Tag Archives: clive

Andy Robinson set to be named as Bristol"s Director of Rugby after quitting Scotland

Former Scotland boss Robinson tasked with securing promotion for Bristol

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

14:20 GMT, 15 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 15 February 2013

Former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson will be unveiled as Bristol's new director of rugby on Monday.

The 48-year-old resigned from his Scotland post late last year after they slumped to defeat against Tonga at the end of an autumn campaign which also featured losses to New Zealand and South Africa.

The long-time Bath stalwart as player and coach has retained strong West Country links and will be placed in charge of Bristol’s quest to gain promotion from the Championship back into the Aviva Premiership.

Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson being inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame during at the Hurlingham Club on February 7, 2013

Andy Robinson has had mixed results as an international rugby boss but was inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame earlier this month (right)

Robinson was forwards coach under Sir
Clive Woodward when England won the World Cup and he subsequently took
on the head coach role from 2004-2006, before resigning following a
dismal series of results.

He resurfaced at Edinburgh and made a sufficiently positive impression to be given the Scotland job in 2009. He led them at the World Cup two years later, but they suffered a pool stage exit for the first time.

Robinson also won eight England caps as a player.

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Bristol are battling to secure a place
in the Championship play-offs, although Newcastle remain firm favourites
to secure the one available promotion spot.

Head coach Liam Middleton is set to remain in his role after Robinson's arrival.

Kauto Star leaves Paul Nicholls" stables to begin new career in dressage

Nicholls saddened after Kauto Star leaves his stables to begin new career in dressage

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UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 11 December 2012

Paul Nicholls admitted his 'sadness' after Kauto Star's time at his Ditcheat yard came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.

The winner of five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups had been officially retired in late October and was expected to remain at Manor Farm Stables in Somerset until Boxing Day, when he was due to parade at Kempton.

Owner Clive Smith had announced on Monday that the 12-year-old would be moving away to be prepared by European bronze medalist eventing rider Laura Collett and long-time Great Britain manager and coach Yogi Breisner for a new career in the world of dressage – a decision not popular with Nicholls and his staff.

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

The winner of 19 races for the champion trainer, including four Betfair Chases and two Tingle Creeks, Kauto Star had been with Nicholls for eight years and was invariably ridden by his head lad Clifford Baker.

'It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time,' Nicholls told his Betfair column.

'It has been no secret that Kauto's future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement.

'And, to be brutally honest, this morning I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions.

'Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive's horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years.

'But what upset me and my team here is
when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse's
future – but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had
looked after him here for the past nine years. That really upset us.'

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Nicholls went on: 'So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved – there were about six of us in the meeting – I rang up Clive, said I don't want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner's this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the dressage field as soon as possible.

'Which we did with the saddest of hearts. But I like to think with a lot of dignity, too. And, yes, there were plenty of tears too. He was a member of the family here at Ditcheat, and we will all miss him so much.

'I would just to like say that it was a privilege for us here at Ditcheat to train the horse. Good luck, old boy. You were the best – and deserve the best.'

Collett, 22, who is an aspiring Olympian based at the Membury Estate in Wiltshire, will be helped by Breisner to assess the gelding's suitability for the discipline in the coming weeks.

She tweeted: 'I feel very privileged and extremely honoured to have been asked to ride Kauto Star. I will be working closely with Yogi to give Kauto Star the best chance of a second career in dressage.'

Members of the Ditcheat team expressed their sadness at the horse's departure, with Nicholls' travelling head girl Donna Blake, tweeting:

'Farewell to our dear Kauto Star, sad day that he is leaving those who genuinely care and respect him. Undeserved.'

Smith is currently abroad, but at a lunch to promote the William Hill King George VI Chase in London on Monday, he had said: 'A lot of very good chasers have gone on to do very well at dressage, like Garrison Savannah and Neptune Collonges and I wanted him to have an interest – he's just too good to be a hack or to be out in a field.

'I wanted him to do something else and he's going to be down at the other side of Lambourn and Laura Collett and Yogi will be working with him. We'll know in a very short time (if it is a possible option).'

