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I know a bloke who likes to say a little bit of him dies every time one of his friends has some measure of professional success. He works in the City so he probably means it.

It's an attitude many in the British Olympic family could sympathise with right now, because while Beijing was the very best of times for some, it remained the same old story for others. And with Team GB operating on a "use it or lose it" approach to funding, success has almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy, while failure, well, you just don't want to go there.

But "there" is exactly where British judo finds itself and the choices it is grappling with are the same choices all the other "under-performing" sports will have to address very soon.

So when judo debates the merits of centralised training bases, national head coaches and the link between the elite and grass-roots ends of the sport, you can guarantee archery, athletics, badminton, basketball and so on, are paying attention.

Continue reading "Where judo grapples, others will follow"

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Athlete's Village, Beijing

I've left it a few days partly because I have been busy in the village food hall piling on the pounds!

But mostly because I wanted to gather my thoughts and not rush into writing anything too quickly.

I suppose I should get right down to business and let you know how I feel about my performance and the 81kg weight category.

Everyone who knows me will know that I am absolutely gutted not to come away from these Games with a medal.

Continue reading "Dealing with demons after defeat"

Viticulture is the centuries-old science of knowing everything there is to know about grapes.

Protecting them from pests, monitoring their growth and working out when best to harvest them for making fun stuff like wine, these are all key duties for your average viticulturist.

They would also know exactly when grapes go sour.

I wonder then what they would make of two very different responses to British defeats in martial arts events at the Olympics on Tuesday.

Continue reading "When is a grouse fair game?"


Boredom can be an issue for those athletes still enjoying the facilities here at Team GB holding camp and now itching to join the action in Beijing.

In between their carefully regimented training regime, time is filled with music, the odd book, a game of pool in their exclusive lounge.

But like an excited child desperately trying to kill time on Christmas Eve during the seemingly endless wait for their presents, restlessness can set in, so some bright spark came up with the idea of "A Question of Sport" style quiz night at to keep the troops entertained.

Assuming the role of Sue Barker was BBC TV track and field reporter Phil Jones.

Continue reading "Who won the team GB Question of Sport quiz in Macau?"

Mark Foster, GB flag-bearer at Beijing - a gold medal hope too?

Today is tinged with sadness for me as I bid farewell to the Olympic countdown that has been my life for the last three and-a-bit months (I have done bits of other stuff too, just in case the boss is reading and, yes, I have had a haircut).

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 1 day - Golden GB"

First of all let me apologise about the relative blogging silence from me in the last few weeks. As I'm sure you can imagine it has been a furiously busy period for me and all the other guys, not only in the judo team but also all of the other sports who will make up Team GB in Beijing in August.

Since the last time I wrote on the BBC website I have been through a torturous three weeks in Japan, felt the strain of injury on the return to Scotland and the relief of getting back to business on the mat.

I have shown that I can win medals when everything goes wrong and most recently I experienced what being a member of Team GB - rather than the British judo team - feels like when I was kitted out in my Olympic gear last week.

Continue reading "More lessons learned before Beijing"

David Starbrook and Brian Jacks with their 1972 Olympic medals (left) and Team GB Olympic medal hope for Beijing, Craig Fallon, after winning World gold in 2005

Continue reading "Olympic countdown - 25 days - Superstar judo"

Each Friday, we put together a podcast of the best of the BBC's Olympics coverage in the run-up to the Games.

This time around the star feature is an interview from Up All Night, where Musty Aziz pays a visit to Scottish judoka Euan Burton.

Continue reading "Olympics podcast: Judo and Paralympic swimming"

Welcome to our Olympics and Paralympics blog, which we are launching as the countdown to the 2008 Games begins in earnest.

Wednesday marks exactly 100 days to go to the 8 August opening ceremony (though oddly enough the football tournament starts two days earlier).

Writers from across BBC Sport, Radio 5Live, BBC London and BBC News will bring you the inside track on all 28 Olympic sports, as well as the Games themselves - which are set to be truly fascinating, if controversial, given China's hosting of them.

One of the uncertainties at the moment from a British perspective is whether the Games will turn out to be a triumph - or a failure. My view is...

Continue reading "Welcome to our new Olympics blog"

Keep reading this blog for all the latest about the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing and also for the inside track on the long build-up to London 2012.

News and reports will be on the BBC Sport website but our experts will bring you behind the scenes access to the world's biggest sporting event right here.

All of our bloggers are keen to hear your views and we want people to engage and comment on what we have to say.

To find out more about all our contributors, check our about their author pages.

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Continue reading "About the Olympics blog"

I'm going to my first Olympics in Beijing and compete in judo's -81kg division.

I won World Championship bronze in Brazil last September, beating Athens gold medallist Gieuseppe Maddaloni to qualify for the Olympics.

I have been a judoka since the age of six and gained my black belt 10 years later.

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