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BBC…Clare Balding to lead Winter Olympics coverage.

9 Jan

BBC announces Sochi Winter Olympics coverage

The London 2012 Olympics produced two winners for the BBC. The first was acclaim for its unparalleled multi-channel coverage of pretty much all sports at the Olympics, and the second was Clare Balding.

Well for fans of multi-sport extravaganzas the goods news are that both are back for the Winter Olympics which starts in Sochi, Russia in four weeks time.

The BBC has promised that its programming will consist of Six HD streams across digital platforms to deliver over 650 hours of live action, covering every moment of Sochi 2014. New digital approach brings world-class live event coverage to audiences with over 200 hours on network TV plus two red button streams.

650 hours of sport over two weeks should keep even the most die hard sports junkie well taken care of.

Clare Balding’s informative, engaged and enthusiastic presentation during the Olympics was a ratings winner. So exemplary was her coverage that she was awarded a special BAFTA in  for outstanding achievement in factual presenting in recognition of her coverage of the Olympics.

Say what you like about the BBC, but they know a good thing when they see one, so no surprise that Clare along side Hazel Irvine and Jonathan Edwards will lead the BBCs team to Russia. She will no doubt be looking forward to another Olympic commentary gem like the now famous Bert Le Clos interview.

The 2014 Winter Olympics games runs from the 7th of February, 2014 to the 23rd of February, 2014 in Sochi, Russia

 

 

BBC1…Fern Britton meets Christine Ohuruogu

22 Dec

Christine Ohuruogu is arguably the most successful female athlete the United Kingdom has ever produced, more successful than Jessica Ennis, Mary Peters, Sally Gunnell, Denise Lewis or even Kelly Holmes, but a casual observer of athletics would never know that.

To say she has a very low key profile would be an over statement, why is that?  This is a lady who has won two consecutive Olympic medals, a gold in Beijing 2008 and a silver in London 2012, she has won five World Championship medals stretching from 2005 to this year across the 400 m individual and 400m relay events, and also numerous other medals in Indoor, European and Commonwealth Championships.

In BBC1′s series Fern Britton Meets, Fern set out to find what was the story behind Christine Ohuruogu.

One of the reasons that has long been given as the reason for the public and media’s reluctance to embrace Christine as a British sporting icon was the her ban in 2006 for missing three drug tests.

That headline alone meant she got tagged alongside athletes who were known to intentionally and repeatedly cheat, but in doing so it did her a massive disservice and harm to her reputation.

Most people would have never read the detail of the report that followed the investigation into her missed drug tests. If they had they would have read this

On the occasion of the third missed test, she failed to notify testers of a switch of training venue to Crystal Palace when she discovered her usual base at Mile End Stadium was hosting a school sports day.

But just nine days earlier, at the European Championship trials in Manchester, Ohuruogu had been asked to give a sample to testers after finishing fifth in the 200m. It came back negative.

Then, three days after the missed test, she was tested again, this time at the British Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, where she had finished last. Again, the results were negative.

and this

“In fairness, the committee should make clear its view as to the limited degree of fault attributed to her. This was a minor unintentional infraction of the regime due only to forgetfulness.

There is no suggestion, nor any grounds for suspicion, that the offence may have been deliberate in order to prevent testing. The omissions are too haphazard for any such suspicion to arise.

“The athlete was tested negative on several occasions during this period and has always co-operated with doping control officers. She did notify changes to her schedule on many occasions but failed in these three instances. Those failures are understandable given all the circumstances.

“Accordingly, if the committee had… a discretion to order a fair penalty, we would have imposed a sanction of three months, consistent with the [World Anti Doping Agency] code. But… the committee is obliged under IAAF rules to impose a fixed penalty of one year’s ineligibility.”

However in the frenzy of the sound bite driven media world we live in detail is often the first victim.

Fern sought out explore this and other issues with Christine. What we got was a calm, humble and articulate athlete. A woman who does not need the oxygen of media publicity to thrive, and arguably seeks to avoid it. Her bedrock was built on three things, a tight-knit family, a strong religious faith, and a bond with her community.