Sir Clive Woodward says Stuart Lancaster should pick tougher players

Woodward: Lancaster needs to toughen England up rather than worrying about World Cup seedings

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sir Clive Woodward has told England rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster to stop worrying about the World Cup and to start toughening up his players instead.

Lancaster's team have been widely criticised after losing 20-14 to Australia on Saturday and Woodward, the man who led England to World Cup victory in 2003, joined the disparaging voices.

'He's (Lancaster) got to pick a tougher team. International rugby is a tough, tough game,' insisted Woodward, who believes that England are worrying too much about the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

'I don't give a monkey's about World Cup seedings. You just have to win your next game. This is a bit of a problem.

'We keep talking about World Cups. The World Cup is three years away. It doesn't matter. You have to talk about winning your game Saturday.

'The mindset of the coach and players has got to be, “If we don't win on Saturday then we lose our jobs on Monday”.'

England must pick up the pieces for South Africa and then New Zealand but Woodward still has grounds for optimism.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek, he added: 'The good thing now is that we (England) have two games where we won't be favourites.

'This will be a big reality check for the team and they have a big chance of bouncing back.'

Lancaster is scheduled to announce his team on Thursday. Fans and pundits left Twickenham questioning England's pack, especially prop Joe Marler, lock Tom Palmer and flanker Tom Johnson, plus wing Charlie Sharples.

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

England have a number of options including giving starting places to substitutes in lock Joe Launchbury, flanker Tom Wood and prop Mako Vunipola.

Three other players, who turned out for their clubs at the weekend, are also in the mix.

They are Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan and the London Irish pair of centre Jonathan Joseph and prop Alex Corbisiero.

Woodward was furious that England had ignored a kickable penalty 10 minutes from time which, if successful, would have cut the lead to 20-17 and he questioned whether England had sufficiently discussed what options they had in the course of a match.

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

'The key thing is to get these things in players' heads before you go on to the pitch. So they know what's going to happen at every single situation,' he said.

'There's no point in reviewing the video after the game when you have lost. You have got to review things before you go in and that's the secret of coaching.'

Sir Clive was disappointed that substitute scrum-half Ben Youngs opted to take a tapped penalty rather than the penalty kick at goal in the 70th minute.

He said: 'In the cold light of day the right decision was to kick for goal and to reduce the margin to just three. If you go for the line-out or go for the try you have to score.

'If you don't score then you just give huge momentum back to the defending team.'

BOA in crisis over Lord Sebastian Coe"s bid for top job: Charles Sale

BOA in crisis over Coe bid for top job

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 20 September 2012

The British Olympic Association are in turmoil just weeks after the momentous success of Team GB at London 2012 because of bitter in-fighting at the top of the organisation.

The divides have been sparked by chairman Lord Moynihan’s surprise decision to quit a year early with the BOA facing financial problems and many staff unsure of their futures in the downsizing after a home Games.

Even with hot favourite Lord Coe waiting to take over and his stardust urgently required to bring in missing sponsorship, the BOA board have been split over the succession process.

BOA lawyers, faced with an unclear rule book, persuaded the directors to keep to their agreed election date of November 7 even when some board members wanted to fast track Coe in a fortnight earlier because of the impending sponsorship crisis.

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

The mess was summed up by chief executive Andy Hunt in first rushing through his re-structuring agenda before the election of the new chairman and then jetting off to Brazil on a 2016 Games recce.

Yet his priority had to be to talk over proposed changes with his department heads.

Director of sport Sir Clive Woodward, whose role is not part of Hunt’s leaner blueprint, was due to leave the BOA in any case after London.

But a Coe-led regime would want Woodward to stay on in a part-time capacity as the potential chef de mission for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and Rio.

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Even if the acrimony between Hunt and
Woodward meant Sir Clive leaving before Coe’s arrival, it’s likely he
would be immediately re-hired for one or two days a week.

To
add to the debacle, Hunt is being advised to consult with Coe before
making any staff alterations. Yet he can hardly do that with GB Hockey
chief Richard Leman due to stand against Coe in the election despite
having no chance of winning.

