In a year of World Cups and Commonwealth Games, sport is in the glare of the spotlight but not always for the right reasons. Sport’s love affair with money adversely affects the integrity of professional competitions and the demands of maintaining a balance between professional pressure and personal survival are driving some athletes to despair. In this series of events, authors and sports people talk about some of the issues. We’ve got joyful stories too: inspirational tales of individual success, challenges overcome and amazing journeys from the record makers and mould breakers.
REWRITING CYCLING’S RULEBOOK
Monday 13 August 20:45 - 21:45
A maverick; a one-off; simply ‘a genius’ says Chris Hoy. Call him what you will, racing cyclist Graeme Obree is a Scottish sporting icon. In the 1990s he smashed Francesco Moser’s mythical record and won world pursuit titles. Later, he wrote an idiosyncratic guide to riding and training for success. Now, he discusses his new edition of The Obree Way with endurance racer and cycle courier Emily Chappell.
HAS THE TARTAN ARMY GIVEN UP THE FIGHT?
Tuesday 14 August 19:15 - 20:15
Given the inability of Scotland’s national football team to qualify for a major tournament over the last 20 years, it seems strange to think that, for a time, reaching the World Cup Finals had become routine. Football commentating icon Archie Macpherson was there during the glory years (1974-1998) and wonders just what it will take for Scotland to get back among the big boys again. He talks to fellow footie fan and political editor for BBC Scotland Brian Taylor about the highs and the lows of the Scottish game.
CYCLING INTO FILM
Wednesday 15 August 20:45 - 21:45
Ask cyclists to name the toughest road race on earth, and most will answer Paris-Roubaix. Nicknamed the Hell of the North, its 29 cobbled sections make it uniquely challenging, a fact tragically confirmed by the death of 23 year old Michael Goolaerts at this year's race. William Fotheringham’s latest book, Sunday in Hell, looks at the unforgettable 1976 documentary of the same name, charting the creation of the greatest cycling film ever.
FROM BBC PRESENTER TO TRIATHLETE
Thursday 16 August 11:45 - 12:45
It started out as a fun BBC Breakfast cycling stunt in 2012 and culminated in presenter and journalist Louise Minchin wearing the colours of Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championship in 2015. Dare to Tri, her new book, is the story of how a newly discovered sport became a TV presenter’s passion and then her complete obsession.
Daniel Gray on Fever Pitch
Sunday 19 August 13:00 - 14:30
Fever Pitch is Nick Hornby’s tribute to a lifelong obsession: football. Part autobiography, part comedy, his award-winning memoir captures the agony and ecstasy of being an obsessed sports fan. Join writer and social historian Daniel Gray for today’s reading workshop to explore this funny, honest and perceptive book. Expect an open discussion from the start; you can read the book ahead of the event or be inspired to pick it up afterwards.
KING OF THE FLAT BACK FOUR
Sunday 19 August 18:45 - 19:45
He was a serial winner with Arsenal, captaining his team to four league titles in a glorious period of success. Yet Tony Adams’s glittering career was tarnished by an addiction to alcohol. In Sober he explains how Arsène Wenger’s arrival at Arsenal helped him kick the booze and inspired him to set up his charity Sporting Chance. Adams shares his story with Pat Nevin.
BURSTING THE MONEYBALL
Sunday 19 August 20:45 - 21:45
Money makes the sporting world turn, and as spectators we’re complicit in a game of riches with winners and losers. Ed Warner, chair of UK Athletics for a decade and expert on corruption in sport, has written the eye-opening Sport Inc., shining a light on the wealth that drives our favourite games and the people who control them. Unafraid of bold action, Warner is unmissable for those concerned for the soul of sport. Chaired by Phil Harding.
Stephen Fay & David Kynaston
THE SOUL OF CRICKET AND A NATION
Tuesday 21 August 10:00 - 11:00
If nothing defines the image of England more than the BBC and cricket then Stephen Fay and David Kynaston’s story of the iconic BBC sports broadcasters John Arlott and E W Swanton reflects the reality of a fracturing national identity in post-war Britain. Their story, and the story of cricket, captures a period of great social conflict and change; changes that resonate in our current tumultuous times. They discuss their book Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket with James Runcie.
A RENAISSANCE OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL
Wednesday 22 August 10:00 - 11:00
While Alex McLeish has taken charge of the national football team, Henry McLeish is looking beyond short term results on the field to propose changes which will benefit the game well into the 21st century. The former First Minister has been working on a review of Scottish football for a decade and today he suggests we pursue ‘a renaissance of Scottish football, not a requiem’.
CYCLING AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Monday 27 August 14:15 - 15:15
In 2017, inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, Mark Beaumont set off on his bike from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes later he returned having smashed two Guinness World Records and beaten the previous record by an astonishing 45 days. Come and meet a remarkable athlete, author, adventurer and documentary-maker as he talks about his kaleidoscopic cycling tour of the world and his stunning achievement, one which redefines the limits of human endurance.
Monday 27 August 15:45 - 16:45
Winner of the 2013 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, lifelong betting enthusiast Jamie Reid is back with Monsieur X, the incredible true story of the most audacious gambler in history. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Patrice des Moutis had the French state-run betting system virtually on its knees with his monumental success, but then got forced underground to continue his winning streak.
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