The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - Fiona Looney is on hol­i­day

As I write this, we are still midO­lympics, al­though as you read it, the Games are about to draw to a close tonight. What an ex­pe­ri­ence it’s been to broad­cast live from the Olympic Park ev­ery day as we’ve been do­ing on BBC Ra­dio 2. With so much go­ing on, I feel it’s been im­por­tant to lap up as much of it as we can. I’ve been ar­riv­ing in Strat­ford at about six each morn­ing, just as the Park wakes up and be­gins to rum­ble with an­tic­i­pa­tion of an­other mo­men­tous day. I’m one of the first to go through se­cu­rity when it’s rel­a­tively quiet, so I’ve had the chance of some morn­ing ban­ter with the fan­tas­tic ser­vice­men and women, who were drafted in at the last minute to make the Games safe.

A big high­light for me of the first week was get­ting caught up in the wake of the royal con­voy — Princes Wil­liam and Harry, the Duchesses of Cam­bridge and Corn­wall and Princesses Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie — as they were sped to­wards Green­wich Park to see Zara (‘I gotta sil­ver medal’) do them proud in the event­ing on Mon­day af­ter­noon. The po­lice out­rid­ers shooed my 1989 Jaguar XJS out of the way. Not that I minded; it was quite an hon­our. And what do you know — five min­utes later I was shooed over once again by yet more close pro­tec­tion mo­tor­cy­cle bob­bies. This time it was for David Cameron. Blimey, you can’t move for corteges when the Olympics are in town.

only en­counter with Cameron, as later the same day I al­most col­lided with him in the press scrum out­side the Aquat­ics Cen­tre. We were both try­ing to sneak in to watch Tom Da­ley and Peter Water­field in the men’s div­ing (al­though DC was hav­ing more trou­ble sneak­ing in than me). More mo­ments of note in­cluded Katherine Jenk­ins and her mum nearly run­ning me over in a golf buggy. They were be­ing fer­ried over to watch the swim­ming and as­sured me it was un­in­ten­tional. That’s as maybe. But it’ll still cost KJ a drink next time I see her at the rugby.

and any­one who says oth­er­wise is just be­ing mis­er­able. Con­scious of what an hon­our it is to be on the air, I’ve paid supreme at­ten­tion to ev­ery­thing tak­ing place, whether on the track, the field, all of the var­i­ous are­nas and in the pool or on the wa­ter. I’ll only get to do this once in my life and I wanted to have at least some idea of what I’m sup­posed to be talk­ing about.

I love sport, but I’m in no way a geek or a pub quiz champ, so I’ve been read­ing, watch­ing and lis­ten­ing to any­thing and ev­ery­thing Olympic. The lis­ten­ing part of which has ne­ces­si­tated the pur­chase of a small ra­dio for when I’m down the garage and an even smaller, per­sonal one for when I’m on the move. The lat­ter has con­firmed some­thing I’ve al­ways sus­pected but never been sure of un­til now: my ears are def­i­nitely the wrong shape for those lit­tle stick-in-your- ear head­phones. I’ve tried em­ploy­ing them in the past and al­ways blamed the de­sign when they fell out. But hav­ing had to per­se­vere this time, I can now de­clare my ears use­lessly shaped for such a pur­pose. Just an­other phys­i­cal fail­ing, to add to my su­per-sen­si­tive skin that blis­ters at even the slight­est chink of sun­light (which is why this washout of a sum­mer has been my most en­joy­able sum­mer ever, by the way). There’s also my com­plete lack of mus­cle tone, which means I have to call upon my three-and-a-hal­fyear-old, Noah, to help twist off the tops of the trou­ble­some jars in our food cup­boards.

if your kid is spe­cial when it comes to phys­i­cal abil­ity? There have been some fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries this fort­night of how par­ents came across their kids’ tal­ents. These got me think­ing about Noah and Eli, and how im­por­tant it is to let them have a go at as many things in their young lives as pos­si­ble — just in case there’s a spark of some­thing spe­cial, be it aca­demic, cre­ative, spir­i­tual or phys­i­cal. Ev­ery child will find some­thing they stand out from the crowd at if given the chance, time, sup­port, space and love. It’s up to us to make sure they get that chance.

that com­puter games do not qual­ify for the above. On the con­trary, they may well spell the be­gin­ning of the end for a kid’s so­cial skills, cre­ative think­ing, health and fit­ness. I’d go fur­ther and say they’re steadily oblit­er­at­ing thou­sands of years of amaz­ing evo­lu­tion.

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