And
Leman, a board ally of Lord Moynihan, who has influenced him to
challenge Coe, intends to canvass the 40-strong electorate on the
grounds that his leadership style would put more emphasis on minor
sports.

Arch politician
Moynihan’s exit strategy is confusing, to say the least. Having urged
Leman to stand, he was one of those wanting an early election that would
have hurried his foe Coe into office.

To
cap it all, suppliers Next are still trying to shift Team GB scarves,
the BOA merchandise which failed to sell during the Games, by slashing
the price to 50p.

Gold medals for all

The
awards season which stretches from October to May 2013 — when the Sport
Industry Group will be dolling out an absurd 19 gongs — is going to be
one long lap of honour for the Olympics.

So the short-listed Premier
League chief executive Richard Scudamore will know Lord Coe is certain
to be named City AM’s business personality of the year on October 17.

Roy does the rounds

Building bridges: Hodgson

Building bridges: Hodgson

After
the next international week in October, England manager Roy Hodgson and
assistant Ray Lewington intend to visit every Premier League club to
build relationships.

Following
Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent upset at the FA revealing an Ashley Young
injury, Old Trafford is unlikely to be the first port of call, although
Hodgson has said his relationship with Sir Alex remains cordial.

Pitch battle

Grassroots
Gloucestershire rugby club Drybrook keeping their main pitch in
pristine condition for the unlikely England kit launch there this week
meant a recent match between Cirencester third XV and Drybrook seconds
took place on a far less manicured surface.

Sadly, Daily Telegraph
sports journalist Matt Scott, a Cirencester back row forward, lost a
stud in the extra long grass shortly before snapping an anterior
cruciate ligament.

Data supply up for grabs

The
Premier League, on course for a 5billion haul from domestic and
overseas TV contracts, can even make plenty of money from their official
data supply contract.

The
Press Association, who hold the rights, are likely to be outbid in the
current tender by digital media companies Perform or Opta.

Kauto Star could have a shot at a sixth King George VI Chase

Kauto must show that he still has Star quality: Smith ponders shot at sixth King George

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UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 2 September 2012

A final shot at winning a remarkable sixth King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day remains an option for Kauto Star after owner Clive Smith deferred retiring his iconic steeplechaser.

The dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, winner of 23 of his 41 races, looked likely to have run for the last time when pulled up in the Festival feature in March.

But Smith, speaking at the annual owners’ day of trainer Paul Nicholls, said: ‘If he could retire at Kempton, that would be the place to do it. It is not my biggest aim to have a race but, if he shows form, he could go for the King George again.’

Twelve-year-old Kauto Star returned to the Nicholls’ stable last week.

Six and out: Will Kauto Star be lining up at Kempton on Boxing Day

Six and out: Will Kauto Star be lining up at Kempton on Boxing Day

Smith added: ‘The idea is to see where we are in a month to six weeks. Clifford Baker (Nicholls’ head lad) rides him every day — if anybody is going to know it is him.’

Nicholls added: ‘We will give him a month’s work and then Clive and I will have a chat. There is only one possible race he can run in and that is the King George. He would not be ready for the Betfair Chase (at Haydock on November 24).’

Smith drew comparison with the situation 12 months ago when Kauto Star returned from a listless display when pulled up at Punchestown in May to defy calls for retirement with emotional wins in both the Betfair Chase and King George.

But he insisted he wanted to avoid a situation like the one suffered by great Desert Orchid, who fell heavily on his last run when he competed in the 1991 King George as a 12-year-old.

That external pressure could now intensify ahead of Smith making a final decision with a racehorse who rates as public property.

Importantly, well-being on the gallops is not the only factor when weighing up the risks to rewards ratio of an extra run.

Meanwhile, Nicholls concedes hanging on to his champion trainers’ title with the likes of Denman, Master Minded and Grand National winner Neptune Collonges already retired will be tough.

Four-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck’s heads his team with emerging talent Sanctuaire, who’ll reappear in the Tingle Creek Chase.

