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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 08:50 GMT
Q&A: Robin Cousins
As the 50th anniversary of BBC Sports Personality of the Year approaches, past winners share their memories.


Robin Cousins (ice skating)
Sports Personality 1980

What do you remember about the night you won?

I was just overawed by the stream of incredible sportsmen and women walking into the studio.

Robin Cousins
Robin Cousins features on Simply the Best, BBC 1,
1900-1930 GMT, Wed 10 Dec
Winter sports is quite a small community so for me it was a night for star-spotting - and there was absolutely no thought in my head that I would win the trophy.

I was up against people like Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson and my event had been 10 months earlier so really I was just thrilled that people remembered me.

When I heard my name read out, I remember sitting there stunned for what felt like half an hour!

How did you celebrate?

I can't remember but I'm sure there was some drinking involved - strictly orange juice of course.

What was about your achievements in 1980 that captured the public's imagination?

Ice skating was really the only discipline Britain had been successful in at the Winter Olympics so people were really focused on it.

At the time, I was trying to do things in a way my rivals wouldn't be able to - I was always an individual and I tried to avoid following trends.

I look back now on my routines and cringe a bit, what with the disco music and everything, but at the time it was considered quite cutting edge.

DID YOU KNOW?
Robin Cousins' father, Fred, was an apprentice goalkeeper at Millwall
After I'd won the Olympic gold, I had no idea what the reaction was like in Britain because I headed straight back to training in America.

It wasn't until I came home at the end of the season, and then picked up the BBC award that I realised how many people had watched me.

How high does winning Sports Personality of the Year rate when you look back over your career?

It's an incredible honour.

You're up against some of the greatest athletes that the country has ever produced - whether they're Olympic winners or world champions or whatever.

As an athlete, you do your job to the best of your ability but you can't control the effect it has on other people.

So when people vote you Sports Personality of the Year, it has an incredible impact and I'm sure every winner has been sincere in saying it was a complete surprise.

Who do you consider the all-time Sports Personality?

Sir Steve Redgrave, because of the amount of time he spent at the highest level of his sport.


Robin Cousins was speaking to Caroline Cheese





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