'I had a look and it was just crash after crash'

From death-defying falls to the majesty of Torvill and Dean, British Olympians remember their winter highlights.


*Graham Bell



Five-times Winter Olympic downhill skier, who now presents BBC's Ski Sunday.

Hermann Maier's crash in Nagano in 1998 springs to mind. I didn't see it at the time because I was getting ready to go out and he had started early. All of a sudden he comes back in, limping slightly and takes off his race suit, down to his underwear. He's lying outstretched on a table while a doctor gives him a once-over and I thought, 'He must have crashed'. I decided to go out to look at where he came off, which is the last thing I should have done, as I saw crash after crash. I remember thinking, 'This isn't going to be a great day'. Maier raced three days later and won gold in the super-G and the giant slalom. Unbelievable.

*Nick Fellows

British ski team member from 1982-89. Now a Sky and Eurosport commentator.

Franz Klammer winning gold in the 1976 Games at Innsbruck. I was just a boy but from that moment I knew I wanted to be a downhill skier. I told my parents and they thought I was a nutter. He was wild, he was dangerous and his self-confidence was spectacular. It always looked as though he was taking one massive risk. All of a sudden downhill skiing became cool. Franz always says he was in total control. And he's still got that twinkle in his eye.

*Roger Black

Former world 400m and European champion, also picked up double silver at Atlanta 1996.

For us to have anyone competing for golds at a Winter Olympics is special, but seeing Robin Cousins in 1980 follow up John Curry's figure-skating gold at Innsbruck in 1976 was very special. The way he performed under such pressure was inspirational, and for Great Britain to achieve back-to-back golds in an Olympic competition made me very proud.

*Robin Cousins

Celebrates the 30th anniversary of his skating gold in Lake Placid this month.

I have very special memories of watching John Curry in 1976 when he won his gold. He trained in the US and I trained in the UK so we only ever met at big tournaments, but I remember watching him train and compete. I looked at how he handled the pressure and it made me understand the process. I definitely learnt from him for when I went back in 1980 and won my own gold.

*Rhona Martin

Skip to the Great Britain team that claimed curling gold in 2002.

For me it would always be the skating of Torvill and Dean. My family weren't skiers or into winter sports but watching those two at the Olympics was almost a tradition.

*Steve Backley

Former javelin world record holder and triple Olympic medallist.

Hermann Maier's crash. Not only did he walk away from an incident which could have left him permanently injured, but to come back within a matter of days to take two golds! Unexpected circumstances are part of any successful athlete's journey but this was exceptional. Truly motivational and an example to any aspiring sportsman that it's not what happens to you but how you react that defines how truly successful you are. What a legend!

*Sally Gunnell

400m hurdles gold medallist at the 1992 Olympics.

I've always been drawn to Torvill and Dean. I was 18 or so when they did the Bolero at the Sarajevo Games and I remember watching it on TV. I was really into dance at the time, so to have these two putting in such amazing performances that were really inspired by that kind of movement was amazing. They stood out above everybody else, but also it was so great just to have them competing – to have two Brits at the top.

*Dame Kelly Holmes

Double gold-winner in Athens in 2004 and founder of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust (www.dkhlegacytrust.org)

Torvill and Dean doing the Bolero was an amazing moment – pure heart and soul and so emotional, so ahead of its time. Another big incident was the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan scandal [in which Harding's bodyguard hired someone to attack Kerrigan during a practice session in 1994, however Kerrigan bounced back to take Olympic silver]. Sport is meant to be about training hard and getting to the best of your ability. It's not about greed. It's gone too far when somebody's cheated and denied someone else everything they ever wanted.

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