Sport on TV: Super Colin frantic, ex-star is atrocious

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The Independent Online

Where have all the athletes gone, long time passing? Gone to TV every one, if last week is anything to go by.

First out of the blocks was Colin Jackson. Having previously traced his family tree in 'Who Do You Think You Are', he went further down the route of all self-knowledge in 'The Making Of Me' (BBC1, Thursday).

His mission was to discover what precisely had had made him into a world champion sprint hurdler. Was it nature? Was it nurture? Was it all in the mind? In search of the answer he hurtled round the world nearly as fast as he had around the track, undergoing batteries of tests, including a brain scan which revealed he has an almost frighteningly positive attitude to life. Faced with a car crash, he would probably clap his hands with joy and say: "Oh goody, a great chance to get my hands on some spare parts."

The crucial piece of evidence, though, was revealed by a biopsy of his muscle fibres. He is blessed with a rare abundance of superfast-twitch fibres; the laboratory report stated that the highest amount of these they had found in any other athlete was 2 per cent; Jackson's muscles possess a whopping 75 per cent. "I can't be chuffed about that, can I, because it's nothing to do with me, it's what I was born with," he said. "But super... I like that word."

So too do the producers of 'Superstars' (Five, Friday), though in the case of one or two of the competitors in this second series, superannuated would be an apter description. Still, it did afford us the chance to admire Lee Sharpe's latest hairweave, and wonder just how many pounds Martin Offiah and Sir Steve Redgrave had piled on.

The prize for dumbest decision of the night went to the bright spark who decided to allow Mark Foster, a world champion freestyler, to compete in the swimming, at a stroke killing the whole ethos of the programme stone dead. And there was an element of cruelty in making Offiah and Shelley Rudman, who both confessed to vertigo, tackle the climbing wall, but the skeleton bobber scampered up quickest to win.

Winning was something the former world lightweight boxing champion Jane Couch never threatened to do; she was, quite frankly, rubbish, althoughit would not be advisable to tell the Fleetwood Assassin.

The battle between Redgrave's White team and Mike Catt's Blues all hinged on the last event, the diving. "First to dive is Shelley Rudman, who won the rock climbing. Let's see if she is as good going down as she is going up," mused the commentator, Phil Liggett, who might wish he had phrased it differently.

Who won? Does it matter; in the end it was a tale full of sound and flurry, signifying nothing, except perhaps another nice little earner for performers past their best. As the Government seem intent on getting us all to work till we drop, expect 'Veteran Superstars' at a screen near you soon.