Her faith in her innocence saw her through the dark days of her ban from her athletics, and the belief of the people who surrounded her helped propel her back into the upper echelons of the sport she loves.

She may never become the face of athletics in the UK, but you got a sense from the interview that her heart does not  lie in that direction. She was seemingly more comfortable going round the schools of Newham her local borough, which she does often, spreading inspirational messages to the next generation of British sportsmen and women.

It may have all been a puff-piece to rehabilitate her image, but I personally came a way with a sense that what we saw was the real Christine Ohuruogu.

ITV…Best of Enemies – Roy Keane vs Patrick Viera

12 Dec

There was a time when the English Premier League was dominated by two teams, Manchester United and its London rival, Arsenal FC. For close to a decade, between 1995 and 2003, the Premier League title was swapped back and forth between these two teams.

Many great players featured in those title-winning teams, Theirry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, David Seaman, David Beckham, Paul Scholes amongst others. At the beating hearts of the two teams stood two men, Roy Keane and Patrick Viera. They were both midfielders, both captains and both very, very very tough tackling, dominant and abrasive footballers.

Whenever the football fixtures brought Manchester United and Arsenal together during those years, the match was guaranteed to be explosive and not just in the football sense. In these matches Viera and Keane were Centurions leading out their legions into battle and both men led from the front not shying away from confrontation both on and off the pitch. Their most famous confrontation was on October 2004, when a ruckus in the tunnel at the end of the game involved lots of shoving and barging and slices of pizza being used as weapons, and invariably dubbed Pizza-gate, with Keane and Viera very much in the mix of things.

Ten years later both men are back face to face, much older, a few pounds heavier and a lot more mellower than their younger selves. The setting was a disused warehouse somewhere, both men squared up to themselves, smiled.. and then began an hour long reminiscence of thier days in top flight football, this was ITV4′s documentary Best Of Enemies.

It was clear that there was much mutual respect between the two, and both saw their exploits over the years as a necessary means to an end, rather than an end in itself. They talked about their relationship with their respective Managers, the best players they played with and the battles between Arsenal and Manchester United.

If you are football fan this is an entertaining documentary and worth a watch. IF you missed it is still on ITV Player.

BBC1…Match Of The Day [Football Speak]

1 Dec

There are many things to love about football but one thing it does not get enough kudos for is unintentionally re-inventing the English language. Take today for instance, Chelsea had just defeated Southampton 3-1 and the highlights were shown on Match Of the Day 2 on BBC1.

One of the scorers in that match was Chelsea defender Gary Cahill who scored the first of  Chelsea’s three goals. Cahill had not scored in a while and when reminded of this fact in the post-match interview replied how he was “glad to get this duck of his back“.

I can’t help but feel this particular metaphor does not fit the bill…:-)

 

77 Years and finally Andy Murray delivers…Wimbledon comes home

7 Jul

Sometime one picture says it all. The moment of pure, raw and unadulterated joy!

 

MurrayVictory

 

Congrats to Andy Murray, it was well deserved.

 

Quick note to Alex Salmond, dude there is a time and a place. Andy Murray’s victory ending 77 years of waiting I suggest is not the place for a political point winning. Even if it is slightly amusing how David Cameron is totally unaware of what your getting up to. It is like the political equivalent of “Bunny Ears”

 

SalmondHijack

Sky News…Peter Odemwingie in Football Interview of the Year

2 Feb

You may not be a follower of football so I will try to set the scene.

Every year there are two periods when football clubs are allowed to buy and sell players. Clubs doing poorly looking to boost their team, teams saddled with under performing players looking to trim their wage bill, new Russian owners looking to recycle their billions, the transfer window as it is known attracts all sorts.

Like almost everything we humans do so much is left to the last-minute. Imagine a manic trading floor like in Wall Street or Trading Places, that’s what it is like in football clubs across the country on the last day of the transfer window with faxes whirring, email’s pinging and phones buzzing as deals are made, attempted to be made or reneged.

