Here is a selection of 2016 articles for you
The Olympics...and that
What is your first Olympic memory? I can remember bits and pieces from Seoul in 1988: Ben Johnson in the 100m final and Barry Davies with his "Where were the Germans?" magic.
In 1992 I was all over it. I used to walk around the house quoting David Coleman. "It's Linford Christie" and "Gunnell gets the gold" most of the time in an ill-fitting pair of Great Britain shorts.
Fast forward to 2016 and I got the opportunity to cover my third Olympic Games for the BBC. I was working for Sports News during Beijing, had a highlights show on BBC1 in 2012 and - this time around - I was on a beach in Rio for 7 hours a day on BBC4.
Our pre-games plan was always to make it as interactive as possible, involve as many locals as we could and try and turn Copacabana into the world's largest living room so that - after a few days - viewers felt like they could walk into it in the dark and find the light switch.
What we didn't realise was that we'd have so many recurring characters and that people would enjoy it so much. After a few days my phone would start exploding each night with requests to see "Anthony Worrall Thompson (AWT)" - or at least his lookalike who trained every night behind us on the beach.
'Fisherman's Corner' became a big hit, as did the colour of the moon but nothing compared to the love for the #Copacabinmen. Those boys on the bins became big stars on the show. It was lovely that they got so involved and great that we could give them gold medals on the final night - even if we missed the first few minutes of the gold medal match in the water polo!
I haven't even mentioned Maria yet. I am so happy we took the risk on that Saturday night and invited her over. With her warmth, friendliness and wonderfully relaxed attitude she was the embodiment of Rio and changed a lot of people's perceptions about the city and the games.
By the next day, the clip of the interview had been watched over 15 million times around the world and she was a global star. It was mad. She was we getting interviewed by TV stations snd newspapers and I was getting stopped in the street in Brazil by people wanting to say 'hello' to the 'Maria Man'.
Social media is a huge part of the coverage these days and throughout the games we invited questions and comments and had loads of hashtags all based around Copacabana and inspired by the original #Copacabanter. #Copacabinmen trended most nights but #Copacabarber (when we had a hairdresser on) and many more were suggested over the 2 weeks. #CopacaNoodle was perhaps the most controversial. The couple behind us who were 'reading a book... in a strange pose' went viral and - at time of writing - it is the third most watched video that the BBC has ever posted online!
There were so many other incidents over the fortnight but the standout memory for me was the people that we got to meet and interview on the telly. It was a pleasure to speak to real Brazilians as well as the athletes. On BBC4 we had the luxury of time which you never have on BBC1.
When I arrived back in the UK two things amazed me. Firstly the number of people who asked whether I'm going to Maria's wedding and, secondly, the invite I got it go and address the crowd at 'Brazil Day' in London. There were 1000s of people in Trafalgar Square and who gave me such a surprisingly warm welcome and, encouragingly, were so happy with the way we had covered the games. It was interesting to see how passionate they were that we had - in their words - fairly represented Rio by talking to real people, about real issues as well as showing the sport.
They even organised a fake hen party to join me on stage. Thankfully there was nobody 'reading a book' in the background!
As I got on the train back to Sheffield from Brazil Day a family ran over and said how much they enjoyed BBC4 at the Olympics. Another shouted "No AWT, No Party" and gave me a thumbs up and he wandered off towards the Thameslink platform. We have all been humbled by how well it went down. People have written and said really nice things about the coverage but it truly was a team effort. Allow me to drop a few names...
Matt Roberts and Chris Treece were our editor and director. They had a wonderful team working with them at the International Broadcast Centre. Lowri, Adam, Caroline, Cameron, Howard and Julie all did a magnificent job in the gallery as did Tim, Steve and Caroline in VT (where we edit and play stuff out from).
Down at the beach we had floor manager Dan and then Cath, Rob, Marco, Gary, Jose, Mauricio, Carlos, Alison in the Kiosk of Dreams and Suzanne, Sam and Becky in the main office where the BBC1 studio was.
Anyway... that was just a really long-winded way of saying 'thanks'. Delighted so many of you enjoyed the coverage and we'll see you in Tokyo in 2020. Do they have a beach in Tokyo?
Magic, Mud and Maradona
Ever since he was a taller-than-average boy, Dan has been obsessed with football. Cups have a special place in his heart – whether they be Rumbelows, Simod or the big ones they hand out every four years. He’s been fortunate enough to travel the globe covering them and, in that time, has inadvertently erased part of Wrexham’s glorious past, interviewed Jugen Klopp in a cupboard alongside tea ladies (Sue and Tracey) and been mistaken for an Italian superstar (it was dark).
Who wouldn't want to play keepy-uppy won a Rio roof with Clarence Seedorf or watch Eggheads with Sir Alex Ferguson? There are also plenty of moments when things haven't quite gone according to plan - like an awkward gym session with Germany's World Cup winning manager Joachim Löw or when Dan was filming halfway up the famous Wembley arch on FA Cup final day, only to be interrupted by his mum ringing him to ask what he was having for tea!