JP McManus has joined his owner ranks for the first time with the purchase of Hereford bumper winner Mr Mole.

London 2012 Olympics: Sir Clive Woodward praises Great Britain"s female Olympians

Sir Clive: The golden girls will inspire Britain's next generation after the Games have gone

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 10 August 2012

Sir Clive Woodward is a ladies’ man. Not that this revelation should alarm his wife Lady Jane. This knight of the realm is a gentleman. His interest in any other members of the fairer sex is confined exclusively to the promise which won the Games for London and which has to be honoured right now.

It’s the legacy, of course. ‘Legacy, legacy, legacy,’ vowed Lord Coe.

Well, the legacy starts on Sunday night. The moment the Olympic flame flickers and dies at the end of the closing ceremony the yet greater task of igniting a brilliant and unquenchable future for British sport begins.

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Who will strike the first match ‘The girls,’ says Woodward. ‘The most striking feature of London 2012 has been the advances made in female sport.

‘Perhaps because they had further to go they have focused even more intensely and been open to fresh thinking about their preparation.’

So these are The Emancipation Games ‘Yes,’ says the elite performance director of the British Olympic Association. ‘The final breakthrough for the women. They have transformed the Olympic landscape.

‘No fewer than 48 per cent of the Team GB competitors are female. Their performances have been watched by all the live spectators here and the hundreds of millions of television viewers with the same fascination and excitement as the men.

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

‘We have arrived at true equality.’ Emmeline Pankhurst can sleep easy in her grave. The suffragettes who fought for the freedom to play men’s games as well as the right to vote can leave the rest to Sir Clive. He will employ the women to unlock the door to Seb Coe’s revolution in British sport.

The key to that is in the coaching. Woodward found it in the combat sports as Nicola Adams, in the boxing ring, and Jade Jones, on the taekwondo mat, boosted the surge of gold medals.

‘Just look at these girls,’ says Woodward. ‘They are not only talented but technically correct, fast, beautifully balanced, have perfect footwork and absolute commitment to their training. That tells us that they have world-class coaches and that is where the legacy has to come from.

‘It’s not only about the money and the facilities, although of course all that is important. The future is in the teaching.’

As the only England manager to win the Rugby World Cup, Woodward is the most iconic figure in team coaching in this country since Sir Alf Ramsey in the 1960s.

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

That makes it all the more significant that he sees one-on-one coaching as the most vital element for every sport.

‘Look at it in the Olympic perspective,’ he says. ‘The most successful athletes have individual coaches. Some more than one. Jessica Ennis has her main coach but they also use specialists for some of her different disciplines in the heptathlon.

‘Without doubt that focused training is the most crucial. Our national football and rugby teams need one-on-one coaching for all the players.

‘Put it this way. If I could have a rugby XV in which every position was filled by an Olympic gold medal winner then that team would win. Without doubt. Team coaching is easy when you have properly schooled players.

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

‘I will go so far as to say that it would benefit football and rugby players to spend some time being coached in the combat sports. They develop that great balance as well as strength and grit — and courtesy, grace and good manners. Look how polite most Olympic athletes are.

‘Then who knows Some footballers who might not make it to the top could suddenly find another sport at which they could become stars, maybe Olympians.

‘The biggest lesson I learned from my time at Southampton Football Club was the need for concentration on individual skills. Matt Le Tissier told me about the hours he spent just working on his first touch and he became one one of the most highly skilled players in the country.

‘Look at the Brazilians. I went to watch their Olympic team play the other night and I was impressed by the way they all wanted to demonstrate that wonderful ability of theirs by running with the ball and taking on opponents.

‘That is the product of all the hours, days, weeks, months and years they spend with a ball on the beach. To be honest, I prefer that way of playing to teams who look to pass the ball at once, even Spain. Not least because for them it’s not just training. It’s the other factor we have to inject into the teaching — FUN in capital letters. But it is the individual coaching that matters, especially with the young.’

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Good fit: Trott with her medal

To increase that factor a multi-million-fold, Woodward sends out this clarion call to every father and mother in the country to become coaches to their sons and daughters:

‘No-one spends more time with their kids than their parents.