One player hoping to make a move was Peter Odemwingie who normally plys his trade for West Bromwich Albion (WBA) FC. He seemingly had become disenchanted with life in the Midlands and yearned for a change of scene.

His preferred destination Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) FC, a west London club languishing at the bottom of the league table and most notable these days for how much they are willing to pay in pursuing players to save themselves from relegation.

The would he wouldn’t he go saga was one of the story’s of the transfer window. On the last day of the transfer window so sure was Peter that the deal was close to being done he jumped in his motor to head down to West London.

Outside the grounds of QPR a  clearly elated Odemwengie gave this interview

Football is a fickle business, the deal never got done. QPR even refused him entry to the club and with his tail between his legs he’s had to head back to West Brom.  Cue widespread hilarity at his plight  and a classic tweet that went viral to the tune of Carly Rae Jepson “Call me Maybe”

“Hey, I just drove here. And this is crazy. I’m in your car park. So sign me maybe.”

BBC…Sports Personality of The Year (SPOTY)

16 Dec

If you enjoy watching sports on TV, 2012 has been MEGA!.  From the Manchester City’s last gasp win to snatch the Premiership from bitter rivals Manchester United, Bradley Wiggins historic triumph in France to win the Tour, the multitude of magic moments from the Olympics  and Andrew Murray’s winning his first grand slam after the emotional heartache of Wimbledon.

So many magic moments, how do you choose a winner for the sports personality of the year. Well it has to be done and tonight is the night.  The nominees were

  • Andy Murray – (US Open Champion, Olympic Gold [Tennis])
  • Bradley Wiggins – (Tour De France winner, Olympic Gold [Cycling])
  • Ben Ainslie – (Olympic Gold[Sailing])
  • Chris Hoy – (Olympic Gold [Cycling])
  • David Weir – (Paralympic Gold[Wheelchair Racing])
  • Ellie Simmons – (Paralympic Gold [Swimming])
  • Jessica Ennis – (Olympic Gold [Athletics])
  • Katherine Granger - (Olympic Gold [Rowing])
  • Mo Farah - (Olympic Gold [Athletics])
  • Nicola Adams - (Olympic Gold [Boxing])
  • Roy McIlroy – (PGA Championship 2012 Winner, Ryder Cup 2012)
  • Sarah Storey – (Paralympic Gold [Cycling])

The show as expected was heaving with sporting celebs, the great, the good, the okay and the not so good.  It was also heaving with nostalgia as we were taken back through the glory days of 2012, ably assisted by  mini montages of all the great moments. I have to say no one does montages better than the BBC.  My favorite was from ‘Super Saturday’ the day Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah came good winning three golds in the space of 46 golden minutes

Other great moments were the audience doing the Poznan, when Vincent Company and Sergio Aguero came one, that was brilliant. The award to Martine Wright, a victim of the 7/7 bombing who went on to represent the UK in sitting volleyball at the Paralympics was special, as was the segment with Fabrice Muamba.

It wasn’t all about celebrity honorable mention also goes out to Jim and Sue Haughton who won the unsung hero of the year award.

In other awards Team GB and Paralympic GB won team of the year. Coach of the year went to Dave Brailsford, cycling GB supremo. Usain Bolt won overseas athlete of the year. Lifetime achievement went to Seb Coe.

Then it was all down to the big one. Drum roll and the third place went to…. Andy Murray (shame I really wanted Andy to win, the Wimbledon Final, The Olympic Gold and the US Open were incredible achievements).

Second place went  to the Golden Girl Jessica Ennis and the winner was….Bradley Wiggins.  Congratulations sir, not my preferred choice but a deserved winner.

p.s. From reaction on Twitter it looks like Jessica Ennis’s well appointed dress has bagged her another honour – Rear of The Year.

Match Of the Day…Michael Owen’s Movember Moustache of the Month

24 Nov

Michael Owen's spectacular moustache.

I presume this is for Movember or it could be Michael Owen is audtioning for the Cheshire franchise of YMCA.

He was proudly sporting this today on BBC’s Match of Day.