With the 2012 London Olympic Games drawing ever closer, many British athletes have embarked on the long journey towards fulfilling their ultimate goal of securing a place on Team GB and winning gold in front of a home crowd. Revealing just what it takes for these Olympic hopefuls to make the grade, the four-part documentary series, Olympic Dreams, co-produced with The Open University, begins on 15th July 2008 at 10.35pm on BBC 1.
Building on the success of the first series aired in December 2007, Olympic Dreams offers an insight into the world of elite sport and intimate access to British athletes’ lives - their gruelling training schedules, daily sacrifices, highs of victory, lows of defeat & injury, and the pressure of coping under the weight of growing expectation.
During the series the unique relationship between coach and athlete is explored, as well as the role family and friends play in supporting the athletes through their preparation and training. It also offers insight into the nerve-wracking rounds of selection and competition and the sacrifices and opportunities the athletes experience in order to earn their place on the British Olympic Team.
Senior Lecturer in Sports Studies at The Open University, Ben Oakley, is the academic consultant to the programme, and said: “It takes about 10 years for an Olympic champion to develop – someone who is just the best in their field on the planet. They are very special people. Someone who is going to win gold in 2012 will probably be going to Beijing in 2008, or at least knocking on the door. Olympic Dreams shows how the athletes, and the people around them, sacrifice themselves for this unique opportunity.”
You can follow the journey of many of these athletes on the build up to Beijing and throughout the games via BBC Sport's Olympics website - www.bbc.co.uk/olympicdreams through a combination of news, reports, video clips and regular diary entries.
The associated Open University website at open2.net provides further video diaries from the competitors, extracts from The Open University’s sports courses and articles from those in the field.
Episode 1 - Parents/Parental Support
Episode 2 – Sacrifice and Opportunity
Episode 3 – The Coach/Athlete Relationship
Episode 4 – The Selection Debate
The Open University
The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.