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Archive for August, 2012

For your next sports production pick a winning team . . .

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Role-models like Ben Ainslie will help inspire the next generation

Calling all sports organisations: VISIONSPORT.TV have produced a promotional film featuring role-models like Ben Ainslie that will help inspire the next generation


In 2005, during the bidding process for the 2012 Olympics, Lord Coe proclaimed: “London’s vision is to reach young people all around the world. To connect them with the inspirational power of the Games. So they are inspired to choose sport.”

Seven years later, as we bask in the glory of arguably the greatest Games ever, and the nation considers what the legacy will be for London 2012, there has never been a better time for all sports to promote themselves and get the public taking part.

With so many role-models among Team GB’s medal winners there is no lack of sports men and women to be inspired by. And the early signs are encouraging that success at the Games will result in increased participation of sport across the board.

Here at VISIONSPORT.TV we are aiming to do our bit by producing inspirational sports videos and documentaries. And we hope to hear from sporting bodies across Britain who want us to help them by producing dynamic content to promote their sport.

To get the ball rolling we have produced a short promotional film featuring some of Team GB’s brilliant medal winners.

Hopefully watching this video will not only inspire people of all ages to take part in sport, but encourage administrators who can build on the success of London 2012 to get in touch and hire our winning team.

Mo Farah and Tom Daley are two of Team GB's most popular Olympians

Mo Farah and Tom Daley - two of Team GB's most popular Olympians - are featured in the promotional film from VISIONSPORT.TV



Sadly it’s official: Lance Armstrong is a drugs cheat – but it’s not terminal for the sport he dedicated life to after beating cancer

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The fight to live: Lance Armstrong's lifestory will always be one of the most inspirational ever written

Lance Armstrong's lifestory will always be one of the most inspirational ever written


Anyone who truly loves sport has every right to be devastated by the news that Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after quitting his long fight to clear his name of being a drugs cheat.

Armstrong continues to strongly deny doping. But his decision not to contest the charges alleged by USADA, namely that he used banned substances –  including the blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO), steroid and blood transfusions – as far back as 1996, means that he will forever be branded a drugs cheat by the sport that gave him the will to live.

It is a tragic conclusion for an athlete who for so long has been regarded by so many as the most inspirational of them all.

His remarkable fight to beat cancer makes his story so compelling that whether or not he is guilty of the charges, unlike any other fallen hero in the history of sport, Armstrong will always be regarded as an inspiration by millions, especially the terminally ill.

After being diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer, the cyclist was given a minute chance of survival, due to the fact that the cancer had spread to his lungs and brain. But Armstrong beat all the odds before proceeding to win an astounding seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005. Whatever the record books say – and USADA insist all his achievement since 1st August 1998 must be erased  – Armstrong’s feat after beating cancer is truly remarkable.

Surely, for that reason alone he will forever be a role-model for anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness. Not to mention he has done more than most athletes for charity in building a global foundation helping millions of cancer survivors.

The harsh reality is that Armstrong’s name is blackened forever. But the sport he helped put on the map has a bright future thanks largely to Great Britain’s golden generation of cycling heroes. In Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott and  the rest of our truly outstanding Team GB riders, cycling has an army of role models to inspire generations to come.

As far as the record books go ‘the king is dead, but long live the sport.’

How Armstrong announced giving up fight to clear his name:

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.”

The move followed a US court ruling against Armstrong’s attempts to block USADA’s investigation. He consistently maintained he never failed a test for banned substances, although that is disputed. But USADA said its investigation revealed a systematic programme of drug misuse in Armstrong’s team and claimed 10 of the cyclist’s former team mates would testify that he was at the heart of it. The agency also told Armstrong it has blood samples from two and three years ago that are “fully consistent” with illegal doping.

Why the media are to blame for fostering hatred in football – and how we can learn from the Greatest Show on Earth

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Waving the flag for Britain - Olympic hero Ben Ainslie

Waving the flag for Britain - Olympic hero Ben Ainslie connected with fans at London 2012


Not only did the opening weekend of the English Premier League remind us that we are blessed with the world’s most exciting domestic football competition, for me it clearly demonstrated why we all fell in love with the Olympics during London 2012.

So many voices in the media and members of the public ringing radio phone ins have been rubbishing our national game, urging our overpaid footballers to grow up, learn how to be humble and reconnect with the fans. But jumping on the bandwagon of badmouthing our footballers is a lazy reaction that misses the real lessons to be learned from The Greatest Show on Earth.

