The Big Read (Paralympics)

Tom Degun: Down the bob skeleton track

Whilst my far more esteemed insidethegames colleagues Duncan Mackay, Mike Rowbottom and David Owen were rubbing shoulders with Presidents, Kings and a vast array of star-studded names at the 121st International Olympic Committee Session in Copenhagen, I was unceremoniously sent to the city of Bath last week`and informed that I would be heading down the practice bob skeleton track used by no less than the Great Britain skeleton team in their preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Mike Rowbottom: A slap in the face for Barack Obama

Defeat and Barack Obama. Barack Obama and defeat.

The two just don’t go together.

But they were forced together here by the judgement of the International Olympic Committee, whose 98 voting members not only awarded the 2016 Games to the irresistible rising force of Rio, but eliminated the Chicago bid - endorsed here by the presence of not just the President but also his wife – at the first round stage. The First Lady sings the blues...Chicago sings the blues...

Brendan Gallagher: The Daily Telegraph writer says Wiggins signing would complete the jigsaw for Team Sky

These are exciting but slightly fraught weeks for all concerned with Team Sky as the clock ticks down to their Pro-Tour debut in January when the “Tour Down Under” will see them race for the first time.

Forming a Pro-Tour from scratch is a strenuous and hideously expensive business - estimates vary from between £20-40 million and if you include the one-off start up costs I would vere towwards the latter - and the toughest thing of all is pulling everything together within a given timeframe.  You are hitting deadlines every day, hour by our hour, and the pressure begins to grow inexorably.

Suzi Williams: BT will make London 2012 the best connected Games ever

This Friday the world finds out the host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games - and I'll be waiting in anticipation along with everyone else.

I'll never forget the surprise and celebration in Trafalgar Square on that July day in 2005 when we heard London had won. Dame Kelly Holmes and the Red Arrows were the stars of the occasion and the tickertape continued long in to the evening. It was a fantastic day for the UK, and the start of something really exciting. I joined BT shortly after and quickly found myself at the heart of BT's own London 2012 adventure.

Mike Rowbottom: With Madrid bidding for 2016, our chief feature writer recalls a memorable night in the Spanish capital

Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo - the four latest contenders to host an Olympic Games are preparing for the final, awful, joyful reckoning in Copenhagen next week. And when the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) come to weigh up their respective strengths, personal impressions will inevitably play a part.

Try as they might, the 106 men and women at the heart of the world’s greatest sporting event will be unable to expunge any memories they may have of the prospective venues as they struggle to come to the Right Decision.

Mike Rowbottom: England, whose England?

At the end of his 1941 essay entitled "England Your England", George Orwell concludes that, though the Stock Exchange may be pulled down, and the horse plough may give way to the tractor, and the country houses may be turned into children’s holiday camps, and the Eton and Harrow match forgotten, "England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition, and yet remain the same."

David Owen: Filling the seats at London 2012 will be a big job but it can be done


With London 2012 now well on the way to hitting domestic sponsorship targets, notwithstanding the global recession, attention is set to move increasingly to the other sources of revenue that will help foot the bill for the Games: merchandising and ticketing.

Organising committee chief executive Paul Deighton told me more than three years ago that he was “quite excited about doing better than anyone has done before” in general merchandising and licensing sales. 

Fran Nicholls: Walking tall in the land of the giants


It’s almost two years since I successfully applied to UK Sport’s Sporting Giants programme. The scheme was looking for tall sporting amateurs with potential to challenge for major competitions in a selection of sports. I was given one of 20 places in the rowing category and, within a whirlwind three weeks, I had relocated to the South East from Leeds and suddenly found myself focusing ahead to London 2012! 

Tom Degun: The Windy City gets my vote

I have few doubts that Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo will all host fantastic Olympiads in seven years time should International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge dramatically call any of their names out in Copenhagen on October 2. But for me, the 2016 Games must go to Chicago.


Keith Bingham: An Olympic cycling road race round Windsor would be historic but is it practical?

The UCI’s call for more iconic London landmarks to be included on the course of the 2012 Olympic road race has set the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) a conundrum.

The UCI would prefer the race started in Central London and take in Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament before heading into the boring suburbs west to Windsor and Eton College, where the toffs are.