Dave Bedford is one eminent sporting figure who will not be participating when the contentious Olympic Torch Relay winds its way through London today. Not because of any political protest; the long-running orchestrator of the London Marathon, the capital's most prestigious international event, just hasn't been given a place in a line-up that includes such Olympic luminaries as the Sugababes. Nor was he asked when the torch was in London en route to Athens four years ago. It seems an astonishing omission, but he shrugs: "I would probably have declined because of being so busy with the start of Marathon week. But yes, it would be nice to have been asked." Yet he is delighted that Bethany, the young daughter of his great friend Derek Johnson, the former Olympic athlete who died four years ago, will carry the torch. Bedford, 58, known as "Bootsie" in his rebel-rousing, record-breaking running days, is used to being snubbed. Not so much as an MBE has come his way for his Marathon efforts. Why not? "I could probably give you half-a-dozen reasons," he laughs.
Life's a beach as IOC wrestle with youth market
When Singapore hosts the first Youth Olympics in 2012, a new sport will be on the agenda: beach wrestling. We kid you not. It seems the International Olympic Committee, ever conscious of finding new activities to tickle TV moguls and the "yoof" market, will use president Jacques Rogge's new baby to test the sea water with teenage-appealing sports for possible eventual inclusion in Summer Games. We already have beach volleyball. So what's next? Beach football, cricket or hockey? Why not beach long-jumping? There would certainly be no shortage of sand for the pit.
Paddick reveals the sporting life of Brian
Former police chief Brian Paddick responds to last week's suggestion that the London mayoral contenders are fighting shy of putting sport on their agenda because they know and care little about it. He tells us: "I am the only one who has any claim to be personally positive about sport. I swam for Surrey Schools, played rugby for my school, the police and my college and was captain of Oxford University swimming team. I am also running the London Marathon for three charities. I hope to provide a real example to Londoners, encouraging them to get involved in physical activity, and I am very positive about the Olympics." We await with interest news of the other sporting passions of the amorous Boris and newly revealed father-of-five Ken.
Time for Burnham to help these schoolchildren
The Panathlon, a multi-sports event beloved of kids and teachers in inner-city schools, would normally be in full flow now. Alas not, thanks to the Government's disgraceful indifference, despite all-party Parliamentary pressure. It struggles on, providing competition for disabled children, but even this could be under threat as donations dry up. "I never thought it would be so hard raising money for disabled schoolchildren to take part in competitive sport," says organiser Ashley Iceton. New Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, a grass-roots man, must take a fresh look at this.
Magazine features gym life but not as the WAGs know it
Our eye was caught by an intriguing headline in 'Sportsister', a lively new online magazine for women launched last week: "WAG European Championship Preview." Were Coleen, Posh, Cheryl and Co trying their luck at Bacardi breezing or table-top dancing? No, it's another type of bar: Women's Artistic Gymnastics.Reuse content