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Good evening, welcome to London, home of the 2012 Olympic Games and
the greatest show on earth. The Olympic Games... It's finally
arrived. It's a fantastic opportunity. It's just massive
really, being in London, a home Games, it's the ultimate.
doesn't matter what your ranking is, it's about going to the Olympic
Games and prove you can beat anyone on their day. It's lonely a few
opportunities thaw get to say OK, amongst all those athletes in the
history of world sport, where I do stack up? You're very lucky, you
feel very special for yourself. It's something which is addictive.
That's why people are happy to wait four years for the next one.
any athlete to win Olympic gold in London will mean to say they will
almost certainly become mill airs and will be recognised throughout
the land. You're an Olympic champion for your life. You can be
a world champion, but no-one can take an Olympic title from you.
years of planning, meticulous preparation and years of sweat on
the track, our Commonwealth, European and world champion is
If his run on the day is good enough to win the gold, he will win
it. He is the guy who I think can cope with that label of being a
strong favourite. From aspiring young Swansea harrier to major
champion Gold Medal winner. 2010 was Greene's breakthrough year. He
beat Rhys Williams at the European championships. Wales have a
champion. 12 months ago in South Korea Greene became the world's
best. It is a Gold Medal for Great Britain. The Olympics means more
than any other championship and being a British favourite in London
multiplies the pressure. Olympics is the crowning glory for
track and field athletes. It comes round every fewer years and it's
the pinnacle of sporting achievement for us. I don't run up
the hills in the winter thinking, "I can't wait to get a bronze ."
the gold motivates me. It would be foolish to settle for anything less.
Greene isn't the first. The greatest 400 metre hurdler in
history experienced the pressure of being a home favourite in Los
Angeles in 1984. You have to be very disciplined. You need
tremendous amount of endurance and also you have to be able to stay
calm under pressure because it's a challenging event psychologically.
Of all the athletes in London who can handle that kind of, you know
you should be winning this, he is the guy who can cope with that
label of being a strong favourite. You say, what pressure are you
under, are you feeling the pressure? He'll go, what pressure?
I just go out and do what I've got to do. I love that about the guy.
He's honest. I know a lot of expectation come was it. I don't
feel under pressure. As long as I can train well every day, I will
perform really well. That's what people will remember in years to ko.
The man from Puerto Rico has beaten him, but they're getting closer and
closer. People will remember who lives in London. It will be an open
race. Being the world champion in 2011 really puts the target on your
back. I think it's going to be uphill fight to win the medal.
Through the year, when you're training hard, you think it's the
Olympics, biggest competition ever, I can't wait for it. When it gets
close, I'll think, it's 400 metres, ten hurdles, it's that basic.
assess the Welsh athletes' chances I'm joined by two Silver Medalists,
Sharron Davies and Iwan Thomas. Great to see you. All eyes on Dai
Greene. Yeah he's the man of the moment. He is the reigning,
European, Commonwealth and world champion. He's not had the best
run-in, in that he's not winning all the races. This time last year
he wasn't running this well. He's had a personal best. He can't
control the opposition. Javier Culson is unbeaten and running very
fast indeed. Dai has a good head for racing. You can't help but like
him. He's a very laid back character, a mark of a champion.
He's very calm and a good influence on everybody. He's unrecognisable,
when you think of the big names. He could probably wonder down the High
Street and most people wouldn't flinch. Is he can't he can beat
Culson? He is. Culson is running well. But Dai is running faster
than last year. But has Culson got the meantal strength of Dai Greene.
Must remain focus and positive. On your marks, that's massive pressure
at an Olympic final. And not losing energy with those nerves. If you
have that calm persona that's really important. Thank you very
much for now. The first event kicks off at Millennium Stadium two days
before the official opening ceremony when Team GB's women's
football event kicks off. Here at the Millennium Stadium
they're getting ready to start the whole Olympic party, just a little
ironic given that there won't be a single Welsh female player in sight
and those who run Welsh football would still rather have nothing to
do with the whole thing. Why not share in the Olympic spirit?
don't really see a Team GB. We see a Welsh team, an English, Scottish
and Northern Irish team. We want to continue to play under that flag.
On political grounds, we've been opposed to it. On sporting grounds,
we don't really actually view it in such the same esteem as we do
something like the World Cup or European Championships. New kit
contentious, new territory for Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and the other
Welshmen in the squad. There is a worry that FIFA might use a Team GB
against the Welsh retaining their own team. Some fear the worse.
may be 50 years before nb states it as a precedent. But if it's used as
a precedent it's a mistake. Football is a political game. There
are a lot of pressures on FIFA from all kinds of directions and at one
level, it is very difficult to justify why the UK has four
separate teams. Four nations into one, could it really happen? Sport
Wales understand it's takes only three member countries to put a
proposal forward to FIFA's Congress, then it's down to an open vote. The
trend in recent years has been towards more nations not less. 209
members now compared to 16720 years ago. When you -- 1 67, 20 years ago.
