Sporting Witness

Sporting Witness

United Kingdom

The inside and personal story of the key moments from sporting history


Eddy Merckx - Tour De France Legend  

In 1975, the great Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx lost the Tour de France after being punched by a spectator during a mountain stage. The incident marked the start of the decline of a rider so dominant he was nicknamed "The Cannibal". British cyclist Barry Hoban recalls the punch and shares his personal memories of racing with Merckx. The programme was first broadcast in 2014. (Photo: Eddy Merckx. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Boris Becker - Teenage Wimbledon King  

In 1985, Boris Becker caused a worldwide sensation by winning Wimbledon as an unseeded teenager. He talks to Russell Fuller about one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. PHOTO: Boris Becker with the Wimbledon trophy in 1985 (Getty Images)

Sheryl Swoopes - Queen of Basketball  

In 1997, Sheryl Swoopes became one of the first stars of the newly-formed Women's NBA in America. Regarded as one of the greatest female basketball players of all time, Swoopes is also an Olympic gold medallist and a trailblazer for the women's game. She talks to Ashley Byrne. PHOTO: Sheryl Swoopes in action (Getty Images)

Fred Perry - Tennis Legend  

In the 1930s, Fred Perry won three Wimbledon tennis championships in a row, becoming a global celebrity. Simon Watts tells his story using BBC archive interviews with Perry and other players from a golden era of tennis. PHOTO: Fred Perry in action at Wimbledon in the 1930s (Getty Images)

The First Women's Cricket World Cup  

In 1973, seven teams of women cricketers took part in the first ever Women's Cricket World Cup in England. The successful tournament changed perceptions of the women's game and blazed a trial for the men's version of the World Cup. Ashley Byrne talks to June Stephenson of England and Dorothy Hobson of the West Indies. PHOTO:

Maradona's Failed Doping Test  

In June 1994 the Argentine soccer superstar failed a routine drugs test and was expelled from the USA 1994 World Cup. It signalled the end of his dazzling international career. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Dr Roberto Peidro, who was part of Argentina's medical staff at the tournament. Photo: Diego Maradona leaves the field for a routine drugs test, accompanied by a FIFA nurse, June 25 1994 (Getty)

Tibet's Football Team  

In 2001, a group of Tibetan exiles and a Danish ex-footballer teamed up to create the Tibetan national football team, in the face of many obstacles, including threats from China. Robert Nicholson talks to Michael Nybrandt and team captain Sonam Wangyal about their first ever game against Greenland. PHOTO: The Tibetan team lining up for their match against Greenland (Getty Images)

Celtic's "Lions of Lisbon" win the European Cup  

In 1967, Celtic became the first club side in Britain to win the European Cup when they defeated Inter Milan 2-1 in the final in Lisbon. The so-called Lions of Lisbon were all Scots born with a few miles of Celtic's stadium. Simon Watts tells their story using archive from BBC Scotland. PHOTO: Celtic just before the 1967 European Cup final in Lisbon (Getty Images)

Francis Chichester Sails The World  

In May 1967, the British sailor, Sir Francis Chichester, was given a hero's welcome when he completed an epic solo voyage around the world. Thanks to his frequent reports back to newspapers, the trip inspired millions of people, particularly schoolchildren. Simon Watts talks to Sir Francis Chichester's son, Giles. PHOTO: Sir Francis Chichester with well-wishers shortly after finishing his circumnavigation (Getty Images)

Chrissie Wellington - The Iron Lady  

In 2007, the British triathlete Chrissie Wellington was the surprise winner of the World Ironman Championship in Hawaii - the first in a series of victories and world records. Wellington only became a professional athlete in her late 20s after giving up a successful career in development. She talks to Lisa Needham. The programme is a Sparklab Production. PHOTO: Chrissie Wellington in action in a triathlon in Germany in 2011 (Getty Images Sport)

The 5:19 Football Riot in China  

In May 1985, Hong Kong inflicted an unexpected defeat on their neighbours and rivals China in a World Cup qualifying game in Beijing. The disappointed Chinese fans rioted and the Hong Kong team had to flee to the safety of their hotel. They later returned home to a heroes' welcome. Ashley Byrne talks to Hong Kong captain, Lawrence Kee Yu Kam.The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production. PHOTO: Lawrence Kee Yu Kam with a photo of his team celebrating in their hotel in 1985 (Private Collection)

