Sporting Witness

Sporting Witness

United Kingdom

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


Nawal El Moutawakel - Pioneer of Muslim Women's Athletics  

In 1984, the Moroccan 400-metre hurdler, Nawal El Moutawakel, became the first Muslim woman to win an athletics gold at the Los Angeles Olympics. She talks to Rob Bonnet. PHOTO: Nawal El Moutawakel crossing the finishing line (Getty Images)

'Fast Freddie' Spencer - Motorcycling's Child Prodigy  

In 1983, American motorcyclist "Fast Freddie" Spencer won the world motorcycling championship aged just 21. Spencer won an epic battle against Kenny Roberts, another legendary US rider. Their rivalry is regarded as one of the fiercest in the history of the sport. Freddie Spencer talks to Simon Watts Photo: Freddie Spencer in action. Credit: Getty Images)

The Olympic Hero Who Rescued His Fellow Sailors  

At the 1988 Olympics in South Korea, Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was winning his race when he dropped out to rescue two fellow sailors who'd capsized in a storm. It's now regarded as one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship in the history of the Games. Emily Williams talks to Lawrence Lemieux and to Jo Chan, one of the Singaporean sailors he rescued. PHOTO: Racing boats in a storm (Getty Images)

Alison Hargreaves  

In August 1995, the British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves was killed in an accident on K2 in the Himalayas. Lucy Burns tells her story through archive BBC interviews and the memories of her biographer and fellow climber, Ed Douglas. PHOTO: Alison Hargreaves on Everest in 1995 (Press Association)

Sergey Bubka - Pole Vault Legend  

In August 1997, the Ukrainian pole-vaulter, Sergey Bubka, won his sixth consecutive World Championship in Athens. Bubka defied advancing age and a serious achilles tendon injury to claim victory with one massive vault. His performance is now regarded as one of the greatest in track-and-field history. Sergey Bubka talks to Alex Capstick. PHOTO: Sergey Bubka in action (Getty Images)

John Daly - The "Wild Thing" of Golf  

In August 1991, the maverick golfer John Daly became a superstar overnight by winning the US PGA tournament as a rookie. Daly's ferocious hitting and hard-living lifestyle had not been seen in the sport before and earned him a legion of fans. Ashley Byrne talks to two golfers who were on the course with the most controversial player in golf.

Pat Tillman - The American Football Hero Killed in Afghanistan  

In 2002, the American football star Pat Tillman became a national hero when he gave up a lucrative career to join the US army and fight in the war on terror. Tillman was a poster boy for the military, but two years later he was killed in a controversial friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. His friend and fellow American footballer, Jeremy Staat, talks to Dina Newman. PHOTO: Pat Tillman in action (Getty Images)

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 trail 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: The victorious England women's team in 1973 (Getty Images)

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. Credit: 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. Credit: 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. Credit: 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

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