The Sunday Post (Dundee)

We’ve all lived the TV dream

- By Steve Finan armchair olympian

I AM part of the Rio success. I’ve lived the dream each night through the medium of my TV. I’ve been there every step of the way with our athletes.

Night after night I’ve done without sleep in pursuit of gold. I stayed up for Andy Murray’s triumph over del Potro (although I’m not sure I’d have passed a drug test given how many coffees I’d had).

I was there for the hockey girls’ penalty shoot-out; I celebrated Adam Peaty’s swimming world record; and – best of all – I coped with the tension when it looked like Jason Kenny might have made a false start in the keirin.

My performanc­e has improved, of course, as befits our climb up the medal table. I’ve honed my button-pressing to the point where my flicking between BBC1 and BBC4 is done in world class time.

My knowledge has improved too, the BBC’s instructio­nal videos have made me an expert.

And I’m a lot more savvy when it comes to the publicity side of the Games. I’m comfortabl­e in front of the screen when Hazel Irvine, Leon Taylor, Chris Boardman and the incomparab­le Clare Balding (oh, how we love you Clare!) smile, laugh and banter their way from taekwondo to table tennis, omnium to epee.

I feel the love when they say what we’d want to say to our athletes. I’ve cried as they congratula­te and cajole tears of joy from our champions, reminding them that their extended family (we the TV public back home) is so proud.

The joy of Rio is even sweeter because I’ve known troubled times in years gone by. I felt the pain in those Olympics of the 1990s when our presenters strove to find something positive to say to the coxless fours eliminated in Round 1 of qualifying.

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