The Paralympics closing ceremony raised the bar for national celebrations. This Summer has made us all proud to be British and will hopefully and truly inspire a generation.
The 100 metres final last week was amazing. It was one of the highlights of this huge summer of sport and equally as good viewing as the Olympic 100 metres.If we were looking for the sport that put the Paralympics firmly on the map we found it. I was playing in a dodgeball tournament with 5 different nationalities. All play stopped when the athletes lined up and we all crowded round the TV to watch it. Everyone was enthralled.
Looking at the athletes on the start line, could only be described as looking like a scene from a sci fi movie. The race had everything, tension, hype and 10.9 seconds of pure thrilling entertainment.
Wasn’t it refreshing that it wasn’t just Jamaica v USA as we’ve become accustomed to in Olympic finals? We had representation from Brazil, South Africa, USA, China and obviously our GBR hero Jonnie Peacock. He also helped awareness of more runners than just Oscar Pistourious, who was the only sprinter I knew before the games.
I can’t wait for the blades to advance so they eventually run under 10 seconds. In fact I’d like to see them run under 9 seconds and just keep smashing world records. Surely the technology is in its infancy and we have so much more to come.
My theory is they should stop worrying about blade length v body proportions. Let them find the optimum length for the maximum performance. You might end up with very tall competitors, but eventually the blades will get too long and be detrimental to their performance.
It does amuse me when the losers talk about ‘fair’ when you have so many different forms of disability stood on the start line. There is nothing fair about the Paralympics, just amazing athletes pushing the boundaries of human endeavour.
I think we’ve truly witnessed the greatest summer of sport ever this year and I’ve been watching this on Freesat and not paying a penny. Wimbledon seems like years ago now. Euro2012 is ancient history. So many highs, from Mo, to Jessica, to Andy Murray to Sarah Storey – they’re household names now. We can be proud of our Olympics and Paralympics and proud of our athletes who competed in them.
Though I think they’re going to have to cancel the Sports Personality of the Year this year, how do you pick a winner from so many great candidates?
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 08th June 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 15th June 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 22nd June 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 29th June 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 06th July 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 13th July 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 20th July 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Friday 27th July 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Tuesday 31st July 2012
See Tim’s blog post from Thursday 06th September 2012
This great Summer of sport continues and I’m still loving every minute of it from the comfort of my sofa. Remote control in hand, Freesat on the telly, I’ve hardly missed a thing.
Everyone thought the Paralympics was going to be a success and we have not been disappointed. GB Medals galore, our emotions in overdrive and tears flooding down our cheeks on a daily basis. It’s been said a million times, but I do think X factor will have to re-think their sob stories after hearing stories of human endeavour from the paralympians.
It’s great to see my children really in to the Paralympics. They sit opened mouthed in awe of these ‘superhumans’, but they do get concerned that it’s not fair when the disabilities are so varied in events. This is the hardest element of these games and working out the “level playing field” is a complicated job. For us, the viewer, trying to understand it is not that easy either. Though who better to talk you through it than the star of this summer’s British sports broadcasting, Clare Balding.
I’m sure you’ll agree the presenting talent and expert pundits on display at these games has been pretty impressive all round. I especially like Arthur Williams and I think it would great to see him present all sports when the Paralympics are over.
Also whilst we’re talking about the TV coverage whoever chose Public Enemy’s ‘Harder Than You Think’ as the theme music to the Olympic coverage deserves a pay rise, just brilliant. Well done to Chuck D and Flavour Flav for allowing it to be used, I understand it’s gone back into the charts - “Just like that”…
I’m enjoying the team sports at the games the most, all played with passion and skill. There’s been some immense contact in the football and basketball, no softies in these events that’s for sure. Remember on Wednesday to watch Wheelchair Rugby, formally known as murderball, now that is brutal!
So the legacy? Well, it’s good to see the French have been moaning again that we have the best equipment and we’re cheating. Isn’t it great that we are investing in all our athletes, with disability or not. It feels good and it works.