As Gary Neville so perfectly voiced in his Daily Mail column: “I don’t mean to shy away from the real challenges football faces. We do need to link football back to the community, get closer to the fans and make it more affordable. There is excess. There are problems with the globalisation of the game. And there are incidents of ill-discipline by players.”

But one of the biggest differences between football and the Olympics for me is the way it is portrayed by the media, who take great delight in whipping up confrontation, hatred and the ugly side of the beautiful game.  And I’m not just talking about the effect on the players, I’m talking about the fans. Too many football fans lose all sense of decency and respect when they are supporting their team.

How many times have you seen slow motion replays on Match of the Day and witnessed ordinary people, and there are just as many foul-mouthed women as men these days, clearly screaming obscenities at the players on the pitch.

Could you ever imagine such a scene at the Olympic Stadium where the partisan host nation always had the dignity and appreciation of sport to applaud great performances, whatever nation they represented. Many of these are the same people who attend football matches. But can you imagine such respect at a major football match. The answer is ‘No.’ But it wasn’t always like that. When I was a kid I remember standing on the Stretford End and applauding with the rest of the crowd when we witnessed great footballing skill. So what has changed?

Maybe I am biting the hand that fed me for several intervening decades, but the honest answer is the media. The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to the way the minds of ordinary fans have been polluted by   headline writers and talk show hosts who can never resist promoting confrontational emotions beyond friendly rivalry to the point of pure hatred.

Whether it is a vile outpouring of abuse in the stadiums, radio phone-ins or more frequently these days on Twitter, there is no avoiding the fact that today’s average football fan is more accustomed to giving out negative comments than paying respect.

Watching Marouane Fellaini produce a brilliant matchwinning display as Everton upset Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison on Monday night, it was embarrassing to hear an abusive voice shout ‘break his f******* legs” every time the Belgian star touched the ball. I hesitate to call the abuser a football fan. Hooliganism is all but dead in Britain. But this ill-educated person is typical of so many followers of football encouraged by the modern media.

man of the match: whether you support the winners or losers Marouane Fellaini earned respect from both sets of fans

man of the match: Marouane Fellaini earned respect from both sets of fans

Journalism these days is all about comment and voicing an opinion, and sensational headlines and controversy is good for business. Negative stories are easier to write than positive ones and every journalist knows how they can shape public opinion by the way they present stories, the sports that we watch and sporting rivalries. The consequential atmosphere of hostility generated between ordinary fans and players by the media is the thing I hate most about football. Why can’t we have healthy rivalry backed by an appreciation of the beauty of the sport

Before the Olympics started most of the media were trying to bring down the Games with a succession of negative stories about security, transport and overspending. Happily the Great British public saw through the spin and were swept away by an unprecedented wave of euphoria generated by outstanding sporting excellence and a magnificent management of the Games that proved all the doubters wrong.

Sports writers were able to glory in the remarkable achievements of Team GB and the voices of the hatchet men in the media who revel in spreading gloom and confrontation were drowned out by the wave of positive stories. Sadly in football, too many negative stories over many years have led to a massive disconnect between the players and the media they are unable to trust.  While too many fans have lost sight of what sport is all about.

For a fabulous fortnight the public and the media remembered how to appreciate the beauty of sport. Now the Olympics are over  let us show the same respect to football – and maybe players will respond by discovering the spirit of fair play, excellence and good sportsmanship that we witnessed at London 2012.

Let’s all do the Mo Bo – Farah pays tribute to his pal Usain Bolt

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Ready, steady Mo: Double Gold medallist Mo Farah does the Mo Bo

Ready, steady Mo: Double Gold medallist Mo Farah does the Mo Bo


On the morning after the night before I joined a privileged group of broadcasters for a private chat with double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah – and I asked him about his friendship with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.

Watch the video to hear what Mo said about Usain Bolt and see how he demonstrated the Mo Bo.

The winning smile - Team GB's golden boy has a charm and engaging personality that is infectuous

The winning smile - Team GB's golden boy has a charm and engaging personality that is infectuous



August 12th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Farah’s Mo-mentous second gold crowned another epic day for Team GB – and this time it’s the men who rule the roost!

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Can you believe it - Mo's done it again!

Can you believe it - Mo's done it again!


There has been so much talk of Girl Power these past few days that some of our men may have been getting an inferiority complex. But there was no danger of that happening on Day 15 as the boys were back on top with another remarkable Super Saturday.