Kerry Packer's Cricket Revolution  

It is forty years since the international cricket world was thrown into chaos when an Australian media tycoon called Kerry Packer set up his own super league for the world’s best players. In 1977, he brought a brash new form of the game to television, featuring one day matches played under floodlights with white balls, and the players wearing coloured team strips rather than the traditional white clothing. Tayo Popoola hears the memories of Jeff Thomson of Australia, and Clive Lloyd of the West Indies, two of the players who signed for Packer, and risked never playing again for their country again. The programme is a Whistledown Production. PHOTO: Kerry Packer fielding questions in 1977 (Getty Images)

The Japanese Women's Football Team  

In 2011, the Japanese Women's football team defied the odds to win the World Cup. It came as a badly needed boost for Japan which was recovering from a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Robert Nicholson speaks to Japan's star midfielder Mizuho Sakaguchi and coach Norio Sasaki. Photo: The Japanese Women's team pose before the World Cup Final match between Japan and the USA in 2011. Credit:Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Simon Beresford – Marathon Runner with Down's Syndrome  

In 2007, Simon Beresford became the first runner with Down's Syndrome to complete the London Marathon. Simon has gone on to run several more marathons and raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity. Rebecca Kesby met Simon, his running partner and his parents at their home in the English Midlands. PHOTO: Simon Beresford and running partner, John Dawson (Family Collection)

Janet Guthrie - First Woman at the Indy 500  

In 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 - the biggest race in American motorsport. Guthrie, a former aerospace engineer, had faced opposition and scepticism from male drivers and some sections of the press. She talks to Rachael Gillman. PHOTO: Janet Guthrie after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977 (Getty Images)

Red Rum  

In April 1977, Red Rum entered the history books when he became the first and only horse to win Britain's famous Grand National race three times. Red Rum and his trainer, Ginger McCain, became immensely popular figures in the world of racing and beyond. Simon Watts tells their story through the BBC archives. PHOTO: Red Rum in the Grand National winner's enclosure in 1977 (Getty Images)

The rise and fall of Parma Football Club  

In the 1990s, the small Italian city of Parma had one of the most successful and entertaining teams in European football, winning several trophies and featuring great players such as Faustino Asprilla, Gianfranco Zola and Guinluigi Buffon. But FC Parma’s glory days were bankrolled by the Italian conglomerate, Parmalat, which later became embroiled in one the biggest corporate scandals in European history. FC Parma now languish in Italy’s third division. Nick Marsh talks to Parma super-fan, Vittorio Farnetti, and historian and former Parma resident, Tobias Jones. PHOTO: Parma's passionate fans in 1993 (Getty Images)

Kirsty Coventry - Zimbabwe's Golden Girl  

In 2004, the Zimbabwean swimmer, Kirsty Coventry, won the first of two Olympic gold medals at the Athens games. By the end of her career, she would become the most decorated Olympian in African history and a hero in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe hailed her as a "Golden Girl". Kirsty Coventry talks to Nija Dalal-Small. The programme is a Sparklab Production

Lucho Herrera - Colombian Tour de France Hero  

In 1984, Lucho Herrera, a former gardener from the Colombian mountains, stunned the world of cycling by storming to victory on the most famous climb in the sport, the Alpe d'Huez. It was the beginning of a golden age for Colombian cyclists. Simon Watts talks to Lucho Herrera, and Colombian cycling fan, Matt Rendell, author of Kings of the Mountains. PHOTO: Lucho Herrera on an Alpine stage in the 1980s (Rex).

Pakistan Cricket Bus Attack  

In March 2009, heavily-armed gunmen attacked buses carrying the touring Sri Lankan Cricket team and match officials to a game in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Rebecca Kesby speaks to Ahsan Raza, a Pakistani Umpire who was badly injured in the attack, and Chris Broad, the British referee credited with saving his life. PHOTO: Pakistani police patrolling the cricket stadium in Lahore following the 2009 attack (Getty Images)

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