Sport on TV: Britain's home-made appliance of science

It's been said before, Brian, but sport is all about producing it on the day, and in 2012 there's going to be a few on-the-days when some domestic metalware production will be in order. Host nations who do not storm Olympic podiums en masse are just embarrassing.

So what are we to do? Apparently, the answer lies in biomechanics. And what are we doing about it? The answer to that, according to Horizon: Winning Gold in 2012 (BBC1, Saturday), could almost be encouraging, except for one fact - those 2012 Games are simply coming too soon.

Scene: a sports lab near Canberra. A swimmer trains. A magnet in her cap links up with sensors on the blocks. Cameras in the pool scrutinise every move in a relentless quest for maximum efficiency (that's the biomechanics bit).

The Australian Institute of Sport was modelled - minus the pharmaceuticals, presumably - on the East German machine. And they're determined, we are told, "to win the sports technology arms race". Portable lactate analysers, pulse oximeters, instrument shoes, oxygen enrichers, a pill developed by the military that transmits medical signals from inside the body - it's sport for the space age.

And what have we got? It's all in the editing, but according to Horizon this is what we've got. Scene: a swimming pool in Bolton. The Paralympian hopeful Rachel Latham is at one end of a fishing line. At the other is Dr Carl Payton's home-made velocimeter. It's Apollo 13. To be fair, if I must, it is wired up to a laptop, and it did help young Latham lop three seconds off the 100 metres butterfly junior world record.

In swimming, of course, we're already applying a bit of Aussie backbone in the spherical shape of Bill Sweetenham, and in cycling, the system has been up and running for a while. But elsewhere, it's panic stations. Peter Keen, performance advisor to UK Sport, says it's a 20-year process, and we're halfway there. He thinks we can squeeze the rest into six years. It might prove a long jump too far.

I've no idea how India selects and moulds its cricketing talent. Indeed, a bit of research would have made this link rather more convincing. But whatever they do, it counted for nothing when their on-the-day became a day to forget on Wednesday (Sky Sports 1).

Just after lunch, at 75 for 3, they could still hope. "They don't want to win the series one-zero, they want to win it two-zero," the ever-upbeat Aussie Dean Jones said. A few seconds later Freddie Flintoff dismissed Rahul Dravid and Jones went into overdrive: "Captain Flintoff, take a bow! You have led from the front from the beginning of this series!"

Bizarrely, given that he'd just been leading the boys in a Johnny Cash singalong, you could hear someone bawling, "Burn, burn, burn, burning ring of fire." Had he been earwigging at the dressing room door? And has Fab Freddie hit upon a secret weapon in the run-up to 2012?

When Footballers Wives lost its way, its secret weapon was obvious: bring back Tanya, its malicious heart and twisted soul. On Thursday (ITV1), the Lady Macbeth of Earls Park duly flew in from exile - a lucrative marriage to some fat Brazilian - draped round the Sparks' new himbo import. However, the acid queen of prime time had a shock when pretty boy's squeeze turned up, setting in motion a clash of the soap eons that promises some top rucks. She's publisher Eva de Wolffe, played to within an inch of her acting ability by that 103-year-old glamourpuss, Joan Collins.

"Maybe he's got a fetish for support tights," Tanya said as she watched pretty boy play the lapdog.

This took place at midfielder Tremaine and secret lesbian Liberty's Ancient Egyptian-themed wedding, which evoked in its folie de grandeur Kyle and Chardonnay's do, the principal memories of which involve massed ranks of dwarves. Ah, they were great days, and I thought we'd seen the last of them. But Tanya and Eva have every chance of dragging Footballers Wives back to tawdry, tacky greatness.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before