I spent 25 years with notebook and pen shared between the BBC, ITV, Sunday Times, the Independent and the ‘i’, as well as working for numerous magazines and even writing a script for a film on the history of the All Blacks. I wrote largely about sport and was Olympics Correspondent for the Independent at the London Olympics of 2012 and the Sochi Winter Games of 2014.
Here is a selection of my journalism:
My two favourite interviews were with two inspirational people, Martine Wright and Achmat Hassiem, who both took part in the 2012 Paralympics. The story of how they ended up there is horrific but neither has let what happened to them stop them from living their lives. It was a privilege to hear both their stories, and Martine’s in particular on how she rebuilt her life after losing her legs in the London terror attacks of 2005
Combine history and sport and I couldn’t be happier – in 2014 I wrote about the men from Hearts who went off to war 100 years earlier, another story that offers a reminder of the need not lose perspective when you spend your days in the world of sport. As does the story of the ‘Death Match’ in Kiev during the Second World War – I stumbled across the story during a trip to Kiev ahead of the 2012 European Championships
I touched down in Sochi in 2014 days before the start of the Winter Olympics to tales of chaos and confusion. One media colleague was shown to his room with workmen still fixing its door in place. My bath dropped an inch into the floor (the fifth floor) when I got into it. Then another colleague told us our rooms were bugged – that night I searched my room based on how James Bond does it in the movies. Found nothing…
This story, published in the Independent and then around the world, ended up with my being criticised by Pravda on the eve of the Games
When I was told the Independent were running a special supplement on the Greatest Sporting Moments I was desperate to be asked to contribute alongside journalistic greats like the late James Lawton, as well as contemporaries on the paper I admired such as Sam Wallace, Ian Herbert and Chris Hewett (for an often troubled newspaper the Inde has produced a stream of high quality journalists). “We’d like you to do Torvill and Dean,” said the editor. “Oh,” I said, cursing inside… ice dancing, pah. But this was without doubt a great moment in British sport, not least because back then coverage of sport was much rarer than today’s ubiquity – this was a genuine moment when a country sat down in front of the TV
I have rarely ventured out of the comfort of the sports pages. This is one of the few times I did at the Independent and it is a subject that – of course – means an awful lot to me: the true story of my family’s tragedy in the First World War