The Olympics

The Olympics

United Kingdom

Will Perry, Eleanor Oldroyd and the BBC Radio 5 live team bring you the stories from London 2012 and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


Victoria Pendleton, David Weir and the original Blade Runner - Marlon Shirley  

A glorious summer of sport has finally drawn to a close, leaving much of the country feeling inspired. BBC 5 Live caught up with David Weir at the Athletes' Parade to speak about his extraordinary quadruple gold medal haul. Mo Farah and his former P.E. teacher speak about his initial steps into running. Northern Irish sprinters Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop tell BBC Ulster about their success at the Paralympics. Victoria Pendleton has had incredible success but she spoke about her difficulties dealing with the intense pressure of elite sport in a very frank interview with Victoria Derbyshire. US athlete Marlon Shirley had an exceptionally hard childhood; raised in an orphanage after being abandoned by his prostitute mother, he told BBC World Service how he overcame this to become the first Paralympian to break the 11 second mark in the 100 metres. Nearly everyone found themselves getting inspired by the London 2012 Games, including Sandi Toksvig on Radio 4's, The News Quiz.

David Smith, the Athletes’ Parade and Paralympic jokes  

As the London 2012 Games drew to a close, thousands lined the streets of London to cheer on the Athletes' Parade, including a very excited BBC reporter - Stephen Chittenden. Also present were triathlon superstars, the Brownlee Brothers, who told 5 Live about the impact of public support. David Smith revealed to Sportsweek how rowing saved his life. On Radio 2, Linda Roberts told Chris Evans how she couldn’t wish for any more for her son, gold medallist Jonnie Peacock. Despite topping the Olympic Games league table with 46 gold medals, United States slipped to sixth place in the Paralympics; Ruth Alexander investigated the issue for BBC World Service’s “More or Less”. What jokes can you make about the Paralympics? Robin Lustig debated where the line was drawn with Channel 4 presenter Alex Brooker and comedian Adams Hills for The World Tonight. Finally, 5 Live’s Shelagh Fogarty hears from some of the extraordinary Games Makers about their experiences at the London Games.

Oscar Pistorius’ outburst, Aled Davies and Philip Craven  

Ellie Simmonds stormed to victory after winning two titles and setting two world records. Among her supporters was Steve Simmons, her father who told BBC WM that her victories were not guaranteed. A delighted Aled Davies speaks to Chris Evans the morning after taking gold in the discus. Oscar Pistorius has been the poster boy for London 2012 but after losing the 200m final, he suggested that Brazilian Alan Oliveira had benefited from using longer blades. IPC Medical Director Peter Van de Vliet refuted these assertions on Radio 4. Pistorius issued an apology for the timing of his comments but on the Jeremy Vine Show, the debate raged as to whether his comments were a legitimate complaint or simply sour grapes. Silver medallist Aileen McGlynn speaks about her first forays into cycling in “The Paralympians”. IPC President Philip Craven reveals his delight in the media coverage of this year’s Paralympics. Finally, sailors Niki Birrell and Alexandra Rickham discuss their medal hopes.

John Harris, Stefanie Reid and “boosting” at the Paralympics  

The London Paralympic Games are looking set to be the greatest in the history of the movement but it was a very different story at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960, as Britain's first-ever gold medal winner Margaret Maughan told Peter White in "No Triumph, No Tragedy". In the pursuit of Paralympic gold, some athletes with spinal injuries have resorted to using an illegal technique called “boosting” during which they cause themselves pain, creating an adrenalin rush to enhance performance. BBC World Service looked at this secretive issue in "Inside the Paralympics". Sprinter and long jumper Stefanie Reid justifies switching her allegiance from Canada to Great Britain. Sainsbury Chief Executive Justin King explains why the Paralympics are big business for sponsors. Finally BBC Wales looks at the career of the legendary athlete John Harris who competed in five Paralympic Games and won a gold medal for discus in 1984.

The Paralympians touch down...and the secrets of the running blades.  

Over 2,000 athletes landed in the UK this week for the Paralympic Games including the Canadian wheelchair rugby player David Willsie and New Zealand sailor Jan Apel. In BBC Radio 1's "Against All Odds", Vernon Kay charts the journeys of soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq who are now going for Gold at the Paralympics, including Sam Bowen who had difficulties coping with post-traumatic stress and Major Martin Colclough who coaches ex-Forces Paralympians. BBC World Service "Inside the Paralympics" investigates the science behind carbon fibre running blades made famous by Oscar Pistorius. As a record number of Welsh athletes get ready to compete at the Games, BBC Wales speaks to table tennis players Sara Head and Rob Davis. Wheelchair tennis player Lucy Shuker looks forward to the Paralympics. Finally this week, as the flames of the Paralympic torch were lit on top of the UK's four highest mountains, BBC Ulster's Mark Simpson tries to justify his role in the base camp making tea!

