Inside Lines: Aggro in the air as two of GB's Olympic icons fall out


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The Independent Online

Two of Britain's greatest Olympic idols, Sir Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson, have fallen out big-time. It follows a claim by the five-times rowing gold medallist Redgrave that he would not include the double decathlon champion in the top five of the nation's Olympians.

Instead he rates him below Sebastian Coe, Kelly Holmes, Ben Ainslie, Sir Matthew Pinsent – and himself!

In the Evening Standard Redgrave, 50, also infuriated Thompson by labelling some of his performances in individual decathlons as labouring and pedestrian. He wrote: "Obviously, he [Thompson] was a great athlete. Some people, Seb Coe included, think he's the best ever. My personal view is that he doesn't make the top five of great British Olympians. I'd put Seb above him, and Kelly Holmes, certainly Ben Ainslie, and, all modesty aside, myself and Matt Pinsent. Arguably, Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins deserve to be rated higher. I say that because, to me, athletes compete at the decathlon if they are great all-rounders instead of being supreme in one event. Daley's forte was power. He threw well, he sprinted well, and when it came to the 1500m, he'd usually built such a lead that all he had to do was lumber round to emerge the victor overall... He ran the 100m in 10.44 in Los Angeles, while Carl Lewis was winning the individual event in under 10sec. He threw the javelin 65.24m, while the Olympic champion's distance was 86.76. Daley's long jump was nearly half a metre short of Lewis's, who added the long jump to his gold haul. And while Seb won the Olympic 1500 in a time of 3:33.53, Daley was winning his decathlon in the relatively pedestrian time of 4:35.00."

Thompson, 53, is said by friends to be spitting blood. It is likely he will respond in another newspaper, in which he will suggest that Redgrave's own status is greatly overrated because it has come only with the aid of team-mates in an elite sport where there is little global competition.

Thompson, incidentally, is Redgrave's main rival to light the Olympic flame on 27 July.

Yes you Khan, Andy

A good-luck text will be sent to Andy Murray from Hollywood this morning. It comes from his great mate Amir Khan, who is preparing there for his own big fight in Las Vegas next Saturday, attempting to regain his world title against the unbeaten American Danny Garcia.

The pair have been friends throughout the boxer's pro career. "Andy's a great fight fan," Khan tells us. "He loves his boxing. He prepares like a fighter and I can see how he uses a boxing strategy in some moves on court. He's actually been in the ring sparring with me. I can tell you, he certainly packs a punch. A terrific right cross."

Ding, ding, Federer. Seconds out!

No leap for ex-lovers

On these pages last week we featured the Jilly Cooper-esque story of how British equestrian star Laura Bechtolsheimer's rival for gold in the Olympic dressage would be her first lover, the top German rider Matthias Rath.

Alas, there will now be no romantic reunion. Rath is out of the Games with glandular fever, which also means a no-show for his £10 million wonder horse Totilas.

Sam can't play it again

Amid the numerous anguished appeals of athletes left out of GB's Olympic teams, here is a different tale.

Last year we told how the judo player Sam Lowe, a Commonwealth Games champion and 2012 prospect, lost her funding and squad place because of injury. So she financed her own comeback programme by giving coaching classes, motivational talks and working part-time in a hotel.

Surrey-based Lowe, 30, seemed on course again in the under- 78kg category but last week was told that she hadn't made it. She said: "The process was fair but I am very disappointed."