At these incredible Games it is impossible to pick out the ultimate superhero in the British team. There have been so many magical moments and unbelievable achievements to savour. But none greater than watching Mo Farah complete his historic double gold medal-winning triumph, by adding an unforgettable  5,000 metres triumph to his extraordinary 10,000 metres success a week ago.

Sprint king Ed McKeever - the Usain Bolt of kayaking

Sprint king Ed McKeever - the Usain Bolt of kayaking

The facial expressions of Britain’s middle distance king as he again crossed the line first will be among the defining images of these Games for many people around the planet. His double celebration with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, after the Jamaican completed the unprecedented defence of his Olympic treble by wrapping up a new world record to win gold in the 4 x 100 metres, confirmed farah’s new status as a global superstar.

Against the backdrop of the incredible atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium generated by the home fans, it all combined to make this one of the greatest track and field events at any Olympic Games. And it crowned another gold plated day for Our Greatest Team.

When Ed McKeever wrapped up gold in kayak’s 200 metres sprint shortly after breakfast we knew it was going to be another special day. Hailed the Usain Bolt of  kayaking, McKeever lacks the aura of the man who calls himself a living legend. But he is lightning quick and led his race from start to finish to give his sport a huge boost.

Luke Campbell wins GB's first  bantamweight gold since 1908

Luke Campbell - GB's first bantamweight gold since 1908

After the high drama at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB’s third men’s gold of the day was delivered by Luke Campbell when he defeated Ireland’s John Joe Nevin in a pulsating final to become the first British bantamweight to win gold since 1908.

Campbell, who raised the hands of Nevin after the result was announced and broke down in tears, said: “I’m lost for words, very emotional. It’s something I’ve worked for all my life. I can’t believe it. ”

But  rivalling all those gold medals in the emotional stakes was the remarkable achievement by teenage diver Tom Daley winning a fairytale bronze in the men’s individual 10-metre platform.

After an horrendous year that cruelly saw Daley’s father Rob lose his fight against cancer before he could share the joy of his son competing in his home Olympics, it was one of the most moving stories of these Games to witness the hugely popular and charismatic diver from Devon win his medal.

happy and glorious - Tom Daley celebrates bronze

Happy and glorious - Tom Daley celebrates bronze

On this occasion bronze meant gold for the Plymouth schoolboy who won the hearts and minds of the nation long before the airing by the BBC of the brilliant, intimate documentary that told the story of his father’s  last days and their unbreakable bond.

Sport is forever the backdrop to so many poignant dramas that touch the watching world. And the Tom Daley story in one such tale that will resonate with everyone. The sheer joy of Daley and his team mates jumping into the pool to celebrate his success was  a special moment that for many of us will sit alongside the fabulous images of Mo Farah rejoicing at the completion of his iconic golden double.

Fitting tribute to Ben Ainslie will crown an emotional closing ceremony at London 2012

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Proud to carry the flag: Ben Ainslie

Proud to carry the flag: Ben Ainslie


With 24 hours to go before the curtain comes down on a remarkably successful London 2012, there is already a feeling here in the capital that we are in for a highly emotional end to the Games.

After a fortnight of sporting celebration the likes no country in the world has ever surpassed, to say that anyone who loves the Olympics will be sad to see the party come to an end would be an understatment

For Team GB and the Great British public it will be one almighty party that will celebrate an unbelievable medal haul and the fulfillment  of staging an outstanding Games. To quote International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, London has been “the beating heart of the world, giving new life to the spirit of fair play and competition.

Rogge has praised Britain, acknoweldging the huge crowds that have filled the stadiums as well as saying those that lined the Olympic torch relay route had sent cheers resonating in every home around the globe.

Without doubt, London has delivered across transport, crowds, security and enthusiasm, making the predictable pre-Games cynicism by certain sections of the media look rather foolish.

Britain’s biggest medal haul in more than 100 years and the quality of the athletes’ performances have boosted the party atmosphere. And what a great choice by the British Olympic Association to choose record-breaking sailor Ben Ainslie to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.

Following Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and then took his gold medal haul to six, it is a fitting tribute to Ainslie, who became the greatest sailing Olympian of all time during the Games when he won the Finn class – his fourth consecutive gold medal.

“It is a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at what’s been such an amazing Games for the whole country, ” was how Ainslie greeted the news. And I am sure every Team GB athlete will be proud to walk behind the 35-year-old who has a huge personality to match his legendary status.

