Sporting Witness

Sporting Witness

United Kingdom

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


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)

Lionel Rose - Aboriginal Boxing Hero  

In February 1968, the aboriginal fighter Lionel Rose was cheered by Australians of all races when he won the world bantamweight boxing title. Ashley Byrne talks to Rose's rival and later friend, Noel Kunde. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production. PHOTO: Lionel Rose celebrating his world championship victory in 1968 (Getty Images)

Nancy Kerrigan Attack  

In January 1994, the US ice-skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee shortly after a training session, putting her Olympic hopes in jeopardy. To the shock of America, the plot was traced back to the entourage of one of Nancy Kerrigan's rivals, Tonya Harding. In 2012, Kerrigan's coach, Mary Scotvold, gave her first interview about the attack to Sporting Witness. The programme is a Whistledown Production. PHOTO: Tonya Harding (left) and Nancy Kerrigan (right) during practice at the 1994 Winter Olympics (Getty Images)

FC St Pauli - Germany's "Pirate" Football Club  

In the 1980s, punks and squatters in the run-down port district of Hamburg began to adopt the local football team, FC St Pauli. They turned the club into a champion of left-wing politics and created such a good atmosphere at matches that FC St Pauli now attracts supporters from around the world. Results on the pitch are still poor, but on one memorable occasion in 2002, the team beat German giants, Bayern Munich. Claire Bowes talks to FC St Pauli fan, Sven Brux. PHOTO: FC St Pauli fans flying their Pirate flags (Getty Images)

Doug Williams - First Black Quarterback at the Superbowl  

In 1988, Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins made history by becoming the first African-American quarterback to play in the Superbowl - the biggest sporting event in the USA. Williams overcame injury to lead the Redskins to an unexpected 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos. He speaks to Lisa Needham. The programme is a Sparklab Production. PHOTO: Doug Williams in action at the 1988 Superbowl (Getty Images)

South Korea's King of Computer Gaming  

In the early 2000s, competitive computer-gaming, or eSports, began to take off in South Korea before spreading to the rest of the world. Ashley Byrne talks to e-gamer, Lim Yo-hwan, nicknamed Boxer, one of the biggest names in the new sport. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production. PHOTO: An e-gamer taking part in a tournament in South Korea (Getty Images)

Jutta Kleinschmidt - Woman Winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally  

In January 2001, the German driver, Jutta Kleinschmidt, became the first - and only - woman to win the Paris-Dakar rally, one of the biggest events in motorsport. She talks to Simon Watts. PHOTO: Jutta Kleinschmidt celebrating her victory in 2001 (Getty Images)

Abhinav Bindra - India's First Olympic Gold Medalist  

In 2008, India won its first ever individual gold medal in the Olympics after nearly 100 years of trying. The winner was a rifle shooter called Abhinav Bindra, who received more than 300,000 letters of congratulations from his fellow Indians. Abhinav Bindra talks to Farhana Haider about his obsessive battle for victory. PHOTO: Abhinav Bindra with his Olympic gold medal (Getty Images)

Lamine Gueye - Senegalese Skier  

In 1984, Lamine Gueye of Senegal became the first black African skier to take part in the Winter Olympics. The grandson of a prominent Senegalese politician, Gueye founded his country's ski federation and for a long time was the only member. He talks to Tayo Popoola. The programme is a Whistledown Production. PHOTO: Lamine Gueye in action (Getty Images)

The Toughest Dog-Sled Race in the World  

The Iditarod dog-sled race runs through 1,000 miles of Arctic wildnerness in Alaska and is regarded as one of the toughest sporting events in the world. In the winter of 1985, Libby Riddles drew international attention to the Iditarod by becoming the first woman to win. She talks to Robert Nicholson. The programme is a Whistledown Production. It was first broadcast in January 2016. (Photo: Libby Riddles in 1985. Credit: Associated Press)

Esther Vergeer  

At the 2012 Paralympic Games, the Dutch wheelchair tennis player, Esther Vergeer, took two gold medals and completed one of the longest winning streaks in sport. By remaining undefeated for more than a decade, Vergeer became a hero in the Netherlands and earned the admiration of all tennis players. She talks to Ashley Byrne. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production. PHOTO: Esther Vergeer at the 2012 London Paralympics (Getty Images)