The Father of the Paralympics, Greg Rutherford and Usain Bolt jealousy.  

A week before the biggest Paralympic Games ever, Eva Loeffler speaks to Radio 4 about her father Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a German Jewish refugee who started the Paralympic movement. Sprinter Libby Clegg on performing in front of a home crowd and running with a guide during the Games. Are the complex classification categories for disabilities holding the Paralympics back? Para-dressage rider Nicola Naylor and Baroness Tanni Gray-Thompson discuss their frustrations, and the use of blindfolds during competitions. BBC World Service’s “Inside the Paralympics” investigates the inclusion of athletes with intellectual disabilities for the first time since a Spanish team cheated at the Sydney Games. As we gear up for the Paralympics, what’s next for the Olympians? Long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford reveals how he is dealing with his new hectic life and his plans for Rio 2016. Comedian Rhod Gilbert takes exception to Usain Bolt’s declaration that he is “a living legend".

Olympic Homecomings, Gemma Gibbons, and David Roberts  

Judo Olympians, silver medallist Gemma Gibbons and her partner Euan Burton, tell Victoria Derbyshire about the public reaction to their victory and losses at the Games. As part of the BBC Scotland series “The Paralympians”, judoka Samuel Ingram speaks about taking bronze in Beijing and competing with his brother at the London Games. Swimmer David Roberts holds 11 Paralympic gold medals, just one less than Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson but he is unlikely to break that record after failing to qualify for the Paralympics. He reveals his disappointment and his thoughts on swimming for Sweden instead. Richard Dobell’s extensive volleyball career eventually took its toll, he speaks about switching to Sitting Volleyball after damaging his knee. As crowds in Northern Ireland turned out to welcome home Team GB rowers and brothers - Richard and Peter Chambers, and Alan Campbell, BBC Ulster caught up with three medallists and their proud supporters.

The Olympic Aftermath : Katherine Grainger, Oscar Pistorius and Lee Pearson  

As London 2012 draws to a close, has the Olympic experience changed the United Kingdom? Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson tells Richard Bacon about the last minute preparations for the Closing Ceremony. Olympians Katherine Grainger, Kat Copeland and Kate Walsh relive their first 24 hours after the Games. South African Oscar Pistorius may have broken new ground just by competing in the Olympics Games but he returns to defend his 100m, 200m and 400m titles at the Paralympic Games. He reveals what it is like to be the face of the Paralympic movement. Can Lee Pearson break Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson record of 11 gold medals when he rides for the British Para-Dressage team? Irish boxer Katie Taylor on the historic nature of these Games for female athletes and has this been the Women’s Games? Gold medallist Anna Watkins joins Woman’s Hour to discuss. Finally, if you are struggling post-Olympics, Radio 4’s The Now Show is on hand to help the nation come to terms with its grief.

Nicola Adams, the Brownlee brothers and making sense of the medal table.  

Nicola Adams describes the sacrifices she made to make history and win the first Olympic gold medal in women’s boxing. Alistair and Jonny Brownlee talk about their gruelling training schedule and the trials of living together. Colin Paterson from Radio 5 Live visits the Bingley Harriers triathlon club, where the Brownlee brothers have been training, to meet some of their biggest fans. Radio 4’s More or Less team examine the hidden statistics in the medal table. Shanaze Reade talks about her hopes for a BMX gold in London and importance of the home advantage. And Kirsty Lang asks Mike Kelt, CEO of special effects company Artem, what is in store for the closing ceremony.

Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis  

Team GB’s Mo Farah, gold medallist in the 10,000m, receives a surprise phone call from his school PE teacher on Victoria Derbyshire’s 5 Live show and we hear from Andy Murray prior to the Olympics, who told a live audience how he was hoping to put his poor performance in Beijing behind him. Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis take an alternative look at women’s boxing on Radio 4’s The Now Show and 100m champion Usain Bolt’s fellow Jamaican and on the track rival Yohan Blake gives an insight into the dynamics between the two men off the track. Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England discusses Olympic morals with Melanie Phillips and Michael Buerk for BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze and BBC Ulster’s Stephen Nolan reflects on a triumphant weekend for Team GB with Kriss Akabusi, Joel Taggart and Stephen Martin. Finally, Golden girl Jessica Ennis who claimed gold in the Olympic heptathlon catches up with Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave on the Radio One Breakfast Show.

Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Topping the Medal Table  

Rowing pair Heather Stanning and Helen Glover end Great Britain’s five-day wait for Olympic gold while BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo gets carried away cheering on Team GB’s cycling sprint team. Sir Chris Hoy speaks about the unique design of the London Velodrome where he achieved his fifth Olympic gold medal. Seven-time Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins speaks to Colin Murray about coping with the pressures of winning. After Chinese swimming star Ye Shiwen’s world record win at women's 400m individual medley, Radio 4's statistics programme “More or Less” asks if it really that extraordinary? World Service’s “The World Tonight” investigates the rivalry between China and USA at the London Olympic Games. Finally as millions tune in to watch the fastest 100 metres race in history, “The Now Show” speaks to the man who will fire the starting pistol.

Opening Ceremony, Rebecca Adlington and Olympic sex tests.  

Comedians Rhod Gilbert and Lloyd Langford reflect on the Opening Ceremony of the London Games while singer Alex Trimble speaks about performing during the lighting of the cauldron. Ahead of Rebecca Adlington’s attempt to defend her Olympic 800m freestyle title, she reveals her thoughts on setting world record in Beijing and BBC Radio Nottingham speak to her fans in Mansfield. South African Caster Semenya returns to the Olympics after having her gender questioned at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin three years ago, BBC Radio 4's "Woman's Hour" investigates if the IOC's policy on testing for female hyperandrogenism is fair? In "Learning to Lose - An Olympic Confessional", slam poet Marshall Soulful Jones brings together the confessions of North American Olympic competitors who discuss the shame and agony of their losses. Finally as men’s gymnastics team celebrate Britain’s first Olympic team medal in over a century, BBC WM speaks to Kristian Thomas' supporters.

Michael Johnson, Shanaze Reade and David Quantick and...the Games begin!  

Can David Rudisha dominate the 800 metres and finally achieve Olympic gold after missing out on Beijing through injury. Richard Bacon is joined by Olympian Michael Johnson and guests to discuss what may become the most competitive Olympic 100 meters race ever if Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay all run. As the rift between the BOA and triple jumper Phillips Idowu grows, UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee reveals why he will not be apologising. In a final London Calling, Eleanor Oldroyd speaks to rowing legends Martin Cross, Fred Scarlett and Kieran West about Greg Searle’s Olympic comeback. Can BMX rider Shanaze Reade put her bad luck behind her and secure a gold medal in London? David Quantick returns to Radio 2 to give the 2012 Games the full Blagger's Guide treatment.

Emma Pooley, Jeremy Hunt and fasting during the Olympics.  

After Bradley Wiggins’ historic win of the Tour de France, Team GB cyclist Emma Pooley speaks about going for gold. BBC World Service investigates how top Muslim athletes are coping with the rigours of training and fasting as Ramadan falls over the Olympic fortnight. Tickets for wheelchair rugby or ‘murderball’ as it was originally known sold out in record time but can Team GB capitalise on the home advantage? After six years of planning and in the face of a strike by border agency staff, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt speaks about an exciting and nerve wracking final week for the organisers. Millions of people worldwide will expecting to see records broken at the Olympics but can we really expect athletes to improve forever? Triple Jumper world record holder Jonathan Edwards, explores if or when we'll reach the limits of human physical achievement. Finally, how to convince the Boss to allow you to watch the Games at work.

USA Dream Team, Steve Backley and Olympic Village life  

The Olympic Village will be home to 16,000 athletes and officials during the course of the Games but is it all work and no play? Eleanor Oldroyd finds out about the more steamy side of life in the Village. Judo star Ashley McKenzie reveals how his bad behavior nearly saw him miss the Olympics. Six-time Olympian archer Alison Williamson returns to her old primary school in Shropshire, while four-time Olympian Steve Backley tells BBC Radio Kent about his predictions for the Team GB medal haul. Will Ethiopian swimmer Yanet Seyoum be the next 'Eric the Eel'? Hundreds of millions of us will watch the Olympics on television but what about those sports fans who are blind or partially sighted? Radio 4’s Mani Djazmi learned about the trained “describers” who will provide audio description during the Games. After Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant claimed this year's London 2012 USA team could beat the 1992 USA Olympic Team, 5 Live looks back at the original Dream Team.

Olympic security, Zara Phillips and 95 medals for Team GB?  