Team GB’s Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “He has been at the heart of Great Britain’s Olymoic endeavours since 1996 and his achievements are already legendary. ”

Added Hunt: “As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way.”




August 11th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Girl Power has been consistent theme at London 2012 for Team GB

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Jade Jones wins gold: "Before I came out I thought 'I'm not letting her beat me here in front of the home crowd'

I'm the Olympic champion - Jade Jones wins gold


Take nothing away from the men – Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah and co have been outstanding gold medal winners for Team GB. But a consistent talking point throughout London 2012 has been the superhuman efforts of the British women.

After failing to get anyone on top of the podium on Wednesday, day 13 was another record breaker for Team GB on another amazing day of glory for the girls.

First came Charlotte Dujardin in the individual dressage, the first female rider to win two Olympic Gold medals for Team GB , with Laura Bechtolsheimer claiming Bronze.

When Nicola Adams became the first women’s boxing champion in Olympic history, beating long-time rival Ren Cancan of China,  it was a unique milestone = and how richly deserved it was for the extremely talented fighter from Leeds.

Nicola Adams's Olympic gold was a huge blow for girl power

Nicola Adams's Olympic gold was a huge blow for girl power

When 19-year-old Jade Jones overcame two-time world champion Yuzhuo Houin from China 6-4 in the taekwondo to claim Team GB’s 25th Gold medal of the Games it crowned another red-letter day for Team GB .
Jones summed up her determination to triumph when she said: “Before I came out I thought ‘I’m not letting her beat me here in front of the home crowd’
Golden girl Charlotte Dujardin (right) with Laura Bechtolsheimer who took bronze

Golden girl Charlotte Dujardin (right) with Laura Bechtolsheimer who took bronze

The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt wants to play football for Manchester United – but he’s more likely to take a jump

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Dreaming of Premier League glory at Old Trafford - Usain Bolt is a living legend

Dreaming of Premier League glory at Old Trafford - living legend Usain Bolt is only half-serious


What an intriguing thought – the fast man on the planet playing for the world’s most famous football team.

“People think I am joking when I say that I would like to play for Manchester United,” double double Olympic champion Usain told the British media on Tuesday.

“But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, ‘OK, let’s do this, come and have a trial and see if you are good enough’ it would be impossible for me to say ‘no’.

“I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference. I would be the fastest player in the team — but I can play as well.”

It was a story that gathered momentum when former England skipper Rio Ferdinand fired back on Twitter:”@usainbolt if you want that trial at Man Utd shout me, I’ll speak to the boss!!”

“If Alex Ferguson wants to give me a call he knows where I am,” the Jamaican has been quoted as saying.

Will it be Usain Bolt v Greg Rutherford in Rio?

Smiles for Team GB's gold medal winner - but will it be Usain Bolt v Greg Rutherford in Rio?

Sadly, of course, there is absolutely zero chance of the Lightning Bolt giving up the track for the Premier League. Much shorter are the odds on Bolt taking up the long jump. And that of course could spell bad news for Team GB’s gold medal winner Greg Rutherford.   After successfully defending both the 100 and 200 metres Olympic titles he won in Beijing at London 2012, Bold – who will be 30 on the day of the closing ceremony at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 – is considering bis options.

Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, has suggested Bolt should stick to his day job, telling the Manchester United website: “He’d obviously add a bit of speed to the team! But they are different sports. I think he’s best staying on the track!”



London 2012 a landmark Olympic Games for Women in Sport

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Flyweight Nicola Adams the last British woman standing

Flyweight Nicola Adams the last British woman standing


When the BBC failed to nominate a single woman in their 12 candidates to contest the 2011 Sports Personality of the Years Award it was a male chauvinistic oversight that sparked a furious backlash from certain sections of the British public.

Eight months later any suggestion of a similar insult by the Beeb at the end of 2012 is inconceivable after a landmark Olympics for Women in Sport, the working title for the upcoming documentary I began filming earlier this year.

When Jessica Ennis, the poster girl for London 2012,  thrilled the nation with a  spectacular gold medal winning performance in the heptathlon, it underlined the great strides taken by women on sport’s global stage.

The mere fact that the fairer sex are now challenging the men for the biggest headlines is a source of great joy for the Sheffield-girl , as she clearly demonstrated when I filmed her on Sunday morning. But Ennis is just the tip of the iceberg with a dazzling line-up of female role models inspiring the next generation of young women.