They're not looking to condense the old Yugoslavia into Six Nations any
more. They're happy for them to participate in stand alone nations.
There's no way that FIFA or UEFA will condense all the home nations
into one team. That just won't happen. That seems to be the main
sticking point in regard to the support of their players. I feel
Wales will always be a national team. I don't feel me being here
would jeopardise that otherwise I wouldn't be here. Wales is first
and mower most to mem. I don't see that being a threat. That's not me
being selfish, because I want to be here. It's one of the biggest
disappointments that I've not been a major competitions with Wales.
That will always remain. We weren't good enough in the teams I played
in. You know you can't moan. Obviously this is a chance for me
to experience tournament football, which I've never done before.
crowd of almost 40,000 expected for the women's opener on Wednesday,
but no Welsh players, after coach Hope Powell picked an all-English
squad but for two squads. There should be a full house in Cardiff
on August 1, when the men play. At the age of 38, maybe a new prize
for the man who's won almost everything else. We're here to win
it like every other athlete and team. We want to win. The players
in the squad are winners as well. Yeah hopefully we can win the Gold
Medal. So, a record 30 Welsh athletes will
compete for Team GB. Aly Rowell now on who to look out for and cheer
for over the next few weeks. They call her the head hunter, 19-
year-old tai-kwon-do star Jade Jones won gold at the Youth
Olympics. Now the British number one has the real thing in her
sights. If I got gold hopefully it would be on everyone's lips. It's
going to be amazing fighting in your own country. It's a once in a
lifetime chance. Sarah Thomas can boast about training with the
Duchess of Cambridge in the build up to London 2012, but for the
hockey star from Aberdare, it will be a case of results than royalty
when she competes at the Rinkbank arena. The feeling is completely
different than in Beijing. Our sights are set on the Gold Medal,
with that and home support and family and friends being there, it
will be mind blowing. Does kus star Brett Morse was the youngest
finalist at the World Championships last year. It's London where the
23-year-old is hoping to throw himself into the history books.
Will it finally be fourth time lucky for Christian Malcolm? The
200 metre specialist has flown the Olympic flag in Sydney, Athens and
Beijing, now in front of a home crowd the sprinter hopes to get his
hands on an Olympic medal. Watch out for 400 metre hurdler Rhys
Williams. He won gold to take the European crown last month and knows
how special it will be to perform in London. I've been in the British
team since 2005, but getting this Olympic team after missing four
years ago was a big relief. metre runner Gareth Warburton was
initially left out of the squad, but after a successful appeal,
wants to prove he's got what it takes to succeed. Helen Jenkins
knows her way around London. It was on the tryathlon track where she
won the World Championship in 2011. When approaching that early morning
5.30am swim, it's this London course she's been thinking of.
How fast can I swim? How fast can I bike? How fast can I run?
Potentially it could be a life changing day. It's meant more over
the last few years, as I've been stronger and more consistently
racing at the high level, having the chance of winning a medal, it's
become more real over the past few years. I think it's become more
important. I want to get to the 4th August and deliver my best
performance. Hopefully that's your Gold Medal, silver, bronze, if it's
not, I know I've given it To win gold Helen Jenkins will have
to swim 1500 metres, ride 43 kilometres and run 10k quicker than
her rivals. At Beijing she finished 21st. Now she's one of the
favourites. I'm a very different athlete this time round. I was so
happy to make the Olympics. From winning worlds earlier that year,
it changed my expectation. My expectation at the beginning of
2008, wow, just to get to an Olympics. This time round, heading
into 2012, it's not been about just making the Olympics. It's about
going to the Olympics and hopefully getting a medal. Her confidence
appears justified. She's the current world champion and is
either -- won or come second in five of her last seven races.
think it's always nice to go in as the underdog with less pressure and
expectation, but if you put in good performances you get that pressure,
you get that attention. You have to accept it and just take it. It's
there. It's a great opportunity as well. It's a home Olympics, to go
in as one of the favourites, it can be a bit scary, but also I've got
tone joy it. This opportunity's not going to come round geb. -- again.
