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It was a very disappointing performance from Britain's athletes at the European Indoor Championships. Team coach Charles van Commenee was looking for five or six medals and to only get four is not good enough.

We did get two golds though. I wasn't surprised with Dwain Chambers' efforts in the 60m, although his astonishing 6.42 seconds in the semi-finals breaking the British and European record was a surprise.

I'm running out of things to say about Dwain. It was interesting to hear the jeers and boos inside the stadium - even when he was on the rostrum picking up his gold medal. That surprised me.

Continue reading "The jeers and not enough cheers in Turin"

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In the same way as Mexico City is remembered for Bob Beamon and Munich for Lasse Viren, the athletics in Beijing will be remembered for Usain Bolt.

These were Usain's Games, and beyond that, Jamaica's.

Nothing could ever top what he did in the 100m, 200m and the relay. Even the other athletes only seemed to want to talk about him.

You need superheroes. You need stars that everyone round the world knows, not just within athletics.

Continue reading "Dramatic athletics - but Britain beware"

Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing

Up in the commentary box, we got a whisper that something might be wrong with Liu Xiang five minutes before the hurdles heats were due to start.

The next clue we had was when we saw the television pictures from the warm-up track.

Liu had attempted a couple of hurdles and then pulled up in obvious pain.

The strange thing was that the majority of people in the crowd didn't have the faintest idea that something might be wrong.


Continue reading "The moment Liu Xiang broke Chinese hearts"

First things first: Paula Radcliffe should be proud of her performance in Beijing.

She did everything she could to be here and everything she could to get among the medals.

Had it not been for the cramp that spread through her leg, she'd probably have finished seventh or eighth, which would have been a remarkable effort considering her preparations.

Continue reading "Paula deserves praise and plaudits"

It is 20 years since Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold medal and thrown out of the Seoul Olympics for using performance enhancing drugs.

There were drug stories before, and there have been plenty since, but none made the impact that his did in 1988.

I spoke to him about what has since become known as the dirtiest race in history as Carl Lewis, who was promoted to gold, had failed three drugs tests at the 1988 US Olympic trials, while Britain's silver medallist Linford Christie also failed a drugs test later in his career.

Continue reading "The dirtiest race in history"

All the drama was around Dwain Chambers and it was always going to be.

Whatever decision is made later in the week it was a fascinating race. Most athletes struggled with the conditions this weekend but all the 100m runners performed excellently.

You want the younger guys to step up and do well and Simeon Williamson and Craig Pickering did just that. There is some irony in that Tyrone Edgar - who has always been a big supporter of Dwain - might be the one who loses out if he wins his Court case.

Continue reading "Rutherford's heroics and the 100m showdown "

It's good to be back in Birmingham, where we've had some great domestic championships and trials over the years.

I think we'll be in for a good weekend of athletics. In almost every event, there are little stories going on and there aren't too many events where things look to be straightforward.

Those who come in the top two in their event in Birmingham and have reached the Olympic qualifying standard (and there is still just a little time left for them to achieve that) know that they are going to Beijing.

Continue reading "What to watch at the Olympic trials"

It's an Olympic year and you ask athletes about the European Cup and most of them will you tell you it's just a minor event. Some of them might actually prefer not to be in Annecy, France.

Having said that, it can be a very useful competition for Olympic preparation if used well, particularly for those less experienced athletes or someone who's competing in their first big event of the year like 400metre runner Nicola Sanders.

It might be a team event, but it gets them used to the heat of competition. And it's pure athletics, just like the Olympics. No prize money, no pace makers.

Nicola Sanders and Tyrone Edgar

Continue reading "Brits set for big test in Euros"

After several days walking along the Great Wall of China, we had a great couple of days in Beijing to round off our trip.

There was sightseeing, sunshine, smog, singing and a poignant end to an athletics test event at the Olympic Stadium.

Now all I have to master before I return in August is how to say "cheese" in Chinese.

Continue reading "Cram enjoys Bird's Nest view"

I've reached the end of my fund-raising trek on the Great Wall of China and I couldn't recommend a trip out here enough.

The scenery is spectacular and the wall itself takes your breath away - I was constantly looking at it and thinking how on earth did they construct this?

We've had a hard few days, but I've learnt a lot about the history of the area and I managed to break a record, which you're welcome to try and beat if you are ever in Simatai.

Continue reading "Cram breaks record on Great Wall of China"

Everyone is asking whether Paula Radcliffe should compete in the Olympics after suffering a stress fracture to her leg but it is not a simple question to answer.

Some stress fractures are very minor and can heal quickly or allow you to run at an early stage, while others can keep you out for a year.

Paula has two decisions to make.

Firstly, is the injury OK? This is usually easy to answer as the medics can tell you and you know yourself.

The second one is whether she be able to get enough training in to deliver the level of performance that she will be satisfied with.

Continue reading "Radcliffe's dream not over"

On day four of our 11-day fundraising walk along the Great Wall of China, we have arrived in Jinshanlin, our base for the next 48 hours, and I feel great as I've just had my first shower in a couple of days.

It's been an interesting start to the trip, from flying into the hustle and bustle of Beijing, to trekking on Monday and not seeing a single soul outside of our group.

We've had sunshine and sandstorms, but no smog, three minutes of silence in memory of the earthquake victims, an FA Cup final and an unexpected beer.

Continue reading "From London to Jinshanlin - Cram in China"

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