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A lot of people in athletics won't want to hear this, but there was a buzz and energy at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium on Saturday for the 100m final at the British Olympic trials, a buzz I have not known at the event before, and it was all because of one event and one man.

I was commentating for 5 Live as Dwain Chambers stormed through to win with a time bang on 10 seconds.

That edginess and buzz wasn't there on Sunday, even though most of the major names were competing that day. Everybody I spoke to uttered phrases like "after the Lord Mayors show" and "doesn't it feel different?". And it did feel different.

Continue reading "Chambers controversy could help athletics"

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The stress fracture to British heptathlete Jessica Ennis' right ankle is a real titanic set-back.

She picked up the injury in an IAAF meeting on Saturday, in Götzis - a small town in Austria which has become known as the home of multi-events competition.

Ennis was up against a field almost identical to the one she would have faced in Beijing, bar the absence of Kelly Sotherton. She carried the injury through three of the four events on the first day and was still placed second. Having stamped herself as a serious medal contender, now she misses out.

Continue reading "Ennis injury is a British medal hope gone"

At the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, one of the local drivers employed by the BBC said to me, "You sound like you're on honeymoon with your job." And that feeling is reinforced every four years.

Beijing will be my fourth Olympics (my first for 5 Live) and I'll spend much of the first week at the boxing arena and then take up residence in the Birds Nest for the athletics.

My trusted companion, as ever, will be Damon Runyon. OK, he's long since "taken the run-out powder" but his short stories still breathe. His tales of Broadway and Guys and Dolls are a welcome distraction for a mind full of stats and sums.

One of his characters once said that any contest between two members of the human race is an even-money shot.

And that's why sport, especially the Olympics, is so special. We expect - but we just don't know.

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