Lord Seb Coe, London 2012 chairman tells BBC 5 Live that Olympic security will not be compromised despite the contractor G4S’s failure to provide sufficient staff. As Britain’s Team Sky lead at the Tour de France, will they be able to recover in just five days to compete at the Olympics? Can Zara Phillips overcome her previous bad luck and make her Olympic eventing debut on her new horse High Kingdom? Radio 4 satirical “The Now Show” helps the young people digest all the latest news about the London Games. Team GB’s most capped hockey player Crista Cullen speaks about her recovery from recent injury and badminton singles player Rajiv Ouseph reveals his desire to inspire more young British Asians to become elite athletes. And can Team GB win 95 medals? It may be a pipe dream but that’s precisely what a panel of experts convened by BBC Radio 5 live's “Virtual Medal Table” predicted; Russell Fuller hears from the boxing experts and gold hopeful boxer Tom Stalker.

Olympic superstars are in town : Michael Johnson, Sally Pearson & Liu Xiang  

Among the host of international athletes making their final preparations at the Aviva London Grand Prix is one of the hottest favourites for Olympic gold - Australian 100m hurdler Sally Pearson. How will the international superstars cope with ‘traditional’ British summer weather? Team USA sprinter Carmelia Jeter, world triple jump champion Christian Taylor and former world 5000m champion Bernard Lagat join Eleanor Oldroyd to give their views. Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang reveals the weight of expectation on him this year. Concerns over security, funding, transport and ticket sales – sound familiar? Clive James paints a picture of the Sydney Games in “Even As We Speak”. The Olympic motto is ‘faster, higher, stronger’, 5 Live and BBC World Service investigate how much this pinnacle of physical prowess has been enhanced by modern technology? Ivory Coast sprinter Murielle Ahoure speaks about her return to form and the legendary Michael Johnson carries the torch at Stonehenge.

Jonty Clarke, Jordanne Whiley and missiles in the East End.  

Andy Murray and Jonathan Marray weren’t the only British finalists at Wimbledon, Jordanne Whiley also made history as part of the first all-British wheelchair tennis pair to make the final. Team GB hockey star Jonty Clarke explains why he values the public pressure and expectation attached to a home Games. After Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls was named in the British men's basketball squad for the Olympics, BBC Leicester’s John Sinclair speaks to Team GB captain Andrew Sullivan and head coach Chris Finch. BBC 5 Live Breakfast debates if surface-to-air missiles should be placed on the roof of East London flats during the London Games. Radio 2 travels back to the 1948 Austerity Games for The Ballads of the Games. Finally with less than three weeks until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the iconic Jet Pack Man of the 1984 Los Angeles Games carries the torch through Leicester.

Olympic heroes : Radmilovic,  Bannister and Bolt  

After the announcement of the Team GB Athletics squad, 18-year old sprinter Adam Gemili spoke his joy and surprise at his inclusion; 800m runner Lynsey Sharp on her controversial selection despite recording only a B qualifying time this season, and hurdler Andy Turner expresses relief after being named in the squad. Breaking records and gaining glory is the aim of every Olympian but who will make history this year? Usain Bolt was the icon of the 2008 games but after being beaten by his training partner Yohan Blake at the Jamaican national trials and withdrawing from this month’s Diamond League meet in Monaco, can the legendary sprinter return to Olympic glory? Eleanor Oldroyd speaks to Sir Roger Bannister about becoming the first man to run a mile in under four minutes in 1954. Finally, BBC Wales looks at the career of Wales' most successful Olympian, the Cardiff-born swimmer and water polo player Paulo Radmilovic.

Stuart Pearce on the England football squad, Christian Malcolm and the Olympic gardens  

Spain maybe European Champions but Britain is looking forward to securing an Olympic gold in the football at the London Games. Team GB manager Stuart Pearce justifies his decision not to pick David Beckham for the squad but not everyone agrees, as former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson tells 5 Live’s Garry Richardson. After the men’s 4x100m relay failed to pass the baton at the European Athletics Championships, Olympian Derek Redmond reflects poor British technique, and Christian Malcolm speaks about team-mates Adam Gemili and Dwaine Chambers. Gardeners Question Time reviews the gardens of the Olympic Stratford site. In advance of British indoor volleyball debut this summer, Londoners Peter Bakare and Elizabeth Reed reveal their excitement in participating in a home Olympics. Without a doubt the biggest catering job this year is London 2012 and BBC Radio 4’s “The Food Programme” looks into branding of food products sold on the site.

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