Inside Lines: That's show business? No, it is sport casting its magic spell

Spelbound, the 13-strong group of young gymnasts who captivated the nation with their electrifying dexterity to win 'Britain's Got Talent', have finally kicked dust over the line which supposedly separates sport from showbiz.

Last week several of their number took time off from their nationwide roadshow to help Britain strike gold in the World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships in Wrozlaw, Poland, capturing both the men's pairs and fours titles and almost certainly clinching a place for the discipline in a future Olympics programme. A pity this cannot happen in time for 2012, when the troupe are likely to be there only as part of an opening ceremony which is two years away from Tuesday.

British gymnastics has never known such heady days, with eight golds among the 15 medals won in the European Championships and the redoubtable Beth Tweddle poised to retain her world title in October's championships. Britain's acro technical director, Neil Griffiths, who masterminded Spelbound's 'BGT' triumph, professed himself suitably spellbound by the latest result: "These kids are fabulous. What they have achieved this year is phenomenal and it will certainly help with the push to make acro part of the Olympics, where clearly it belongs."



Walking on water

Those Spelbinders are by no means alone in registering international glory for Britain recently. Fencing, modern pentathlon and archery have also seen Brits standing on the podium, yet these achievements – like that of Chrissie Wellington, who has set a new world long-distance triathlon record – seem to have slipped under the sporting radar while England's footballers were skulking their way to ignominy at the World Cup. While Capello's crew may have thought they could walk on water before they walked the plank, one squad who actually did so are Britain's ever-prolific water-skiers, who have cleaned up in the World Wakeboard Championships, winning the men's, women's, girl's, boy's and team titles in Germany. Yes indeed, British sport really does have talent.



Room at the top

The loss of UK Sport's popular chief executive, John Steele, to the Rugby Football Union – as forecast here – is a major blow to the funding body. Described by Lord Coe as "an exceptional sports leader", Steele said he is "gutted" to be missing out on the 2012 countdown, in which he would have had a pivotal role. But for the ex-Northampton Saints player, the offer from Twickers to replace Francis Baron as CEO next month was one he couldn't refuse.

UK Sport have received almost 50 applications for Steele's job, yet it seems ironic that one man who would have been ideal is no longer available. The 47-year-old former Welsh rugby international and world-class hurdler Nigel Walker, who has served on the UK Sport board, is taking over as national director of the English Institute of Sport. It makes him a much-needed black presence in sports administration. Another UK Sport old boy worthy of consideration is Howard Wells, whose successful lawsuit after his sacking last year as Irish FA CEO has cost them £500,000 in damages and costs and resulted in the departure of president Raymond Kennedy. Ex-CCPR chair Wells, 63, was the original chief executive of UK Sport back in the Nineties.



insidelines@independent.co.uk

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect