conjured away to leave the air perfect for the world's athletes.


That's the theory. Happy to lay my lungs on the line in the name of unscientific research, I decide to head out into the city on a long run to test conditions first-hand.

The initial signs are disconcerting.

Continue reading "How my lungs coped with a 10k run round Beijing"

Last month, we produced a shortlist of 10 British athletes and asked you for your thoughts - both on the ones we named, and any other athletes occupying your thoughts ahead of the Beijing Games.

We had a great response, which certainly affected at least one decision on who made it into our final 10 to watch. And now we're publishing full profiles of each of those 10 athletes.

Continue reading "Our final 10 to watch"

That was a good effort by Jacques Rogge at his first media conference of the Games.

There was a sense of irritation around the place, but (to push the metaphor deep into Alan Partridge territory) he applied the presidential calamine lotion.

After nearly a week of tetchy exchanges between the media and BOCOG about the imperfect internet access, Rogge kicked off his address with a carefully chosen remark about the Athletes' village, describing it as "the best ever".

That's quite a compliment from a man with 40 years' experience of the games, deliberately served up as a subtle reminder that the Olympics is about the athletes and their experience, not gripes from journalists about our working conditions.

Continue reading "Rogge the statesman pours oil on troubled waters"

Beijing - There are literally tens of thousands of them, the best advert China could have for its Olympics.

The legions of smiling, blue-and-white clad volunteers who are on hand at every turn to help, translate or point one in the right direction - sometimes with almost-frighteningly military zeal.

Volunteer Liu Fei from Shandong province is helping on the media shuttle buses

Gaggles of them are stationed at every doorway, every checkpoint, every bus stand.

Ask a group for directions and they all respond in unison, arms outstretched simultaneously with palms flat (it is rude to point with your finger), as if choreographed.

Continue reading "Army of smiling volunteers doing Beijing proud "


Our first full day here and already the excitement is building. It started as soon as we began our marathon journey from Heathrow on Friday. From London to Hong Kong, we were treated to an array of adverts by Jackie Chan on the in-flight entertainment system.

The man with iconic status all over the world, undertook a 55-second mission impossible trying to gain access to the Bird's Nest without a ticket. Of course he made it, and of course he grinned. So did we. Because we knew we were en route to a special experience.

A three hour lay-over in Hong Kong - where the equestrian events take place - gave the volunteers a chance to outdo Chan's smile with their warmth and enthusiasm. They succeeded. Everywhere you looked around the airport there were posters "One World. One Dream."

Continue reading "Attention landlubbers - prepare to be converted"

American athlete Jesse Owens competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

There is no doubting that America's Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 4 days - Owens' Olympics"

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