We actually should be proud of ourselves for the way we’ve put on this festival of sport. As a nation we’re leading the way and these have been 9 historic days for equality. Our children are going to grow up with a different perspective and a positive attitude towards disability.
Just to prove what a huge deal our British Paralympics are, here are some extraordinary figures. Athens pre-sold 1,000 Paralympic Games tickets. Beijing pre-sold 5,000. London pre-sold 2.3 million tickets. This says it all.
Please don’t let it end……..
The London Olympics is the best thing there has ever been on TV. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and I’ve run around my house screaming with joy.
Not only has it been a success for our medal count, it’s also been a huge success in making us proud of our country and hopefully it will leave a legacy. I’ll get onto that later.
So what were your highlights? Look, as Ian Thorpe would say, there are too many great moments for me to even start to make a list.
But I’ve watched the Olympics every time and I believe the real highlight has been the TV experience. I have never had so much choice. On Freesat I didn’t miss a thing. Well that’s a lie actually as there was so much sport you couldn’t get to watch it all. Seriously, how good was the Olympics on TV?
At one stage I stood on the remote control by a mistake, I forgot other channels were still broadcasting.
The biggest realisation I’ve had over the past week is how important time is if you’re an Olympian. How unbelievably long is a second in the Olympic Games? From sprinting to cycling through to basketball, hundredths of a second can be the difference between standing on a podium or going back to the village empty handed.
Little gems for me were discovering sports I didn’t know anything about. Handball has arrived on the map. Not only do I want to watch it, I’m gutted it wasn’t around when I was younger as I would have loved to have played it. Apparently all the UK handball sites crashed with demand for information.
The omnium in cycling was also a great watch, especially the elimination round. As someone said to me on twitter “all political disagreements should be settled with an omnium”. It would certainly make the world a better place.
My only criticism would be women’s gymnastics. The women are amazing, but the floor routines looked a bit dated. They need to drop the music and just do the tumbles like the men.
So on to the legacy. Apart from encouraging everyone to do more sport, hopefully it will change a few attitudes. For instance if you’ve watched handball, basketball, water polo and hockey they all have contact and none of the players seem to dive or feign injury. Also none of them run after the refs hurling abuse. There’s total respect for the officials and the oppo which makes our national sport, football, look a bit crass. As many papers and columnists have said, football is not looking good at the moment.
As a Chelsea fan I’ve had to put up with more than my fair share of divers so I know how frustrating it is. I don’t think we should ‘football bash’ as it’s one of the great sports in the world, but now is the ideal time for the players and authorities to clean the game up and bring it up to date. No more cheating the fans!
Also doing the rounds online is the excitement of good female role models like Jess Ennis, Jade Jones, Lizzie Armitstead, Victoria Pendleton, Becky Adlington ….the list is endless. This is a subject close to my heart being a father of two daughters. There’s actually a campaign to try and encourage the media to feature better female role models, but if people are still watching TOWIE and shows on Katie Price, we only have ourselves to blame.
Maybe the real Olympic legacy will be our children aspiring to be more than just reality stars. We can dream!
Next up is the Paralympics which is also going to be amazing and make us proud all over again.
See you then.
Read Tim’s blog from Tuesday 31st July 2012
Olympics so far? I have loved every minute of it.
It seems a life time ago the cauldron was lit at the Opening ceremony, so much has happened since.
It’s hard to know where to start, but if I could be an Olympian I would want to be a gymnast. This is the real wow event of the games and can you believe our men got Bronze? For 10 minutes we even had the Silver until the Japanese team appealed about their last routine. The last time we got a medal in men’s gymnastics was 100 years ago when we got a bronze. Bearing in mind we were 23rd in the world only 9 years ago, this is quite frankly outstanding! What these guys can do with their bodies is incredible. They are my heroes.
