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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried