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General sport

Veteran British Olympians push for total ban on Russia

Posted July 25, 2016

The Sunday Times

24 July 2016 Leading British Olympians have warned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to “shirk” its responsibilities as a member of the governing body revealed fears that it would not impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes competing at the Rio Games.

The former swimmer Sharron Davies, javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson and long-distance runner David Bedford all urged the IOC to impose the blanket ban this weekend amid speculation the organisation’s president wants individual sports federations to decide Russia’s fate.

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But can medallists write?

Posted December 19, 2012

British Journalism Review

I grew up wanting to emulate Neville Cardus, the legendary cricket correspondent of The Manchester Guardian. In my Jesuit school, in the city I shall always call Bombay, Cardus’s essay on the cricketer Ranji was part of our syllabus. And while I realised that it would be difficult for me to be exactly like my hero – he spent his summers writing about cricket and his winters being the paper’s music critic – I felt sure that once The Guardian realised how wonderful my cricket knowledge was, they would find plenty for me to do in the winter. If nothing else, I could go on those long cricket tours which meant you escaped the English cold.

I must confess I have not fulfilled that dream. But then there are many other dreams I have not fulfilled, which include scoring a century in a Lord’s Test and the winning Cup Final goal at Wembley. However, while I may not have become The Guardian’s cricket correspondent, I have no complaints about how my career has gone. What worries me is that the younger journalists cannot even dream like me.

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The man who changed perceptions of Britain: Games-maker Lord Coe reveals why he is confident over London 2012 legacy

Posted December 18, 2012

Lord Coe receives his Lifetime Achievement award from the Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday. Image courtesy of The Sunday Times

The Evening Standard

After the magical summer that Lord Coe and his team conjured up, the reception he received as he stepped on to the stage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday came as no surprise.

An audience of 15,000 at the Docklands ExCeL Arena, including many of the Olympians and Paralympians who revelled in a home Games, hailed the man whose vision turned the dream of London 2012 into a glorious reality.

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At home: Katherine Grainger

Posted September 28, 2012

Financial Times

The Olympic rower talks about her 12-year struggle to strike gold, her academic career – and the healing power of safari

It’s very clearly an Olympic rower’s house right now,” says Katherine Grainger as she ushers me in from the rain into her red-brick house in Maidenhead, Surrey, in the south-east of England.

“Right now” suggests that she feels apologetic about her rowing paraphernalia lying unpacked in the study. This is odd after a summer of outstanding sporting spectacle, with Grainger’s story a scriptwriter’s dream. Dubbed the Steve Redgrave of women’s rowing, in three previous Olympics – Sydney, Athens, Beijing – she had to settle for silver. Then, on home waters, and with the nation holding its breath, she finally struck gold, victory in the double sculls giving her the place on top of the podium for which she had strived so hard, and for so long.

However, as Grainger leads me to the sitting room, it becomes clear that her rowing reference was not an apology but a statement about her home. She may have won 12 medals at world championships and Olympics since 1997 but, she says, “I use my house to get away from rowing in a good way. The only room with rowing pictures is my study. The others are deliberately not rowing or sport.” The sitting room is dominated by photographs of elephants and lions. “They give me perspective and balance,” she says. That was vital after the Beijing Olympics, where she lost gold in the quadruple sculls by a small margin. “It was a crushing disappointment, like suffering a massive personal loss. I had to go through a huge grieving process.” Read the full article

Phelps is not the greatest Olympian

Posted August 1, 2012

Evening Standard

Can we please get away from this pointless debate over whether Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian. Yes, he has won more medals than any other – 19, 15 of them gold – but that does not justify giving him the crown. For a start, it is difficult to compare athletes of different generations.

And it is one thing doing it in the same sport. But to compare athletes from different sports makes no sense.

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