Our girls have also been making us proud. Like the whole nation I felt so sorry for Mark Cavendish and the GB men’s Road race team, so it was wonderful to see Lizzie Armitstead get silver the following day. Also who can’t love Rebecca Adlington? She’s one of my favourite Olympians. She comes across so well. She’s got a Bronze in the 400 metres freestyle which isn’t her favourite event, so fingers crossed for Gold in the 800 metres.
During the last few days I have watched everything from table tennis to Equestrian. The only two events I’ve not really got into are the football and the tennis, not that I have anything against them being in the Olympics, but I’m enjoying watching sports I don’t normally see. I’m actually glad they’re both in the shadow of smaller sports for two weeks.
Obviously being the host nation we get entry to events where we might not normally qualify. This will hopefully be good for developing those sports, but can give a false impression we’re not doing that well at these games when we lose.
I went to see the Team GB men’s team play handball in the Copper Box at the Olympic Park. They were playing France who I’m told are one of the best teams in the World. I don’t think our team would disagree with me if I said France were playing at a totally different level.
As I understand it, the GB Handball programme has only been up and running for 6 years. I thought our boys were great, but we took a bit of a hammering 44-15. The match after saw a much tighter affair where Denmark beat Hungary in the last few minutes 27-25.
Let’s hope the exposure from these Games gives these sports the helping hand needed to establish them here. It’s definitely converted me to a handball fan! I would have loved to have played it as a kid.
The only thing I would say about being at the Olympic Park is even though it’s amazing place to be, I did miss sitting in front of my TV able to watch ‘everything’ going on. At the moment I would say I’m up for the Bronze medal for watching the Olympics, but there’s a long way to go and I think I’ll have that Gold round my neck by the end of the two weeks!
Another medal which needs to be handed out is to Clare Balding, who has made the Aquatic centre her own. Her partner by the pool, Mark Foster, has also been excellent. Though the biggest BBC star for me so far is Jake Humphrey. He really is a top notch broadcaster; I think he’s the new Des Lynam, don’t you?
Over the next few days I’m looking forward to watching Water Polo, Weight Lifting, Rowing, Judo, Fencing, Gymnastics and definitely more handball. If you’ve not watched it yet, you must.
I’ll be back soon when hopefully we have more medals.
Read Tim’s blog from Friday 27th July
So it’s finally here……Olympics time.
Last week I was lucky enough to run with the torch. I was excited before, but now I’m absolutely bursting. Two whole weeks of non-stop sport on the telly, does it get any better?
I only have tickets for the handball which I know very little about, but as you are probably aware by now I like watching most sports so I imagine I’ll enjoy it. I mean, there’s balls and goals; so what can there not be to enjoy?
I’m also going to go and watch the cycling as you can just watch those boys from the side of the road without a ticket. This should be a popular event after the heroics of our cyclists last week!
I hope you all watched the climax of the Tour De France on Sunday. Could it get any more exciting with Wiggins leading Cavendish through to the stage victory on the Champs Elysée in Paris?
I’ve watched the Tour De France for many years, but this one has to be my favourite. British team and British riders. As it’s been said many times, a few years ago no one could have imagined seeing a Brit win the whole thing. Truly amazing. I imagine Wiggins will be getting a letter before the Queens Honours’ List comes out, don’t you? He also must be the leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year. I love his line that he was going to draw the raffle tickets when he was handed the microphone for his victory speech. If it is sports ‘personality’; he will win hands down.
The Olympics has so much going on and so many great events so sitting in front of the TV is where you want to be and with Freesat I’ll be lucky enough to catch it all. There are 10,500 athletes from 205 nations competing to win 300 events from 26 different sports. Bearing in mind there are only 192 countries in the United Nations, this is pretty impressive.
But what to watch? Well, remember Swimming is always the first week and Track and field second. Team events go over the whole two weeks as they’re tournaments.
The swimmers have always had a bad reputation at the Olympic games as their events finish after the first week and then they do what most people would do after all the medals have been dished out, relax by the pool and party. You can imagine how frustrating this is for the people who have events at the end of the games.
