Happy Olympic Day!


The Big Read


I just want to be remembered as someone who made a contribution says Fennell

By Tom Degun in Guadalajara

Tom Degun_in_GuadjalaraOn November 11, 2011, in St Kitts and Nevis, at precisely 6pm local time, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Mike Fennell will open an envelope to reveal whether Australia's Gold Coast or Hambantota in Sri Lanka will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The announcement, which will come at the end of the CGF General Assembly on the two-island nation, will undoubtedly bring joy for one candidate city and despair for the other but for Fennell himself the eagerly anticipated moment at the St Kitts Marriott Resort will be bittersweet regardless of the outcome.

This is because the announcement will be the 76-year-old Jamaican's last official act as CGF President and following the conclusion of the gathering in Caribbean, he will immediately stand down from the role and hand over the reins to current CGF vice-president Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia - the only candidate standing for the prestigious position of President.

Endacott planning to put her medal hopes on ice

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike RowbottomThis month's announcement that Katherine Endacott (pictured below), the Commonwealth 100 metre silver medallist and sprint relay gold medallist from Delhi 2010, would be joining Britain's bobsleigh team came just a day after similar news from the German bobsleigh camp.

The team boasting Sandra Kiriasis, the 2006 Olympic champion and triple world champion, had taken on former shot putter Petra Lammert, the 2009 European indoor champion and former European under-23 champion.

These former track and field athletes have both been recruited to perform the role of brake woman, employing their explosive power to get the bobsled off to a flying start.

An American in Glasgow: From top-level wrestler to being in charge of the Commonwealth Games

By Tom Degun in Glasgow

Tom Degun5
The rise of American David Grevemberg to chief executive of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee has been little short of meteoric.

For those in the sporting world, it is no great surprise to see the talented 38-year-old from New Orleans spearheading the plans for the biggest sporting event in Scottish history but it was actually a very unusual path that took him to the position in which he now sits.

Born the eldest of five children, Grevemberg was a hugely talented young sportsman to the point where he became a United States Olympic team contender as a college wrestler.

Baku are outsiders in the race for 2020 Olympics but you should never totally discount power of money

By Tom Degun

tom_degun_in_baku_28-09-11
Baku is a city full of contrasts.

The centre of the Azerbaijan capital is a quite wonderful, metropolitan area complete with designer shops, top restaurants, visitor attractions and the general atmospheric buzz that you would expect from Eastern Europe's fastest emerging area.

Well, Eastern Europe or Western Asia as Azerbaijan lies on the border between the two.

With Radcliffe and Bekele returning to action how will the rest of the field rise to the challenge presented by their comeback?

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike Rowbottom(1)So now we know. Kenenisa Bekele is back.

Well, we say back. The small but perfectly formed Ethiopian is  back to being the fastest in the world, after almost two years out with injury, although the time of 26min 43.16sec he ran in the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Brussels last week is almost half a minute off the world record he set on the same track six years ago - 26:17.53. Scary territory.

Paula Radcliffe's world marathon record of 2hr 15min 25sec, set on the roads of London two years before Bekele established his best mark, is also scary territory, being more than three minutes faster than any woman has ever managed for the distance.

Age no barrier for alchemist Arnold

By Mike Rowbottom in Daegu

Mike Rowbottom(24)One of best things about Dai Greene winning here in Daegu was it meant Malcolm Arnold winning too.

And typically, the coach acknowledged the Welshman's achievement without undue fuss.

"Malcolm gave me a thumbs up from the stands – but from where I was it could have been anything," Greene reported with a laugh after completing a ruthless progress from fourth to first in the final 150 metres of the 400 metres hurdles final, beating the 2009 World silver medallist Javier Coulson on the run in after clearing the last barrier behind him. "He will probably nit-pick a few things."

Decision to allow Pistorius to compete against able-bodied athletes a "complete farce" claims leading sports scientist

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike Rowbottom(12)As multiple Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, named in the South African team for the IAAF World Championships starting in Daegu later this month, prepares to race against able-bodied athletes for the first time in a championship setting, a fellow South African sports scientist is insisting, regretfully, that he should not be allowed to do so.

Dr Ross Tucker, a senior lecturer with the University of Cape Town's Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Department, has offered insidethegames a new analysis of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) decision in May 2008 to allow Pistorius to compete against able-bodied runners, something he says was "a complete farce".

Tucker also feels that Pistorius, who runs on carbon fibre blades known as Cheetahs, is benefiting from technological advances similar to those in Formula One motor racing.

There is still some ironing out of creases to be done but with five years to go the Rio spirit will ensure that the first summer Games in South America will be memorable for all the right reasons

By Andrew Warshaw in Rio de Janeiro

Andrew_Warshaw_new_bylineRio 2016 is today celebrating arguably its most important landmark since being awarded the games two years ago, with a special presentation marking exactly five years to the day to the opening of the first summer Games to be held in South America.