‘Games teachers at school are essential but they may not get more than an hour a day with each child, if they are lucky. Imagine if they could send the boys and girls home with a schedule for them to work on their skills and fitness. Then they could be in training and thinking about the sports they love in the mornings and the evenings.

‘People talk about angry parents on touchlines but we need to educate them, too, to help their kids.

‘A prime example has been staring at us here — all the work that Judy Murray has put into Andy. If we can get millions of parents thinking like that we can bring out more success.

‘You don’t win gold medals unless you are totally committed and that is easier with the right kind of help. We are now seeing not only the men but more and more girls putting in that effort and it’s paid off.

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

‘So I’m not talking about finding millions and millions in funding to pay for armies of trainers. I for one am not cynical about the way Government ministers have taken to coming to the Games and supporting our athletes.

‘I want them to become excited and then stay involved so that they continue to put in the finance where it’s needed. But I also want every mum and dad who is looking to get excited about how they can help their children.’

Coe’s slogan for London 2012 is: ‘Inspire a Generation’. His target is the potential athletes of the future.

Woodward adds another: ‘Inspire a Generation of Coaches’.

He says: ‘We need them if we are to be as successful at future Games as we have been in London. We’ve had home advantage here. Of course it’s helped. Would you rather take on the All Blacks at Twickenham or in Auckland

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

‘Next time we are away. So we have to take it a step higher.

‘The challenge is difficult — to be at least as good in Rio as we have been here, then even better in all the Games after that. It can be done.

‘And if we do we will know that we have improved the health of the country, delivered something permanent and important for the feelgood factor in Britain and re-confirmed our belief in ourselves as a nation.’

London 2012 Olympics: Sir Clive Woodward interview

Team GB are homing in on Olympic gold this summer – the Woodward way

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UPDATED:

23:26 GMT, 17 July 2012

The hard yards that shaped Sir Clive Woodward's fondest Olympic memory were pattered out in front of his own eyes in the Loughborough of the late Seventies.

He was captain of the university rugby team, marvelling at the determination of a fellow undergraduate putting his young, slim body through a work ethic on a scale he had never witnessed before. 'We were the same age and in the same year,' recalls Woodward, now director of sport at the British Olympic Association. 'We would go to watch him train. It was amazing.'

The figure in question was Sebastian Coe, now ennobled and the mastermind behind London 2012.

Focused: Sir Clive Woodward has made a series of videos to help athletes prepare for the Games

Focused: Sir Clive Woodward has made a series of videos to help athletes prepare for the Games

Woodward says: 'I didn't know him well but well enough to say “good luck”, so seeing him win his first gold medal in Moscow in 1980 is my outstanding recollection of all the Olympics I have enjoyed over the years.

'If we had worked at rugby as hard as he did at running, we'd have been almost unstoppable. That's what we did with England. We arrived at the start of every game with the opposition knowing we were the fittest, strongest, most powerful team ever.'

The sports have changed from rugby through a brief excursion into football to Olympic sport but it is clear, as Woodward contemplates the capital's imminent sporting carnival, that his credo has remained fundamentally unaltered since before we knew him as England's World Cupwinning coach.

It could translate as: no stone left unturned. He has agreed to a rare interview, breaking from his painstaking role overseeing the detail he believes will allow all 542 British athletes to compete to their potential in the Olympic arena.

Dressed in suit, tie and button-down shirt, he shuffles a couple of pages of neatly typed notes he has prepared as a prompt so that nothing slips his mind.

'It's about producing that magic moment when it really counts,' he says. 'It's not like rugby or football, where your regular home and the familiarity with the actual surroundings is a positive influence. The venues are new – the Olympic stadium, the velodrome.

Support system: It is Woodward's role to help all competitors perform to the best of their abilities

Support system: It is Woodward's role to help all competitors perform to the best of their abilities

Support system: It is Woodward's role to help all competitors perform to the best of their abilities

'But you ask any coach or athlete in any sport whether they would like to play home or away and they would all say home. All the Olympic stats bear that out.