Dan's personal highlights reel form the starting point for some of the cup football's funniest and most bizarre football; from outrageous dressing-room dust-ups to Maradona's greatest rants. You might also see footballers in a new light after reading stories like Ipswich Town's Paul Anderson agreeing to pay to repair a fan's ceiling after they punched a hole in it whilst celebrating a vital goal scored by Anderson.
Packed with brilliant photographs, and told in Dan's unique style, the book also features a collection of his hugely popular punned team line-ups to make this the perfect gift for football fans everywhere.
If you can't wait to get hold of your copy, you can pre-order right now on Amazon.
The Walker Cup (not that one) 2016
Good people of the blog, let me tell you about the Walker Cup (not that one) 2016!
About three years ago I decided to set up a golf day to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk
I have been a patron of the hospital’s charity - alongside the likes of Jess Ennis-Hill, Michael Vaughan, Lee Westwood and Nick Matthew, for a while now - and I love the place.
We hold the day in September each year at the magnificent Hallamshire Golf Club in Sheffield www.hallamshiregolfclub.co.uk The plan in year one was to raise £30,000, then £40,000 in year two and £50,000 this year and we’ve beaten our target each time.
This year we smashed it raising over £62,000! I think we might have set the bar too high now but every penny will go towards a new multi-purpose Fluoroscopy System for the hospital, a life-saving piece of equipment which will be used for the diagnosis and treatment of vascular trauma injuries.
If you've ever been to Sheffield you'll know how proud the people are of the hospital but its services are also used by families all over the world and our aim at the charity is to make the facilities match the quality of the care.
So many people put so much work into the golf day: Tonya Kennedy from the charity is a superstar as is Charlie Mobbs from Hallamshire golf club. There are so many individuals and companies who donate unbelievable prizes but I’d like to give a special mention to TaylorMade and Yob Golf who have been there from the start and to Porsche Sheffield, whose support is amazing, and this year gave us a brand new Boxster as a hole-in-one prize! Sadly no-one won it.
Also big prize love to Galvin Green, Oakley, The Belfry, St Andrews, Gleneagles, The Wisley, Stoke Park, The 59 Club, The Aspiration Group, Your Golf Travel, The Premier League, Sports Impact, Glenmorangie, Swizzels, Bounce Balls, Barrington Ayre Tailors, Oliver Sweeney, Rupert Armitage, Chris Kamara and Eve Mattresses (who provided the most bizarre prize of the day)!
I haven’t even mentioned the celebs yet… Three weeks before the Ryder Cup it was amazing to have Masters Champion Danny Willett with us and Hallamshire hero Matt Fitzpatrick. I think they had 15 birdies between them!
Sophie Bray and Laura Unsworth, hockey gold medallists from Rio, were real stars and a massive thank you to all the famous faces including Alan Shearer, Michael Vaughan, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, A P McCoy and everyone else! I’ve included some pictures so you can do some celeb spotting!
Having won the team event in year one and the individual prize in year two, I managed to secure second to last place this year to avoid further embarrassment!! The top celeb was former Manchester United star David May and the overall individual prize went to Jon Sansby who went home with a beautiful custom made Walker Cup jacket lovingly created by Tom at Barrington Ayre after his frankly ridiculous 43 points!!!
It really was a special day and I’m looking forward to 2017 already…
Teams for the event tend to sell out incredibly quickly. If you are interested in taking part next year then please contact Tonya Kennedy at the charity firstname.lastname@example.org
One final thank you to the boys at Orbit Media Ltd. If you really want to get a flavour of the day have a look at the video they shot and put together. Really impressed by the way they go about their business and the end product www.orbitmedia.co.uk. You can also find them on twitter @orbitmedialtd if you want to follow them or say hello!
They’ve got a drone and they know how to use it…
Loved this gig, not a bad view and the studio wasn't bad either...
Pitchside is always a treat - what an atmosphere...
Chatting with Mr Ferdinand
He wasn't a bad footballer in his prime... Thierry Henry
This man is Welsh... and very good.
Walking down the beautiful Rue de … (can’t remember – but pretty houses…)
While BBC Breakfast balanced cheerios I went for the croissant. Pastry in the eye.
I had lots of sports based fun too ...
And I couldn't have done any of it without the lovely team of people who make it all happen:
Breakfast - some highlights so far...
With my new colleagues at the TRIC awards in that there London.
Humbled by covering the outcome of the Hillsborough enquiry – meeting some of the victims families in Liverpool.
One of my first outdoor broadcasts for Breakfast – the Lido in Cheltenham.
With Tony Bellew on the sofa.
Billy Ocean really did ‘get outta my dreams’…
Meeting the lovely Mr Hanks.
Privileged to chat to Major Tim Peake in space before he came back to earth.
A genuine English hero – Geoff Hurst.
Playing on a BMX with Liam Phillips. Yes I am wearing brogues.
And lastly for now, a few little fun things I've done...
And scariest of all...