Inside Lines: Sports chiefs may oppose key Olympics role for Woodward
Sunday 28 December 2008
The departure of the former chief executive, Simon Clegg, from the revamped British Olympic Association after almost 20 years is likely to be cushioned by a knighthood in the New Year Honours. It also leaves the way clear for Sir Clive Woodward to be handed Clegg's role as Olympics chef de mission, handily so, as England's ex-rugby coach is having difficulty raising the sponsorship required to underwrite his academy programme as the BOA's director of elite performance. But a number of national governing bodies, unhappy at what Clegg admits "was not the exit strategy I had planned", may oppose any move to install Woodward, preferring an Olympian such as Sir Steve Redgrave to lead Team GB.
Boxing back to the future
Another leading Olympic figure in line for an honour, and deservedly so, is the GB boxing coach, Terry Edwards. An MBE will be a fitting reward for the 10 Olympic, world and European medals he has helped his squad to achieve since 2000 – and for fighting their corner in recent unseemly battles with the ABA. Yet the disaffected Edwards, 65, finds his future even more uncertain after the appointment of Kevin Hickey, two years his senior, as performance director of the newly constituted umbrella body, the British Amateur Boxing Association. Hickey was Britain's Olympic coach through five Games, from 1972-88, but has been out of boxing since, though he has worked as a technical adviser to the BOA. He also worked with Edwards more than 20 years ago, but whether they can do so again will be determined at a meeting next week. "I served my apprenticeship under Kevin and he certainly has tremendous knowledge and experience," said Edwards, but he added: "I need to know exactly how his appointment affects my role."
Hoy's bespoke knighthood
News that a knighthood for the triple gold medallist Chris Hoy will be the centrepiece of a barrowload of post-Beijing gongs has been dutifully leaked from Whitehall. Yet it may be at the expense of the man who masterminded the great cycling revolution, Dave Brailsford, who, word has it, gets only a CBE. Could the reason why tradition has been shelved to knight an active sportsperson be because a Scot in Downing Street wants to give those north of Carlisle who are apathetic about 2012 something to enthuse over?
Another lift for Zoe
The schoolgirl weightlifter Zoe Smith, 14, featured in these pages recently, has been named alongside Hoy, Rebecca Adlington and Andy Murray as the youngest recipient of the BOA's Athletes of the Year trophy. At least she'll have no trouble lifting it.
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