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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 08:41 UK

Woodward reveals ceremony concern

Sir Clive Woodward
Sir Clive Woodward will be compiling a report on Beijing

Sir Clive Woodward says the Beijing Games' opening ceremony could have had a detrimental effect on athletes.

The British Olympic Association's director of elite performance was shocked athletes had to stand for the four-hour event without refreshment.

"It was hot and there weren't many drinks around. You don't want this so close to competing in events," he said.

Woodward will recommend a different approach for London 2012 in his post-Beijing report to the BOA.

Apart from their lengthy time parading inside the Bird's Nest stadium, athletes were kept in a gymnasium for two hours before their march-past.

Big screens were provided but they were not turned on, so most missed the spectacular start to the ceremony, which many have described as the best ever.

"It is something we will have to talk about after the Games, " Woodward said after his experience of the marathon curtain-raising event in Beijing.

BBC Sport's Adrian Warner

"The opening ceremony was a long time for the athletes to be on their feet.

"If I was a coach in charge of a team, with that heat and that amount of standing around, I would think that it was a lot.

"You don't often do something like that a week or two weeks out from a big event.

"No athletes who were competing in the next 48 hours were there but for the others, and even for the officials, it was a very long time standing.

"It's things like that we have got to have a good look at."

Woodward said his role was to flag up problems that in the past have been overlooked once the Games had finished.

British athletes
British athletes at the opening ceremony parade

"I can see that [when] we go back home in September that these things could be missed but I won't forget; that's why I'm here.

"I'm having a really good look at all of this stuff.

"I will then make my report back to the BOA, and all the national governing bodies, and UK Sport to make sure we learn key lessons."

Woodward added that there were also many positives to remember.

"Some really good things have happened that I've been really impressed with.

"All the accommodation for example has been top-drawer and the team working together across-sports has been excellent."

England's 2003 rugby World Cup-winning coach was also optimistic about Britain's chances in Beijing.

"I think if the British team gets some momentum going, which I think it has already with two golds, then it could be a very good Games," he said.

"We have very strong events still to come, it's very early days still but we have had a very good start."


see also
UK aims to fill all seats in 2012
11 Aug 08 |  UK Politics
Essex venue to host 2012 biking
11 Aug 08 |  London 2012
London 2012 'can match Beijing'
08 Aug 08 |  UK News
London 2012 stadium in pictures
07 Nov 07 |  London 2012

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