'Look at Andy Murray. He lives for that moment at Wimbledon. I thought he did fantastically well and his chance will come again. But he has a lot of opportunities. The Olympics, on the other hand, only come every four years and we have to make sure that home advantage does kick in.'

Woodward has 30 staff working on his 'holistic' approach: gathering and developing knowledge across all 26 Olympic sports, the winter and youth programmes.

A key ingredient for London is something as seemingly mundane as 'a whole series of small videos', undertaken with the help of Belinda Moore, a former BBC producer and wife of former England hooker Brian Moore.

'We have given the videos to the coaches so they can dripfeed them to their athletes over the past 12 months,' explains Woodward. 'Seventy per cent of the British team are going to their first Olympics and for 100 per cent this is their first home Olympics.

'We've spent a huge amount of time
speaking to athletes from abroad who have experienced a home Games,
including Ed Moses, Michael Johnson, Ian Thorpe. Their insights were
fascinating and lots came out of it.

On top of the world: Woodward guided England to success in Australia nine years ago

On top of the world: Woodward guided England to success in Australia nine years ago

On top of the world: Woodward guided England to success in Australia nine years ago

'The idea is about making our athletes aware of the pitfalls and instead enabling them to see the Games as a normal event. Athletes have told us about going into the stadium and spending the first 10 minutes looking for their mum and dad or girlfriend in the stands. We can learn from that.

'It is about preparing every athlete properly so they can concentrate when their moment arrives rather than be distracted by the unexpected.'

Team GB's supporters, including British Airways, have been assisting athletes in that process. A smart, homely room is set aside for 'nearest and dearest' in Team GB House at the entrance to the Westfield shopping centre.It is a private place for athletes and their families to meet.

All this comes at a cost – the total provision for the impressive ninth floor House is estimated at 2million, half of the expense offset by sponsorship. Woodward would have it no other way.

'If we couldn't afford it, we wouldn't do it,' he says. Victory at all costs, then Thankfully – and emphatically – not.

The jingoistic 'Own the Podium'
nonsense that blighted the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver – where
foreign countries were unwelcome to try out venues to help them prepare –
is not the BOA model.

'You don't want to go over the line,'
says Woodward. 'The Canadians went too far. They made themselves very
unpopular in the village. We don't want to do that. The opposite in
fact. We want to welcome the world to London.'

Final countdown: Woodward's team are in place to help those competing for Team GB

Final countdown: Woodward's team are in place to help those competing

Final countdown: Woodward's team are in place to help those competing for Team GB

This broader perspective touches on another Woodward maxim: how do you want to be remembered

'It is not only about how you perform but also how you conduct yourself off the pitch or out of the pool,' he says. 'How you support the team in good times and bad. Whether you make the whole country proud of the team for their all-round behaviour.'

Which brings us to Dwain Chambers, the drug cheat who is back in the Olympic fold after the BOA's bylaw banning the serious dopers for life was overturned. Too late, alas, to go back on that. But what of the expletive-ridden bile Chambers snarled down the BBC cameras after sprinting himself to victory at the trials only last month.

How does Chambers wish to be remembered And how will Woodward, architect of the One Team GB standards of behaviour code, deal with miscreants

'We remind people of their responsibility through their head coaches. And we apply common sense.'

Woodward, 56, is on an 'on-going' contract at the BOA, happy as Britain's Olympic deputy chef de mission to the chef himself, Andy Hunt, and looking ahead to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the next summer edition in Rio. But does rugby really beckon post-London

Final countdown: The Olympics begin next week

Final countdown: The Olympics begin next week

'It's not on my agenda – and you can only go if a job comes up,' he says, turning his approving attention to England's head coach Stuart Lancaster in dealing with the aftermath of the dwarf-throwing antics of the World Cup.

'The new guy came in to a dream job in some ways. They were in such a poor position and he has done a great job of resetting the standards. You have to have high standards 24/7.

'I don't understand how the drinking and the rest happened during the World Cup. I know the people involved and I can't imagine it because they were so, so professional.

