Olympic Dreams Review: Going For Gold

April 13, 2010 by  
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OLYMPIC DREAMS: Tuesday 13th April, BBC 1, 10.45pm ALERT

No, the stadium isn’t finished and yes it’s sending us wildly over budget but hey, at least we might win a little gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, right?

After watching China’s magnificent display in 2008, many Brits were already feeling embarassed about what we would come up with, but I was given fresh hope that we wouldn’t be totally outdone after seeing Olympic Dreams .

The show returns after previously following athletes in the run up to Beijing and this time around we catch up with the best Britain has to offer midway through the four year training period. Everyone’s putting in the hard graft it takes to reach gold and although not all of them will make it, there is hope.

While you may not recognise some of these young athletes, the name Tom Daley might ring a few bells. After going to Beijing aged only 14, he’s our shining hope for a gold in the diving competition. After a media flurry surrounding school bullying, he’s back and training harder than ever. Tom’s grown up a lot since the previous Olympics but still gets embarassed over his father’s celebratory antics such as singing the national anthem at the top of his lungs.

Not every story is one of success though. Ashley McKenzie is a world class Judo fighter but is in a constant battle with his ADHD. Choosing to come off of his medication, Ashley often struggles to stay calm and focused and his troubled home life isn’t helping. His story is the one most likely to be made into a movie, like a hyperactive version of the Karate Kid.

Jess Ennis, an Olympic heptathlete, has only just recovered from what could have been a career-ending injury. But she’s got a real challenge on her hands when she is forced to change her jumping leg – the equivalent of changing the hand you write with. It’s not easy and will take time but Jess looks determined to make it happen.

The show really gets across how much hard work these athletes put into training and how devestating it is when they fail. It’s a wonderful feeling to see them cross the finishing line and make that perfect dive but because it’s mostly official sporting footage, visually the show is a little dull. A small niggle and something that could possibly have been solved if it had been shot in HD.

If you’re not a fan of Britain’s 2012 bid then maybe you should check out Olympic Dreams and see how much these games mean to our young athletes. You’ll want to start attaching Union Jack flags to anything that stands still long enough.