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Breakfast with Frost
Sir Steve Redgrave
Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic oarsman
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: SIR STEVE REDGRAVE and STEVE RYDER DECEMBER 8TH, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: And later on today of course we can all look forward to one of the key moments in the sporting calendar, the presentation of the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award. There are several contenders for the crown, the choice is up to BBC viewers and the final voting actually takes place during the show this evening. Now I'm joined by the Olympic Oarsman, Sir Steve Redgrave and the winner two years ago, Steve, right? Yes, and by BBC sports presenter Steve Ryder who after his performance in various marathons is a prime favourite. Anyway great to have you both with us, always an exciting day, first of all though, one other question lest people see that bulge there and viewers think you're pregnant or something - you've sadly had an...

STEVE REDGRAVE: I've put a lot of weight on since I stopped training.

DAVID FROST: Yes, yes.

STEVE REDGRAVE: I had a rugby injury about seven years ago and I've been getting quite a lot of shoulder pain in the last couple of years since I've stopped training so I've just had an operation to, to sort the problem. Which everything is fine, so.

DAVID FROST: Everything's fine.

STEVE REDGRAVE: Looks a bit odd at the moment.

DAVID FROST: But it's interfering with your golf?

STEVE REDGRAVE: I've got to stop golf for four months at the moment, so, hopefully he's tweaked it enough that I can keep the ball straight now off the tee...

DAVID FROST: Now Steve you're co-presenting the show this evening, it is always exciting. Now the set up is that the viewers have voted the top five which you don't know yet but then the top five will be decided on air?

STEVE RYDER: That's right, we've had voting via various means over the course of the last four weeks or so, we are assembling all those votes and coming up with final totals at the start of the programme tonight we announce the short list of the leading five and they're subject to a phone vote during the course of the programme so the whole thing is transparent in terms of voting procedure and it's also pretty exciting because people can react to things that they're reminded of during the course of the...

DAVID FROST: So the vote for the five starts from zero...

STEVE RYDER: It starts at eight o'clock tonight as soon as we go on the air.

DAVID FROST: On air...

STEVE RYDER: Yeah.

DAVID FROST: Who, who do you think are the contenders Steve?

STEVE REDGRAVE: Oh I think there's one that stands out head and shoulders above the others in my opinion and that's Paula Radcliffe, what she's done this year has been fantastic. What she's done this year has been absolutely...especially after the last few years, that she's been seen to be a very hard trier but everyone's been saying well she's not going to make it and going into the marathon, doing the London marathon and winning that hands done, then the Commonwealth Games and then the European Championships and then smashing the world record in Chicago marathon was, was fantastic.

DAVID FROST: If she were to win, Steve, obviously how many women have won this award?

STEVE RYDER: Quite a few and quite a few significant ones, of course Princess Ann was a winner, we had Mary Peters in the year following Princess Ann. Liz McColgan, Virginia Wade as well so a fairly decent list but you always sense that a woman has to battle her way through the voting a little bit harder but my goodness you...

DAVID FROST: Who else, who else, I mean Lennox Lewis, he won in what 99...

STEVE RYDER: Yes and he had to fight against Tyson earlier in the year.

DAVID FROST: And that was seen as a battle between good and evil wasn't it, good prevailed.

STEVE RYDER: Yes very much so. But the other candidates.

STEVE REDGRAVE: well you've got the likes of Tony McCoist, champion jump jockey, record breaking jump jockey. You've got Colin Montgomery and various members of the European Ryder Cup team who performed so gallantly. David Beckham who won it last year has not had that bad a season as well.

DAVID FROST: Yes and he did, he did the goal, the penalty.

STEVE RYDER: Absolutely.

DAVID FROST: The spot kick award as you say in soccer jargon. There it is in fact on the screen and there he is going wild with joy as we all went wild with joy.

STEVE RYDER: During the years which will also be reflected of course the curlers was way back in February but we'll jog a few people's memories regarding what they achieved.

DAVID FROST: Yes well I think it will be either, may well be either Paul Radcliffe or Isambard Kingdom Brunel if students of Brunel get behind him, you know I think it could be him again.

STEVE RYDER: It could be Les Dennis if we get it terribly wrong.

DAVID FROST: And, but as you analyse these sports... it fascinates me, is there a common thread to the success of British people from, from your enormous success to the success of tennis player, to a footballer or whatever, is there something about psyching the opponents, will to win, is there, is there something common to all of these sportsmen that we're going to be reviewing tonight?

STEVE REDGRAVE: Well I think over the years that it tends to be that we haven't been very good at that psyching in this country and we have a few athletes that get to the top grade but we're not very good at sharing the ideas within the structure and you will see traits within all the top athletes of, of what makes being a top athlete, the discipline and the structure behind that, how they actually do it. But they tend to left to sort of their own devices to try and find their path through.

DAVID FROST: You mean like, like we're rather late having the cricket academies and things like that you mean?

STEVE REDGRAVE: On all aspects of the structural side of the physical things of having the academies and things like that, but also the mental side of it, of mentally preparing athletes at an earlier enough stage to try and make each step a little bit easier when they get to, to the top grade.

DAVID FROST: Well Steve's part of a campaign to get the Olympics back to London, Steve do you think we might, other Steve do you think we might be able to pull that off?

STEVE RYDER: I think so, I mean you had a few doubts maybe this time last year when we were judging our efforts on the fallout of the dome and all that sort of thing. I think the Commonwealth Games in Manchester has given our ambitions for the Olympics a huge boost and we should really try to feed off that. But time is running out to get the bid together and to get all the impetus behind it that is required but I think it is something that we should be doing and should be seen to be doing as well.

DAVID FROST: And you said what's needed there is a good team but it needs the team player or a captain, it needs Tony Blair's support?

STEVE REDGRAVE: Well both of these three elements, three parties that we need sitting round a table and going ahead with this and once the British Olympic Association, they have to be seen to be putting the final bid together, that has to be the organisation and has to have the City of London and the Mayor very much involved. But the other party is the government, they've got to be behind this and support it right the way through. People are saying well they're dragging their feet, I'm actually looking at the positive side of it, if they're dragging their feet on a positive side of looking like that they really want to try and do this and making sure that there's no hidden problems that are going throw in their way, so yes we are running out of time but I'm, I'm sure they're going to make the right decision.

DAVID FROST: Well bless you, thank you both, we'll be looking forward to it tonight. Have a great show tonight, we'll be looking forward to it, eight o'clock tonight.

END


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