So have a bit of sympathy for the competitors in mountain biking and modern Pentathlon as they have to wait two weeks to compete on the very last day. No Jägerbombs and jumping in the pool naked for them!
Anyway if you’re looking to see people win medals from day one join me watching the the swimming, weightlifting, shooting, judo, fencing, equestrian and road cycling.
See you next week when hopefully we’re celebrating our medal winners and discussing which commentators are blagging knowledge of minority sports the best.
Read Tim’s blog from Friday 20th July
So onwards and definitely upwards in the Tour De France, those mountains aren’t getting any shorter are they? I’m sure you agree it’s great to see Bradley Wiggins wearing the Yellow Jersey for 10 stages and he’s now got more cuddly toys than a five year old, (I stole that joke off a follower on Twitter).
For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about I’ll explain. At the end of every stage when they’re handing out the Jerseys, Bradley gets the Yellow Jersey, a bunch of flowers and a toy lion. The reason being the French bank, Crédit Lyonnais, is a big sponsor of the tour and it awards a toy lion - Le Lion en Peluche - to each day’s winner as a play on its name. Bradley always holds his flowers and his cuddly toy aloft in celebration at the end of each stage.
I spoke to Ned Boulting, one of the presenters on ITV 4 highlights show and he assures me the riders keep their toys. Though God knows where… they must be very difficult to frame.
So we’re now just a week away from the Olympics and there’s a smell of chaos in the air. Security problems, Olympics lane congestion, and the British weather all playing their part in pre-tournament nerves for the organisers. I’m not sure about the security or the travel arrangements, but I personally think we should embrace our weather.
Last week I watched some of the Aviva London Athletics Grand Prix from Crystal Palace as a warm up to the great event, and I can report the torrential downpour did not have the slightest effect on me watching from my sofa. I actually quite enjoyed the athletes competing in the rain. Let’s face it, it’s bound to lash it down at some stage so watching it on Freesat in the comfort of your home is the place to be and you won’t miss a thing.
Talking of bad conditions the British Open starts today from Royal Lytham St Annes and Tiger Woods has already had a moan about how hard the course is. I like it when the rough is extreme and the course is tricky, it makes for competitive golf. However, you have to say trying to pick a winner for a major tournament these days is difficult enough, even when the conditions aren’t so tough, so picking a champion of this Open is impossible.
I will go with Lee Westwood as I’d love to see him win a major.
What I’ll be watching this week
· The climax to the Tour de France ITV 4
· British Open on BBC
Remember to tune in to the final stage of The Tour De France ending at the Champs Élysées on Sunday as hopefully we’ll see Bradley Wiggins be the first British winner of Tour.
See you next week
Read Tim’s blog from Friday 13th July
So last weekend Marray and Murray did us proud at Wimbledon.
Marray winning the men’s doubles and Andy Murray getting to the final and pouring out emotions all over Centre Court, even the roof couldn’t stop the grass getting wet at the end of that final!
It was nice to see how much winning Wimbledon meant to Andy. In this age of huge sponsorship deals where athletes get millions for just turning up - irrelevant of results, I sometimes struggle to empathise with them. I don’t know about you, but seeing Andy pour his heart out to all of us was great for sport and fantastic for him.
I’m sure he won over a few fans which is good as he’s a top man, determined to win. It seems the lesson for any young sportsman out there is that win or lose, tears are good for a British audience. We like to know you care.
Talking of emotions it was also great to see Bradley Wiggins lose the plot in a press conference this week when they asked for his response to twitter rumours and accusation of performance enhancing drugs. Before storming out, his response was: “I can’t be dealing with people like that, it justifies their own bone idleness. Rather than getting off their a***s and doing something with their lives it’s easier for them to sit underneath a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of s**t…”
I’ve interviewed Bradley a few times and unless he’s a very good actor he’s not impressed with riders who cheat. It must be hard when people doubt you. He’s an amazing athlete and I understand his team’s training regime is intense.
