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Picture the scene in a school playground.

Some of the most senior people in British sport lined up. Waiting to be picked.
Desperate to catch the eye of one man, and one woman.

That's what it must have felt like this morning, as the chairmen and chief executives of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic sports sat by their phones, waiting for a call which would shape their plans for the next four years.

The call came from either Liz Nicholl, director of Elite Sport at UK Sport, or John Steele, its chief executive.

And the subject was funding.

Continue reading "Sports winners and losers wait for a call"

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Don't get me wrong, I'll never tire of hearing the national anthem at an Olympic venue, as the Union Flag begins its journey up into the heavens.

But that's five times God's Saved the Queen at the Laoshan velodrome so far and as I watched the Australian film crew trudge off disconsolately on Monday night, there was a small part of me (OK a very small part), which felt a little embarrassed.

Are we too good at cycling?

Or should we bask in the glory of it all - in the knowledge that it can't last forever.

Continue reading "Britain's cycling success - is it cricket?"

Remember Vanderlei de Lima in Athens? He was leading the marathon until a spectator jumped out into his path.

The IOC later gave him the Pierre de Coubertin medal for showing the spirit of the Oympics.

I know I maybe getting ahead of myself, but I know who my choice for that award would be this time round.

I went to see Georgia's Nino Salukvadze taking part in the the women's 10m air pistol. And while her country is in a state of conflict with Russia, she managed to win bronze.

Continue reading "Georgian and Russian athletes share emotional embrace"

Deep in the bowels of the National Cycling Centre in Manchester lies one of the keys to Britain's Olympic hopes - and it's hidden under a coffee machine.

"Yeah, we may have to move that", Chris Boardman, the former Olympic champion, and now head of research and development at British Cycling, told me, before using it to unlock a wooden door, and reveal an Aladdin's cave of cycling technology.

Everything from tyres to cogs, riding suits to handlebars are all neatly labelled, all ready to ship to Beijing.

Continue reading "Inside cycling's £1m project"

I'm not sure whether I'm a sports correspondent for BBC News, or a news correspondent for BBC Sport, probably both. But either way, it's a top job trying to be grown up and serious at events we'd all give our eye teeth to be at.

I worked in Sports news at ITN and Sky before joining the BBC in 2004, spanning years of World Cups and Olympic Games, Champions League finals and British Opens.

Put them all together, though, and they don't come close to what we're building up to in 2012. The London Games will quite simply be the biggest sports story I ever cover.

It will be bigger even than QPR 1-0 Middlesbrough on 1 April 1978 - my first match at that citadel of football, Loftus Road.

It will be bigger than Zomba Catholic 5-0 Mangochi in the 1989 final of the Malawian Book Service Cup - my greatest sporting moment as the accidental coach of the Malawian national champions.

They asked me to help coach the national side. I never had the heart to tell them I was only 19. I often wonder what would have happened if I'd taken up that offer. It could have been me, not Big Phil, at Chelsea.

Instead I'm stuck with reporting from Beijing, and Wembley, and Moscow. Never mind.

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