Britain's net gain in the fame game
Sunday 17 December 2000
At last, Britain is to have its own sporting Hall of Fame. But to visit it you will have to let your fingers do the walking. In keeping with sport's New Age, the project will be housed on a website to be set up early next year. UK Sport, who have hit on the idea, say they want to involve the public as much as possible, and once the site is up and running will welcome nominations from fans, clubs and governing bodies for places in the various sections, from old-time legends to modern-day heroes. Among other innovations there are likely to be monthly inductions and internet interviews with stars past and present. Although individual sports such as football, cricket and rugby have had their own Halls of Fame, with varying degrees of success, there has never been one which recognises the achievements of the great and the good across the whole spectrum of sport. "After the success Britain has had this year there could not be a better time to introduce a Hall of Fame, and putting it on a website seems a logical
At last, Britain is to have its own sporting Hall of Fame. But to visit it you will have to let your fingers do the walking. In keeping with sport's New Age, the project will be housed on a website to be set up early next year. UK Sport, who have hit on the idea, say they want to involve the public as much as possible, and once the site is up and running will welcome nominations from fans, clubs and governing bodies for places in the various sections, from old-time legends to modern-day heroes. Among other innovations there are likely to be monthly inductions and internet interviews with stars past and present. Although individual sports such as football, cricket and rugby have had their own Halls of Fame, with varying degrees of success, there has never been one which recognises the achievements of the great and the good across the whole spectrum of sport. "After the success Britain has had this year there could not be a better time to introduce a Hall of Fame, and putting it on a website seems a logical and exciting way of going about it," says UK Sport's Matthew Crawcour. UK Sport's biggest venture at the moment is the launching of the UK Sports Institute, and after a few teething troubles this multi-spoked wheel is taking shape with an impressively-credentialled board which includes Steve Redgrave, Steve Cram and the former national athletics coach Frank Dick. Sir Rodney Walker, who has been reappointed as the UK Sport chairman for a further two years, promises the Institute,who have a strong overseas influence in their administration with hired expertise from Australia and Canada, will be "athlete focused, coach led and performance driven". Let's hope so, because this is one British sport must get right.
Lewis leaves them speechless
Lennox Lewis would have given Muhammad Ali a half-decent fight, no doubt about that, though the Ali-philes among us reckon the old dancing master would have been too quick and cute for a heavyweight who irritatingly rations his risk-taking. But one lesson Ali certainly would have handed out to Lewis would have been on knowing how to win friends and influence the punters. Ali never missed an opportunity to talk the hind leg off the cameras at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards before debilitating illness cruelly caught up with him. So where was Lewis last Sunday night? The man who won the trophy last year told the BBC he couldn't make it from his Caribbean retreat, but he promised them a live interview by satellite. A tÃªte-a-tÃªte with Audley Harrison would have been natural and neat. This could have been set up, but Lewis didn't show up. Such indifference makes you wonder whether Lewis really does care as much as he professes about his adopted Britishness. So, a bad no-show by the "defending champion" but, on the other hand, the discourteousness of the night wasn't all one-sided. The Beeb went to considerable trouble and expense to persuade Britain's retired, but hardly retiring, Superbike king, Carl Fogerty, to fly in from Spain for the occasion - and then ignored him. Fogerty had expected to be interviewed or at least least given the time of day, but instead was left as speechless as Tanni Grey-Thompson was rampless.
Pascoe show on track
At a time when London is finding it hard to gets its act together for the world athletics championships it seems rather ironic that one of the sport's former stars is assisting another nation to do just that. Fast Track, the promotional arm of British athletics run by the 51-year-old Olympic hurdling silver medallist Alan Pascoe, have been called in to get the show on the road in Edmonton. Unfortunately, this is not the Edmonton in North London next door to Picketts Lock, earmarked for the championships of 2005, but Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, where the championships are being staged next year. "Staged" being the operative word. Fast Track have certainly jazzed up the British athletics scene and they will be taking the showbiz touch to the rather staid prairie city, employing music, lights, lasers, huge video screens to show replays and instant in-field interviews, and showcasing events like the heptathlon and decathlon which otherwise might go relatively unnoticed. Fast Track's production team, which includes a former top TV sports executive, Richard Russell, and ex-Olympian Sebastian Coe, were also behind the lively presentation of last year's European Cup. "Athletics has to compete with other glamorous sports and sell itself to an audience, 95 per cent of which may never have been to a track-and-field meeting before," says Pascoe, who remains hopeful that the Picketts Lock problems will be resolved in time for the show to go on there in 2005.
Time to ring in the new
There's a prestigious and potentially influential job in sports administration going at the moment. Malcolm Denton, the chief executive of the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the general assembly for some 200 governing bodies, is retiring next year. The post is being advertised and at the CCPR's annual conference the Sports Minister, Kate Hoey, jokingly remarked that she might apply for it. "Not a bad salary, either," she said. Well, £60,000 a year might seem more than reasonable but it's actually a couple of grand less than Denton's predecessor, Peter Lawson, was receiving four years ago when he was jailed for 18 months for defrauding the organisation of several hundred thousand pounds. After getting stuck into Sport England, Hoey is now urging the CCPR to get more with if they desire to play a more effective role in sport's government. We think we know what she means. A press officer might help; so might a change of name. And recently Elaine Shaw, a bright and able woman who runs the highly successful Modern Pentathlon Association, failed to get elected to the CCPR board. Unofficially, she heard she was considered "too young". She is 44.
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