I hope you’re all watching the Tour De France. We’re over half way through and Bradley Wiggins at the time of writing this is in the yellow jersey and he doesn’t look like he wants to give it up.
Doesn’t matter how many years I watch the tour, I still can’t get over how much pain those guys put themselves through for so many days in a row. I work up a sweat just watching from my sofa.
Only two weeks to go to until the Olympics and I think we need to all start learning the names of our Olympians. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a real buzz about it. I know there’s 26 different sports in the games which we’ll all be watching, but when I think Olympics I mainly think track and field. This weekend I think we should all watch the Aviva London Athletics Grand Prix from Crystal Palace as a warm up.I’m looking forward to catching all of the Olympic action on Freesat with the BBC’s 24 live HD Olympic channels.
So this is what I’m watching this week
Tour de France
Athletics from Crystal Palace
See you all next week when we’ll be within spitting distance of the Olympics.
Read Tim’s blog from Friday 06th July
How long ago does the Euro 2012 seem?
It was a good tournament and I enjoyed the final. When Spain switch it on, they’re a bit special aren’t they? They’re the first team to retain the Euros and by winning the World Cup in the middle it suggests they’re one of the greatest international teams of all time. Three major trophies in four years is pretty impressive.
My personal victory was ending up with over 50% prediction success rate, I was happy with that.
Wimbledon has been great this year as always. Good tennis, rain, shocks and drama, it never fails to deliver. I also enjoyed the introduction of night matches with the roof on Centre Court. No disrespect to The Voice, but Andy Murray playing tennis is the sort of Saturday night entertainment we want.
I don’t want to tempt fate and it can’t have escaped your notice, but we have a really good chance of having a Brit in the final. I find watching tennis really quite painful sometimes as every point seems so important. Watching Andy Murray is the hardest as his confidence seems to swing so dramatically during every match. He is the Hulk Hogan of tennis - he looks down and gone and then from nowhere he’s back and unbeatable. If he doesn’t win this year, it’s not through the want of trying. I’m looking forward to watching all of the action in 3d with my Freesat box.
Though I have to say if I hear the “He’s British until he loses and then he’s Scottish” joke one more time I think I‘ll scream. Actually there seems to still be a bit of animosity towards Murray in some quarters - which I think is unfair. I know Andy and he’s a really nice bloke with a good sense of humour. He’s totally obsessed with trying to be the best. Is that a bad thing?
If you have your doubts I promise you if you went down the pub with him you’d have a laugh, although I imagine he would be on the Barley Water and crisps as I don’t think he drinks.
Is everyone watching the Tour De France? I’ve just come off a cycle ride where I did 200 miles in two days and I’m totally physically and mentally fatigued. How those boys do it for a month God only knows?
It’s been a torrid time for the riders on the tour with crashes galore. However, our hope for the Yellow Jersey, Bradley Wiggins, is still sitting in 2nd. We have a long way to go, but I’m sure he’s happy with that position.
Our World Champion, Mark Cavendish, seems to attract crashes these days. The latest came in the final three kilometres on Wednesday. It’s a dangerous sport and kissing the tarmac is all part of the job, especially for the sprinters. Cav’s shirt was ripped, but he got back on the bike and is able to carry on.
Later on Twitter Cavendish said “Taken some scuffs to my left side, but I’ve bounced pretty well again.”
There’s never a dull moment in the tour so make sure you try and watch some.
So this is what I’m watching this week.
Tennis: Friday 6th July is men’s semi-finals day, which will be covered between 13:45 and 18:00 on BBC one and from 17:50 until 21:00 on BBC 2. The ladies final will be on from 13:30 until 18:00 on Saturday 7th July and the men’s final will showing from 13:00 until 17:30 on Sunday 8th July.
TDF: Showing most days over the next two weeks between 14:00 and 16:30 on ITV4.
See you next week when hopefully we’ll be talking British Wimbledon Champions…
Read Tim’s blog from Friday 29th June
This is one of those weeks that we all absolutely love with 3 huge sporting events all on at the same time. Tennis, Cycling and obviously the final of Euro 2012.