Nicola Adams today fights for the title of  the first women’s boxing champion in Olympic history. The mere presence of  the Leeds flyweight at the Games – along with Team GB colleagues Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall – has already put her in the record books.

Cycling superstar Victoria Pendleton is one of the most popular sports heroes in Britain and her fellow Olympic champion Laura Trott, the exciting breakthrough women’s star at the Velodrome is a remarkable young woman already on course to emulate her childhood inspiration.

But it is not just Britsih girls who are enjoying the spotlight on women in sport. These are the first Games in history where every single country competing have included women in their Olympic team.

Five days after a Saudi Arabian  judo athlete became the ultraconservative country’s first female competitor at any Olympics, Sarah Attar  was given a standing ovation on Day 12 when she finished last and more than a half-minute slower than her nearest competitor in the women’s 800 meters.

Attar was the first Saudi woman to compete in track and field at the Olympics and the teenager acknowledged the importance of that achievement  when she proudly declared: “This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women. I know that this can make a huge difference.”




Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Trott & Victoria Pendleton provided thrilling cycling finale and are extraordinary role models

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Alistair Brownlee win the Olympic triathlon gold medal

Alistair Brownlee wins Olympic triathlon gold medal


It was a day that began with the remarkable double medal haul for the Brownlee brothers and peaked with one of the most thrilling hours in the history of British cycling after a first ever gold for Team GB in the dressage.

Day 11 of London 2012 was another glorious landmark in the history of  sport in Great Britain – and it saw Our Greatest Team confirm they are just that by taking our gold medal tally to an astonishing 22, surpassing the 19 won in Beijing’s medal tally of 47.

With five days remaining Team GB have already won 48 medals, making this our best Games since 1908 when Britain won 56 golds but provided a third of the athletes.

When Alistair Brownlee struck gold in the triathlon and was followed home by his younger brother Jonathan, who took the bronze, it was only the start of something special.

An historic gold for GB's equestrian team at Greenwich ParkHistoric gold for GB’s equestrian team at Greenwich Park

Laura Bechtolsheimer, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin became Britian’s first Olympic champions in the dressage when they took the gold ahead of  rivals Germany.

But the greatest hour of the day for me, rivalling anything we have seen at these Games, came at the Velodrome where Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy provided courage, pulsating drama and the best of British sporting excellence to bring the curtain down on a remarkable cycling competition.

For Pendleton there was the pain of defeat to her arch rival Anna Mears as she lost her Olympic sprint title in the final, her last ever race. But the sheer brilliance of our most successful women’s cyclist, who had already won gold in the keirin, was matched by her dignity  and good sportsmanship when she was wrongly denied by the officials after winning the first  pivotal leg of the final.

That drama came hot on the heels of a second breathtaking gold medal triumph for 20-year-old Laura Trott, one of the new generation of young women inspired to take up the sport by Pendleton. Born with a collapsed lung and suffering from asthma, the raw enthusiasm, unrestrained delight and absolute modesty of this young woman is  one of the most inspiring stories of London 2012.

Sweet taste of success for Laura Trott in the omnium

Sweet taste of success for Laura Trott in the omnium

Both Trott and Pendleton are outstanding role models for the women of Great Britain. And in Sir Chris Hoy, who was to follow them onto the track with a truly moving finale, we have in my opinion the greatest sporting role model for our men.

Defending his title in the keirin to win his sixth gold medal certainly confirmed him as track cycling’s greatest sprinter of all time.

With gold on the first night of the track cycling in the men’s team sprint, Hoy’s triumph in his final olympic race was the perfect finale for Team GB. It took him past rowing great Sir Steve Redgrave’s five gold medals, and with a silver from Sydney 2000, he equals Bradley Wiggins’s record total of seven medals.

But it is the humility and enormous modesty of the man as well as his brilliance that rightly  makes him one of the all-time great sporting heroes. I have met many of the world’s most famous sporting stars over the past 30 years. But never have I met a sportsman who is a more perfect role model than Sir Chris.

That's six - Sir Chris Hoy the ultimate role model

That's six - Sir Chris Hoy the ultimate role model

Watching the 36-year-old Scot dig deep and fight back to cross the line first after momentarily being overtaken by Germany’s Maximilian Levy in the final sprint was a sporting moment to cherish. And I defy anyone who loves sport who watched the great man collect his gold medal not to share a tear of joy with this modern day braveheart.

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