Love at the Cold War Olympics  

At the 1956 Olympics, the Czechoslovak discus thrower, Olga Fikotova, caused a scandal by falling in love with an American hammer thrower called Harold Connolly. Despite winning her country's only gold medal, Olga was treated as a potential traitor by the communist government and her achievements were ignored. A few months later, Harold Connolly visited Prague to marry Olga and take her back to America with him. Olga Fikotova tells her story to Claire Bowes. PHOTO: Harold Connolly and Olga Fikotova on their honeymoon in 1957 (Associated Press)

Texas Western - Black Basketball Pioneers  

In 1966, an all-black team went head-to-head with an all-white team for the National College Basketball championship - one of the biggest prizes in American sport. To the surprise of every pundit, the African-Americans of Texas Western College defeated the University of Kentucky, then the number one team in the country. The game is now regarded as breaking down the colour barrier in US basketball. Nija Dalal-Small talks to Nevil Shed of Texas Western. The programme is a Sparklab Production for BBC World Service. PHOTO: Texas Western celebrate their victory in 1966 (Getty Images)

Ammo Baba - Iraqi Football Hero  

In 2009, thousands of Iraqis gathered at the National Football Stadium to attend the funeral of the player and coach, Emmanuel Baba Dawud, better known as Ammo Baba. Ammo Baba was a beloved player, whose heading ability was legendary and who scored Iraq's first ever international goal. As a coach, Ammo Baba won many regional trophies for the Iraqi team and stood up to Saddam Hussein's sadistic son, Uday. His brother, Banwal Baba Dawud, talks to Ashley Byrne. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production. PHOTO: Mourners at Ammo Baba's funeral (Getty Images)

Women's Rugby Pioneers  

In 1996, England won the inaugural Home Nations championship in women's rugby. It was a major victory in the English players' fight for official recognition for their sport. Robert Nicholson talks to Gill Burns and Nicky Ponsford about how the women's game overcame entrenched sexism and official indifference. The programme is a Whistledown Production. PHOTO: The England women's team in action in the 1990s (Getty Images)

Mike Tyson  

In November 1986, aged just 20, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. Tyson came from a troubled upbringing in New York and only found a direction in life when he met the legendary trainer, Cus D'Amato. But, after D'Amato's death, Tyson's career was marred by a rape conviction and an ongoing battle with drink and drugs. He talks to the BBC Boxing Correspondent, Mike Costello. PHOTO: Mike Tyson on the way to his first world heavyweight title (Getty Images)

Graeme Souness and the Turkish Flag Incident  

In April 1996, the manager of Galatasaray and former Liverpool star, Graeme Souness, went down in Turkish football history. After winning the Turkish Cup final, Souness celebrated by planting a Galatasaray flag in the middle of arch-rival Fenerbahce’s pitch. The Scottish manager almost sparked a riot, but won the hearts of Galatasaray supporters. Graeme Souness speaks to Cagil Kasapoglu. Photo: Graeme Souness planting the Galatasaray flag in 1996 (Turkish television)

The "Phantom Game" in General Pinochet's Chile  

In November 1973, Chile played an international football game at the National Stadium in Santiago even though it was being used as a torture centre following General Pinochet's coup. Chile were due to face the Soviet Union, but the USSR boycotted the match, which the Chileans ended up playing against no opposition in a virtually empty stadium. Robert Nicholson talks to the Chilean captain, Leonardo Veliz. The programme is a Whistledown Production. PHOTO: General Pinochet's troops guarding the National Stadium in Chile in 1973 (Getty Images)

Jason McCartney - Bali Bomb Survivor  

In 2002, Aussie rules footballer, Jason McCartney, was seriously injured in the terrorist attacks in the tourist island of Bali. Despite suffering 50 per cent burns, McCartney regained his fitness and made an emotional return to top-level football. His story helped lift Australia's spirits after the worst terrorist attack in its history. He talks to Simon Watts. PHOTO: Jason McCartney after his comeback game for North Melbourne (Getty Images Sport).

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