54 other women stand between her and the gold. At 28 this could be
her best opportunity. But it's one stroke, pedal and one step at a
time. It's a life changing event. If you win an Olympic Gold Medal,
but I haven't thought too much about that yet. All I've thought
about is the swim, the bike and the run. It's very much the process of
that rather than, the process of the race. I think trying to focus
on just the race rather than all the other stuff. Otherwise it gets
a bit big really. It's too much to focus on. Just breaking it down to
swim, bike, run keeps it manageable. We'll discuss Helen's chances in a
moment. First, more names for you to look out for now as we hit the
water. Cardiff Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark will go for gold.
After becoming the first British women's team to become world
champions, it's no wonder they go into the Games as favourites.
Weymouth is a variable place. We can get any wind conditions. We
want to go knowing that as a team we're totally solid. We know each
other inside out and what makes each other and especially in that
environment. Rogue has traditionally brought huge joy for
Britain at the Olympics. Reigning champion Tom James hopes to repeat
his Gold Medal success from Beijing in the Coxless fours. There will be
a lot of pressure on our four coming into the Games. It will be
watched by quite a lot of people I imagine and big expectation of
winning a Gold Medal. So that's something fun to be part of. It's a
challenge. It's something I think we can certainly do. Don't bet
against podium finishes for Chris Bartley and Victoria Thornley. They
compete in the lightweight four and women's eight.
In the pool, there are five Welsh hopefuls. It will be Jemma Lowe's
second Olympics, and after winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in
the 100 metre butterfly her expectations are high heading into
London. It's good to have motivation of hoping to get a medal
to keep you going in training. But I'm focusing on doing the best time
and doing the best performance I can do at the Games. If it happens
then brilliant. Georgia Davies competes in the 100 metre
backstroke. Growing up and watching sport, making the Olympics has
always been my all-time goal or dream,if you like. To have achieved
that, I want to take it even further now and swim as hard as I
can and try to go for personal best times and get the best result
possible. Then there's the new kid on the block, 19-year-old Ieuan
Lloyd swimming both the 200 metre freestyle, individual and relay
events. David Davies is back on familiar territory, competing in
the 1500 metres. His third Olympics. It's a difficult one to do. The
third is challenging. I want to deliver the performance of my life
that I can do on that day and get through to the final. It will be
very difficult. Swimming's moved on massively. I'm up for the challenge.
Home Olympics is a fantastic thing to be going to. Ollie Locke makes
up the Welsh contingent swimming the 200 metre backstroke.
Marco Laughran makes the Welsh contingent swimming in the 200
metre. Let's touch on the swimmers,
Georgia Davies, Jemma Lowe what are their chances of success? Georgina
is an out-and-out sprinter. It's difficult to predict. It's a close
race actually. The American Missy Franklin is in a good place on that
race. With Gemma, she probably is Wales' best hope of a medal in the
pool. She's very experienced now. I think she'll do well. David Davies'
third Olympics. He's won a bronze and silver. He's had a difficult
couple of years. Yes, he's had viruses, a foot problem, all sorts
of things. He's battled through it. He left his coach and come back
again. He's tried really hard. He wanted one of every colour, which
would have been a fantastic ending to an amazing career. The triathlon
is very much all eyes on Helen Jenkins. She has a great chance of
the Gold Medal. She is a fantastic performer. If things hold together,
she has a fantastic shout to win the title. She loves this venue.
She know it's well. That's the great thing about. It she's done
the World Championships here. She's had a real practice. That's a home
advantage, to be familiar with our racing environments and having a
partisan crowd. What does it do to an athlete when UK Sport say we're
looking at Alastair BrownLee and Helen Jenkins to bring home a medal.
I think pressure like that can be a good thing. It can build you, it
can make you think you're ten foot tall. Or you can shrink and have
the nerves. I think she's very confident and rightly so, she'll go
out and hopefully swim in this water very fast indeed. There's
another defending champion I want to talk about, Tom James the rower.
This time last year didn't think he was going to make it. He had a
heart square as well. How does he get ready for the biggest stage of
all? He is the defending champion. He's done it before. He's been in
the boat and won gold before. He knows how much he has to push his
body to win. Hopefully his three team-mates can help him out. He's a
member of a team and in rowing they have very strong ethos in regards
to the team. They talk about things in terms of the performance of the
boat. I think that strength in numbers is really important. He
brings experience to the boat too which is valuable. We're seen
Christian Malcolm in an earlier film, it would be great to see him
do well. I would say, I'd love to see him get what he deserves an
individual medal. He made the last final in Beijing in the 200. To
make the British team and sprint nowadays, have you to run pretty
good. He's in good shape to be here. You look at Blake and Bolt and
they're Another Level. We know that. If Christian gets it right on the
day, he can make a final. What can that home advantage do? Can it
bring him to find the extra 20% and ged a medal. I would love to see
that. Two more big names now, two people who we followed since they
struck gold in Beijing in 2008. It's time to meet Geraint Thomas
COMMENTATOR: Nicole Cooke is the Olympic road race champion!