'But it was the pictures of them bungee jumping between games that was more significant. You think, what is going on If you saw Chris Hoy or Rebecca Adlington bungee jumping in the week of the Olympics, you would laugh. They just wouldn't do it.'

British Airways delivers home advantage

As the official airline of Team GB and ParalympicsGB, British Airways has been supporting our athletes, flying them around the world for training and
competition ahead of London 2012.

In the final stages before the Games the airline has been rallying the nation to get behind Team GB and give them the ultimate 'home advantage'.

British Airways is even encouraging its customers not to fly and to stay at home to support Team GB during the Games. The airline is also
offering free flights so athletes can fly back that special someone, whether it be an old coach, mentor, family or friends, to help boost their performance.

In the Olympic Park itself British Airways is proud to present Park Live. This dedicated area for up to 10,000 fans has a giant double-sided screen
broadcasting live London 2012 coverage.

Home advantage: BA are hosting Park Live during the Games

Home advantage: BA are hosting Park Live during the Games

'BA Hosts' will be on hand to help visitors enjoy their day and boost our athletes' home advantage. Plus interviews on the British Airways presentation stage will allow fans to hear first-hand from medal-winning
athletes and other stars.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/britishairways or join the conversation on twitter using #HomeAdvantage

Euro 2012: Ian Ladyman"s diary: Fred the ferret gets his predictions right

Ian Ladyman's Euro diary: Right said Fred… ferret gets predictions right

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 10 June 2012

Remember Paul the octopus who managed to predict so many correct results during the last World Cup Meet Fred, a ferret from Kharkiv, who has a record of three out of four prior to Sunday night’s games. So his owners say anyway, and who are we to argue

Spot on: Ferret Fred was on the money with three of his predictions

Spot on: Ferret Fred was on the money with three of his predictions

A big thumbs up for…

The local girls holding up signs in Poznan’s Old Town square on Sunday saying: ‘Hug Me’. A nice gesture but, after being swamped by hundreds of Irish, Poles and Czechs within seconds, I fear they may not be back.

A big thumbs down for…

The manager of my (lovely) hotel in Kiev for providing me with an advert for ‘Finding a wife in Ukraine’ as part of my welcome pack. Honestly, a room service menu really would have been enough.

From one Roy to another…

Still going after all these years, the Roy of the Rovers comic strip is now available on digital platforms and publishers Egmont UK have produced some special images of the football icon backing his namesake Roy Hodgson on Monday.

Backing the manager: Roy Race sends a message to Roy Hodgson

Backing the manager: Roy Race sends a message to Roy Hodgson

You're the one, Johan

Such is Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s standing in Sweden, the 30-year-old Milan striker is said to have a major influence on coach Erik Hamren’s team selection. Today against Ukraine the duo have apparently selected former Bolton striker Johan Elmander to start up front with the enigmatic Ibrahimovic. No pressure there, then Johan. Just remember who picked you.

Picked by the top man: Johan Elmander has apparently been picked by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play

Picked by the top man: Johan Elmander has apparently been picked by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play

Rio who

Mr Ferdinand may be persona non grata with team England but bookmakers Blue Square are offering odds on how many times commentator Clive Tyldesley mentions the absent defender’s name during the game against France.

Play of the day

They may have taken a while to get going, but Spain’s equalising goal yesterday — Iniesta to Silva to Fabregas — was a thing of beauty. Spain have had a quiet build-up but they remain, well, the best team on the planet.

Taking their time: Spain's goal by Cesc Fabregas was a thing of beauty

Taking their time: Spain's goal by Cesc Fabregas was a thing of beauty

Quote of the day

‘When it comes…then it can leave.’ An honest reply from the lady at the Warsaw airport boarding gate when asked what time my delayed flight to Kiev would get off the ground on Sunday.

Cheltenham Gold Cup: Kauto Star set to be retired

Retirement 'imminent' for legendary Kauto Star after Gold Cup pull out

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UPDATED:

17:30 GMT, 16 March 2012

Two-time Gold Cup winner Kauto Star looks as if he has run his last race after owner Clive Smith said he was ’90 per cent certain’ that the legendary racehorse would be retired.