I think the tournament has turned out well with most games being a good watch. Did you know that for Euro 2014 they’re extending the competition from 16 to 24 teams which is interesting, I’m not sure how that works mathematically. Anyway at the time of writing this Spain are in the final, but we don’t know their opponents yet. I’m predicting Spain to win whoever they play, let’s just hope it’s a good game and they play with at least one striker.
Sunday sees the start of the the 99th Tour De France (TDF) starting from Liege in Belgium. 22 teams each consisting of 12 riders will set off on the 3,497 km journey over the next month. Regarded as one of the toughest endurance sports, they fight it out for 3 jerseys - Yellow, overall leader, Green, points leader, (points are earned for where you finish the stage, most for 1st etc) and red polka dot jersey for the king of the mountains.
It is a unique sport as they’re riding in teams but with a game plan to help individual riders to the finish line. I’ve always been fascinated by the TDF and watch it every year and yet I still don’t really understand the intricacies of it; I suppose that’s the appeal.
If you’ve never watched the TDF, this is definitely the year to do so as we, Britain, have two of the stars of the cycling world in Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Plus they ride in the same team, Team Sky, so it’s a very British set up that we can get behind.
Wiggins is hotly tipped to win the yellow jersey and Cavendish is a good bet for the green one. So, it’s going to be fascinating to see which one of them is the team’s priority and how they work to try and bring both riders success.
It can’t have escaped your notice that the greatest tennis tournament in the world has started. I like watching tennis from all over the world, but you have to agree there’s something special about the grass courts of SW19. The only tournament where the players still have to wear white, the traditions are one of the reasons the players, as well as the spectators regard it so highly.
Can Andy Murray win it? I for one hope so, but it’s a pretty tough ask. Andy is a top player, but he’s playing at a time when the standard is unbelievably high. Arguably three of the best players tennis has ever seen stand in his way to victory. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are immense and are all capable of winning the trophy again.
If you want my predictions I think Sharapova could be hard to beat. Though it’s early in the competition, so I might change my mind next week. Ha ha.
So, this is what I’ll be watching this week:
· Euro 2012 Final on Sunday - BBC1 and ITV1
· Tour De France - ITV 4
· Wimbledon - BBC1 and BBC 2 (and probably on iPlayer)
Enjoy all the lovely sport and I’ll be back next week.
See Tim’s blog from Friday the 22nd June
Well I have to say at this stage of the Euros I had envisaged I would be writing a blog about how England were out of the tournament, but we’re still in it and we’re in with a shout of winning the whole damn thing!
Some of you will laugh at the idea of us being champions, but being a Chelsea fan I have experience of the unexpected happening. This coming season marks 30 years of me going to Stamford Bridge. In that time I never thought I would see us win the Champion’s League. With all the shenanigans of last season God knows how we achieved it! Though win it we did, with a part time manager and a team in disarray.
I have watched England for years and probably, like you, believed we could win tournaments many times only to feel let down when we exited the competition. This time I didn’t believe we could win a match let alone the whole thing, but things are starting to go our way.
Let’s face it, we’re not the best footballing team in the competition, but when that ball crossed the line and was not given against Ukraine I started to think the footballing gods might be looking after us.
I suppose this is why we all love football so much, you just can’t ever really predict what’s going to happen. Football always finds ways for the underdogs to win matches. This tournament has a history of the unfancied nation lifting the trophy, just look at Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004; England 2012?
Anyway, my predicting percentage has now dropped below 50% which is not good. However it’s now become easier as there are only two options for each match as there has to be a winner.
Here is what I’m watching this week and my predictions:
Fri 22nd June ITV 1 Germany v Greece Germany win
Sat 23rd June ITV 1 Spain v France Spain win
Sat 24th June BBC 1 England v Italy England win
What do you think?
I’ll be back next week hopefully talking about England in the semi finals.
See Tim’s blog post from Friday the 15th June