Some 300 Olympic, civic and commercial movers and shakers will convene in downtown Rio de Janeiro for an occasion that will inject a much-needed feel good factor after weeks of negative publicity over the staging of the World Cup two years earlier.

Exclusive: Start believing in London 2012, Coe tells British public

Alan_HubbardSebastian Coe was never one for complacency. He will cheerily tell of the moment soon after returning from Beijing when he was invited to lead a lap of honour of returning Olympians around the pitch at a Chelsea home game. As he paraded past The Shed end the crowd burst into an impromptu chorus of "There's only one Steve Ovett."

Those of us who have known him from lad to lordship will attest that counting chickens has never been one of his characteristics which is why exactly one calendar year from next Wednesday, when the lights go up on the most ambitious sporting extravaganza ever staged in Britain, the biggest sigh of relief in the royal box will be emitted from the lips of Baron Coe of Ranmore.

The man who has galvanised London's efforts from winning the bid in Singapore six years ago this month to sanguine fruition 372 days from now says he cannot wait for twelve minutes past eight (20.12 precisely on the clock -geddit?) on Friday 27 July 2012 (it's a leap year remember) when the new Olympic Stadium in Stratford will be the world's centrefold.

Williamson on perfecting her concentration for London 2012 and making Olympic history

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike Rowbottom(1)Normally, the grounds of Lilleshall's high performance centre in Shropshire are tranquil. It was to this remote location, where ornamental gardens lie within gazing distance of what once served as the Duke of Sutherland's hunting lodge, that Sir Alf chose to bring his merry men as he prepared them to win the 1966 World Cup, anxious that they should not be within reach of any establishments likely to make them - even remotely - merry while in training.

So the news that some of the few neighbours this sporting enclave enjoys have been complaining about noise comes as a surprise. But complaints there have been - about shouting, cheering, jeering. In short, complaints about a raucous crowd.

Alison Williamson, five-times an Olympian in Britain's colours, confesses: it's the fault of herself and her fellow archers.

Living with pressure in the build-up to London 2012

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike Rowbottom(1)Pressure is an inescapable, perhaps even an essential, part of sport. So here is what the England women's hockey team have been contending with at the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam.

The event involves the eight leading nations - so no easy matches here - and the onus was on England to finish in the top five, thus ensuring automatic selection for next year's event, which would provide an invaluable final warm-up for that other big event which comes around a little less often. The Olympic Games.

But, just as Britain did overall by winning so many medals at the Beijing Games, the England women raised the bar for themselves by finishing third in the last Champions Trophy. So despite having also finished third in the World Cup - having gone out of the semi-final on penalties - and at the Commonwealth Games, there was still a sense that they might have to do the same again to show it was not "a flash in the pan."


Kosovo in race against time to make it to start-line for London 2012

By Tom Degun

Tom_Degun_head_and_shouldersLater this month, those of you lucky enough to have secured tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games will be informed that you have been successful in the random ballot that decides who the precious pieces of paper go to.

Undoubtedly the most sought after tickets will be for the men's 100 metre sprint final where fans are desperate to see the seemingly inevitable Olympic Stadium showdown between reigning champion Usain Bolt and American Tyson Gay who is perhaps the only man who can stop the Jamaican superstar stealing the show at London 2012 as he did in Beijing at the Bird's Nest Stadium in 2008.

But it is not just these two great stars who people will desperately be hoping to see.

Commonwealth Games England buoyed by London 2012 effect

Mike_Rowbottom_Big_ReadBritain has an outstanding sporting distinction looming on the horizon – that of hosting the Commonwealth Games immediately after an Olympics.

And all those involved in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are proceeding in the expectation that it will benefit from the huge surge of energy and interest the London 2012 Games engenders.

It is not quite a unique opportunity - one other nation experienced this particular sporting double when Canada staged the 1978 Commonwealths - the first to bear the current name of "Commonwealth Games"- in Edmonton two years after the Montreal Olympics.

British gymnasts looking to learn as they gear up for London 2012

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike_RowbottomAny competitor preparing for anything at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre - home of, among others, the Grand National Archery GB and the British Gymnastics Association – is in an environment of rich sporting history.

The facility, which has been developed around the monumental 17th Century pile that once served as the Duke of Sutherland's hunting lodge, has played host to manifold sporting ambitions since being officially opened in 1951 by Princess Elizabeth.

It was on the fields of Lilleshall that Sir Alf Ramsey, assisted by Les Cocker and Harold Shepherdson, drilled his charges before their 1966 World Cup victory.