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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 11:29 GMT

Steve Cram

BBC Sport's Steve Cram reveals his passion for skiing and a desire to try his hand at bobsleigh.

It is now nearly a decade since Steve Cram hung up his running shoes and brought the curtain down on a golden career in athletics.

Approaching his first ever Winter Olympics for the BBC, the former 1,500m champion explains how he draws on the strengths that made him a superstar now he's on the other side of the camera.

"I think having had a career in sport helps a lot, particularly with live television" he admits.

"The way you have to make quick decisions reminds me a lot of racing. The key thing is that you have the confidence to go with things."

"The first guy to turn me on to the Winter Olympics was Frans Klammer"
Steve Cram

Steve explains what excites him about winter sports and what he's particularly looking forward to in Salt Lake City.

"Downhill skiing is my favourite winter sport. I suppose it's more like running than anything else, except it comes down to hundredths and even thousandths of seconds.

"It's so exciting and is where a lot of the drama happens. I'm not a crash freak or anything but your heart is in your mouth."

Maverick

Steve's interest in the Winter Olympics was inspired by Frans Klammer coming over the hill to the deafening clamour of the crowd at Innsbruck.

"The first guy to turn me on to the Winter Olympics was Frans Klammer," he added.

"I don't know what it was about Klammer. I guess it was his maverick character. He was the first one to really make me sit up and watch.

"Also, during the Torvill and Dean era, for any Brit watching the Winter Olympics, the whole thing was taken over by the ice-skating and the ice-dance.

"Actually during that time I always seemed to be vying for awards with Torvill and Dean at the same dinners.

"They usually won. I know them quite well and took my kids to see them perform in one of their shows which came to Sunderland.

"I first skied about six months ago and have got the bug - I absolutely love it"
Steve Cram

"And of course, you can't forget Eddie the Eagle. I was actually on the same debating team with him at the Oxford Student Union once which was rather surreal."

Now Steve is no longer a professional athlete he can actually take part in some of the more dangerous winter sports.

"I'm a recent convert to skiing. When I was an athlete it was just too risky to ski because of the possibility of injury, so I resisted, but have taken the opportunity now," he said.

"I first skied about six months ago and have got the bug. I absolutely love it.

"I've also had a go at curling in Austria on holiday, which was a good laugh and have been offered the chance to go down a bobsleigh run a couple of times, but never managed to make it happen.

"I hope I get the chance in Salt Lake City."


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