Your blogs

  • Let's just stop dragging past greats out of their comfort zone of history

    Graham Morrison
    Aug 18, 2008

    For British Jewry, the big Beijing story is Josh West's silver medal in that most punishing of sports, rowing. For Britain as a whole, it's the weekend's golden haul. But out here, the dominant story has been Michael Phelps' record-breaking achievements in the pool - at least before "The Bolt" in the breathtaking 100 metres final.

    Phelps seems a fairly modest sort of person for one so talented. But is he the greatest Olympian of all time? As one American track star pointed out, swimmers have a far greater number of medal opportunities than competitors in other sports. Alternative lists of "greatest Olympians"

    I have seen do not include Sir Steve Redgrave who took rowing gold at five consecutive Games. Athletes Jesse Owen and Harold Abrahams and gymnast Agnes Keleti are other names which deserve to be in the mix.

  • The opening ceremony was amazing, but I missed it

    Graham Morrison
    Aug 15, 2008

    Kayak racer Michael Kolganov carried the flag for Israeli in what most people thought was the best ever opening ceremony. I heard some say it was also the most expensiveof all time. I returned to my hotel to try and fix some glitches with my email programme and missed much of it although I did get to see the Israeli team enter though.

    The glitches refused to go away; first I could receive mail but not send. That was fixed and all was fine but then it went wobbly again and I could send but not receive. Then everything stopped.

    As a call to the provider's helpline in London would likely upset my bank manager, my wife called (she stayed in London). The help line proved about as useful as a £3 note. So for now I'm using web-mail and my wife will call the provider, who shall remain name-less, again. A few Yiddish words spring to mind. I learned long before we were married not to argue with Israeli women - my provider is likely about to learn the same lesson.

  • The travel is said to be better than the arriving – I’m unconvinced

    Graham Morrison
    Aug 8, 2008

    Beijing is my fourth Olympics and it hardly seems four years since I was in Athens for 2004 Games. That might be because the process of getting here has been so time consuming. The accreditation process takes two years and all categories of accreditation are oversubscribed.

    The forms go back with supporting evidence and six months on you get an answer. My accreditation type is ‘E' meaning written press for all competition venues. Then there is a timetable for booking a hotel via the organisers, and a flight. Paying for the hotel was an adventure in itself. I had to turn up at the Bank of China in Cannon Street with the cash. And after more form-filling, my precious piece of plastic arrived... an all-in-one accreditation and entry visa. I'd better not lose it!

    The flight to Beijing would have been fine had it not been for the typhoon, which caused cancellations from Hong Kong and a seven-hour delay for the connecting flight. Hong Kong International airport might be efficient and state-of-the-art ultimately a departure lounge is a departure lounge. At least my baggage arrived with me. Checked into the hotel at 3.30am and and slept through breakfast.

  • Graham Morrison's Olympic blog

    Graham Morrison
    Aug 5, 2008

    'One World One Dream'. Well that's the slogan for the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, which officially open on Friday August 8. You wouldn't think it though judging by many of the stories in circulation. Human rights, pollution and so on. But hold on, haven't we've heard all this before? Well, yes actually.

    The Olympic Games is no stranger to controversy; Moscow suffered a boycott, Los Angeles was going to have unclean air, pollution was said to be one reason why Athens failed to secure the 2000 Games, Athens was almost not built on time for 2004, and so on. While athletes were being urged to stay away from Moscow British companies were busy signing trade deals just as Britain now has significant trade relations with China. Go back further and you'll find more. But then the curtain goes up and the moans of multifarious protesters are drowned out in the euphoria that always engulfs this quadrennial spectacle of international sport.

    And in any case, as Seb Coe suggested on TV on Sunday, you ask an athlete to give half their life to their sport then tell them "Sorry, it's off!" Don't think so. It is not as if there is another Wimbledon next year, another F1 race next week. It is four years and their chance might have gone forever. Also, the Olympics is the one chance many smaller sports have of appearing on the world stage in front of millions of people and gaining much needed publicity - important for a healthy and varied choice of sport.