Sir Steve Redgrave in dig at Clarkson's BBC earnings

 

Five-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave has criticised Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's earnings.

Clarkson, 52, is the top earner at the BBC, making more than £3 million, mostly from the commercial exploitation of Top Gear rather than from the licence fee.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Sir Steve, a BBC commentator during the Olympics, said of Clarkson's earnings: “It frustrates me more than Premier League footballers' wages. But I'm not going to get drawn into that.”

The former British rower, whose wife conspired with Top Gear presenters to destroy his garden for charity in 2008, added: “They raised a lot of money for Sports Relief and my garden has been put back into an even better state than it was.

“But I didn't speak to my wife for three months.”

Sir Steve said of Team GB's success at the Games: “We used to think that winning about five golds each Games was acceptable.

“We thought it was a good result. But we don't accept that any more. We used to get a lot of silvers, but since the Lottery funding has come in, those athletes are now providing the results.

“Staging the Games has also made a huge difference. No government wants to preside over a Games in which the home nation fails, so a lot of money has gone in.”

Sir Steve also suggested that he would have received more recognition if he had secured his own golds in another sport.

“If I'd achieved what I've achieved in football, what would have happened? David Beckham has legendary status around the world. He's been pretty successful with Manchester United and Madrid. But no world titles.

“It does depend on what sport you're involved in. My point... (is) a factual one rather than a jealousy thing.”

He also branded the US system of having a medal table decided by the volume of medals won, rather than the most gold medals, “ridiculous”.

“Fifty bronzes don't equal one gold,” he said.

Meanwhile, Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders has blamed TV broadcasters for making showjumping dull.

The actress and comedian, who is presenting ITV1 horse-riding documentary Back In The Saddle, said: “When I was a teenager there was showjumping on TV almost every Saturday night... events like Horse Of The Year Show were really big events, as entertaining as the Eurovision Song Contest.

“It wasn't just the excitement of show jumping, they showed Pony Club competitions such as bending and sack races,” she told the magazine.

“But then they started to edit events so you only saw clear rounds. You didn't see the fences coming down or the refusals. It became sterilised, and that made dull viewing.”

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