Kauto Star – ridden by Ruby Walsh – pulled up at the ninth fence during Friday’s Gold Cup and it is now unlikely that the 12-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls, will run again.

Smith said: ‘What a great career he's had and he's been a wonderful horse.

End of the road: Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star retire from the race in what is likely to be the horses final race

End of the road: Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star retire from the race in what is likely to be the horses final race

‘I've been so proud to own him and also the support of everybody has been absolutely tremendous.

‘I would say it's 90 per cent certain that he'll be retired.

‘Someone will have to come up with a very good reason for me not to retire him.’

Tony McCoy won his second Gold Cup on 8-1 chance Synchronised as Long Run, last year's winner, also failed to fully sparkle for the Nicky Henderson team and finished third.

The race is run: Kauto Star pulls up at the ninth fence and is withdrawn

The race is run: Kauto Star pulls up at the ninth fence and is withdrawn

Midnight Chase set out to make all of the running and initiated a strong pace, with Kauto Star and Long Run close up.

There was drama at the second fence when What A Friend, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, fell.

Soon after it became evident Walsh was not happy with Kauto Star and pulled him up.

Time For Rupert got the better of Midnight Chase before four out, but he was soon swamped.

Winner: Jockey A P McCoy celebrates on horse 'Synchronised' after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Winner: Jockey A P McCoy celebrates on horse 'Synchronised' after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Giant Bolster then looked like landing a major shock as he took the lead on the turn for home.

Long Run was in the front rank, but Sam Waley-Cohen was hard at work on him and he failed to show the same acceleration that won the race 12 months ago.

Burton Port also tried to close, but it was Synchronised who was delivered to perfection by Tony McCoy as his stamina proved crucial.

McCoy said: ‘He was off the bridle the whole way and when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone.

Close: Synchronised clears the last to win ahead of The Giant Bolster and Long Run to win

Close: Synchronised clears the last to win ahead of The Giant Bolster and Long Run to win

‘He's an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance.

‘I'm so pleased to win it for JP (McManus) as he's been so good to me.

‘Jonjo has done an incredible job. I've got a Grand National and a Gold Cup out of the man and I love him to bits.’

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2012: Nicky Henderson stable lad win 1million

Stable lad turns 50 into 1m with accumulator on Henderson's winners

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UPDATED:

22:16 GMT, 15 March 2012

A stable lad at trainer Nicky Henderson’s yard is understood to have won 1million on a five-horse accumulator bet on the stable’s record-breaking winners at Cheltenham.

Irishman Conor Murphy, a single 31-year-old, really will be taking barrowloads of cash back to Henderson’s Seven Barrows base in Lambourn – but says he intends to carry on working in his relatively lowly-paid role.

Murphy became a millionaire after a 50 ante-post rollover bet with online bookmakers Bet365. The five successful punts were on Sprinter Sacre, who triumphed on the first day, Wednesday winners Simonsig, Bobs Worth and Finian’s Rainbow and Thursday’s victor Riverside Theatre.

Windfall: Barry Geraghty celebrates after riding Riverside Theatre to victory on Thursday

Windfall: Barry Geraghty celebrates after riding Riverside Theatre to victory on Thursday

Henderson said on Thursday night that he ‘couldn’t be happier for Conor’.

‘I’ve just heard about it – it is absolutely wonderful,’ he added. ‘He is such a lovely lad, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.

‘He’s my top guy and I am absolutely thrilled for him.

‘He’s got amazing foresight betting on the horses before Christmas. I wish I’d known about it – I wouldn’t have minded making a million quid.’

Murphy is now the second head lad at the Henderson yard, which would pay him around 25,000 a year. His duties include looking after Finian’s Rainbow.

Meanwhile, Kauto Star’s owner Clive Smith has conceded this afternoon’s Cheltenham Gold Cup could be the 12-year-old’s last race. Kauto Star is 7-2 second favourite to add to his Gold Cup wins in 2007 and 2009.