Recommended second chance
Sian Williams & Chris Hollins
Olympics 2012: Opening Ceremony
After all the hype and years of waiting, the Olympics 2012 are finally here. Former BBC Breakfast colleagues Sian Williams and Chris Hollins preview the BBC’s coverage of the 2012 Games…
Are you excited about working together again for the first time since you both left Breakfast?
Chris Hollins: It sounds really pathetic, but I have missed getting up at 4am every day and seeing the gang. I’ve been up at 5am walking around at home — it becomes part of your nature after seven years, and I miss my mates, Bill Turnbull, Sian, Carol Kirkwood and everyone else, because you become a family. So I cannot wait. It’s going to be a brilliant two weeks, back on the programme that I love, working with people I get on really, really well with. And at the greatest event that’s happened to the UK for some time.
Sian Williams: It’ll be fabulous working with Chris. But just being in the Olympic park and being part of this incredible event is thrilling. I’ve got a big book of Olympic notes that I’m jotting down now because whenever it comes to things like elections or budgets or big events, you’ve got to have so much content and so many facts and be clued up on absolutely everything. So, at the moment, that’s what I’m working on.
It almost felt like the Olympics would never arrive, hasn’t it?
Sian Williams: Well, it does seem a long time since the announcement was made [in 2005] that London would be hosting the Games. We did a lot of coverage about it on Breakfast, and I was interviewing Seb Coe a lot. But I think when the torch arrived, it just lit everybody’s imagination. That’s when people really thought, ‘Ah, it is coming — it is going to be here’.
Chris, who do you think are the British athletes we should keep an eye on?
Chris Hollins: For me, the stories I really love are the people I’ve known for a long time who are just on the cusp. So I think about Shanaze Reade, the BMX rider who should have really won a gold medal in the last Olympics. She had a bit of an accident — which is part of the sport. I know how hard she’s tried, and how hard she’s trained. Now, is her chance. I really cannot wait to see her face if she can perform on the day and win a gold medal.
There are also the obvious headline makers, like Tom Daley in the diving or Jessica Ennis [heptathlon], who I first met seven or eight years ago. Even then, everybody said she could be quite something. Now she’s got the chance at her games. I really hope that they can fulfil not only their dreams, but also everybody else’s dreams!
Sian, don’t you think us Brits are quite cynical about the Olympics?
Sian Williams: I haven’t seen that yet — but that could be because I live with a lot of Olympics enthusiasts, and I’m surrounded by them at work as well. When things start, I’m sure people will get excited about Mark Cavendish in the road race — that could be one of our first medals. Once you’ve got somebody competing at that level and bringing home medals — if he does, fingers crossed! — then I think that’s when people will get around the British team. And it’s a dreary summer and we need it! I think it’ll just be a big boost and hopefully people will get fired up.
The good thing about Breakfast is you can, at least, report from all over the UK, so you can be in Edinburgh on the day that [cyclist] Chris Hoy is competing. We can represent what people are feeling around the UK. If it’s at a point where there are swathes of apathy, then we’ll feel it, won’t we? The thing about Breakfast viewers is they let you know what they think — immediately. But I don’t feel it at the moment, I have to say.