Welsh woman winning Britain's first gold in Beijing. 2008 was her year
with a World Championship Jersey added to her Olympic gold. Since
then things have been less rosy. A loss of form and a public spat with
a team-mate and a battle to make the team. Whfrpblgts it comes to
the race we're going to come up with the Ba'athist strategy as the
team. That happens in -- The best strategy in the team. We've gone on
to win and it's been wonderful knowing that I was a key part in
that victory. That is a part of road racing. How will the fiercely
independent Cooke cope with playing second fid toll another Brit?
representing my country is an honour and being on the start line
in London, wearing the British Jersey will be a highlight of my
career and I'll be there giving it my best that's for sure. Geraint
Thomas' focus has been varied since his success four years ago. This
year he's had a one-track mind, to repeat an astonishing night in the
Beijing velodrome. COMMENTATOR: I cannot believe what
I'm seeing! It's another world record, an astonishing world record.
I just feel completely different rider to be honest. I've done three
grand tours since then. I feel stronger in myself and a lot more
confident in my ability. I think the squad we have now as well is
stronger than in Beijing. He may be one of four in the pursuit team but
Thomas is ready to take a leading role. You look at your Colin
Jackson's and Fred Evans and your JPRs and you go on and on, I think
our boy surpasses all of them. After a world record breaking
performance at the World Championships the British quartet
start strong. Thfrpblgts whole year has been about London and winning
gold. I missed the tour this year and the classics, which are massive
races. I've committed everything for the team pursuit. If I go and I
know I've done all I can, and there's nothing else I can do, I
can be happy with. That but I want that Gold Medal.
From our cyclists to more Welsh Olympians and we start with big
hitters. A golden age for Welsh boxing could
bring gold medals if Andrew Selby and Fred Evans live up to
expectations. Selby heads to London as European champion and top fly
weight in the world. Evans also the best in Europe and number two at
welterweight. I can't wait. just coming for the gold only.
Obviously a medal would be great. But I want to get to a final and
win the gold. Spinning the ribbon for Wales and Britain Frankie Jones
will go it alone as the UK's only entry in individual ridge make
gymnastics. Less of a long shot for success is this woman Elena Allen,
born in Russia, based in Newport and training in mid-Wales. I have
been British number one since 2000. So I am the best this country has.
I would like to win the Olympics. Failing that I would love to get a
medal of any colour. I would be really happy if I gave the best
performance of my life on the day. The heavy weights, Gareth Evans, a
former painter and decorator who gave up his job and moved to Leeds
to per sue his Olympic dreams and Natasha Perdu who combined her job
as a rubbish collector with daily bouts of training. She's keeping
expectations in check. The only way I get a gold is if I pinch it off
the winner. It depends how big as angry they are. The opposition is
very tough. My objective is to get out there, enjoy the platform, try
and do GB justice and lift as well as I can.
Well what a fantastic view we have of London, the Olympic city. You
were part of the bid. How does it feel knowing that the limb bik
games are about to start? I can't believe they're here. We started
working on them seven years ago. It feels as if it's seven years have
shot by. I don't think the country realises how much it will grip
everybody and how proud we will be of the athletes and the country.
How excited are you not only about the London Eye here and what about
what we are about to see? It's going to be brilliant. This city is
beautiful. I think we'll put on the best Olympics. I wish I was younger
and still keeping. Whoa I went wobbly then. It's going to be
brilliant. Let's talk about Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas. Nicole is
being asked to possibly give up her Gold Medal that she won in Beijing,
because she's part of a team now. How tough is that when you're an
individual competitor? Unbelievably tough. I can't imagine how that
feels. We both come from sports where you stand out as an
individual and you race. If you were a rower or team cyclist that's
a different feel. You're asking somebody to put someone else's
winning ambitions in front of your own. I don't know how that would
feel. Another terrific competitor is Geraint Thomas, British cycling
on top of the world. He's just developed into a world leader and
world beater. He's a nice guy as well, off the bike, he's a
fantastic guy. I'd love to see him win gold. Quite a lot of pressure
on the first day too, on the cycling, road racing, the fact that
we're hoping they're Goce to set us up. Success is contagious. The
first day is important. Your grandfather was Welsh. Are you
cheering on the Welsh athletes? Absolutely. With a name like Davies,
of course I am. If not, that window opens! It's been a pleasure having
you on the programme. Thank you both very much indeed. Enjoy the