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And Big Men Cry - The Amazing Events That Made The Sports Stars Cry

31/07/2014 10:20 BST | Updated 24/09/2014 10:59 BST

For veteran Olympian Sir Matthew Pinsent, it was the sporting moment he'll never forget - rather than just winning another medal, he'd done something much rarer: he'd burst into tears.

Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave had been anxiously watching the rowing at the London Olympics. The pair were especially nervous for their great friend Katherine Grainger, who had won silver at the three previous Olympics, but who had yet to score a gold.

With mounting delight, Pinsent and Redgrave watched Grainger take the finish-line to win her first Olympic gold - and then, as one, both of these Olympic titans promptly broke down and wept.

Swimmer Sharron Davies started crying when she saw Rebecca Adlington win her first gold in Beijing... and as for broadcaster Gabby Logan, when she's watching great sport, she can hardly STOP crying.

So, with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games now well under way, the BBC's top presenters reveal the historic sporting moments that have had them reaching for the Kleenex.

Rower Sir Matthew Pinsent, 43: That race, Katherine Grainger's race in London, that was good. Properly good - both Steve and I were crying. We had obviously been on the team with Katherine, seeing her come through and win silver after bloody silver. But when it came to London, I said on TV that if we had to choose one event that the rowing team was going to win, it would be her one - and she delivered, and it felt good and... big men cry.

Swimmer Mark Foster, 44: I did a show with James O'Shea, Dancing on Wheels. He'd lost his legs in a train accident, and I could see the way he moved and I asked him if he could swim, and he said he would love to - and after the show was finished I got him in the water, saw him swim, and said "You've got a chance in the Paralympics". From that moment, for a year-and-a-half, I trained him and mentored him and to see him standing on the blocks at the Olympic games brought tears to my eyes. He came fourth unfortunately, but he'd made it to the Olympics.

Broadcaster Clare Balding, 43: The very last day of the London Olympics, and this was when I knew I was quite tired and vaguely over-emotional. I went out to do the modern pentathlon and we had an athlete who moved from fifth to third and then second. I started crying and that's when I knew I was a bit tired. It was also just thinking I don't want this to be the last event. I just don't want this to stop. Don't let it stop, don't close that flame.

Gymnast and broadcaster Gabby Logan, 41: I cry all the time. My kids think it's hilarious how much I cry, "She's going, she's going". I grew up watching my dad cry at sporting events, and it's fine.

In 2002, I cried watching Paula Radcliffe win gold [at the Commonwealth Games, 5,000 Metres]. I wasn't working for the BBC then, and she'd come so close so many times, and then she finally won gold, and so I was moved to write her a letter. I wrote her fan mail. It was a bit of a random thing to do and two things came of it. She wrote me back a letter, and that was a bit embarrassing, because I never thought she'd read it. And now I sit next to her - and she knows I'm a stalker.

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, 25: I think when you are in the sport, when you are competing, you look at people with respect rather than emotion - because I don't know what that individual athlete has been through. For me, that's why I well up on the podium because of everything that I've been through.

Rower Katherine Grainger, 38: My first Olympics was in Sydney in 2000 and one of the first events that I watched live in the stadium was Cathy Freeman win the 400 metres. We had been at the opening ceremony when she lit the cauldron, and it didn't matter what country you were from, what sport you were involved in, but if you got to see Cathy Freeman run that race, you just wanted to see her deliver. She was under the most immense pressure, the focus when she came into that stadium, the noise before the race but then how it just silenced, and she went out on the track and pulled up that hood and everyone just held their breath and it was just electric. And then to see her deliver and her reaction was very, very emotional. I knew nothing of her background, but in that incredible moment, you can still relate.

Swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, 50: Vladimir Salnikov was a great Russian swimmer. The Russians boycotted the 1984 Olympics, and he came back in 1988 after three years off and won the Olympics against the odds. It was pretty impressive, in terms of what he'd achieved. I was there in the Olympic village dining hall when he walked in. The whole dining hall stood up and applauded him, and I just cried.

Swimmer Sharron Davies, 51: I swim every single length with the swimmers, I feel everything for them - from total despondency when it doesn't go right, because I know how hard they've worked, right through to total admiration when they do.

I was the biggest wreck when Becky [Adlington] won her first gold medal in Beijing, I was in a puddle on the floor, and all the other commentators around me were like, "What the heck's wrong with her?" Most of them weren't swimmers - but I knew exactly what was going through her head and how terribly important it was to her.

Badminton player Gail Emms, 36: The opening ceremony at 2012. As soon as it started, as soon as that music hit, with the numbers and the count down - that was it. It was the first time I'd been to the Olympics after my Olympic career had finished. As a little girl, I'd been excited watching the Olympics, and then I wanted to be an Olympic athlete, and then I actually was an Olympian - and then, in London, I had this realisation, "I'm not an Olympian, I can't do it any more!"

Broadcaster Hazel Irvine, 49: I am quite involved in the things I present, so I usually shed a little tear, but I really try not to do it on camera. It's quite hard sometimes, when you have to try and compose yourself. I was watching Rhona Martin in the 2002 Olympic curling final. I was literally gripping the hand-rail - and felt that in some way that if I let go, she would lose the final. I remember thinking I had to take my hand off, but I was convinced that I was going to lose it for her. But happily she was more in control than I was. Afterwards, I was interviewing Kirsty Hay and she was going right in front of me - and I thought 'I cannot go here', and I really just had to give her the eyes and let's just hold it together, and we held it together and were able to conduct a semi-sensible interview. It's incumbent on us not to cry - the rest of the nation can cry, but we've still got to function and ask questions of these people whether they've won or lost.

Commentator John Inverdale, 53: I cry all the time at sport - I cry when people win, I cry when people lose, or at any stage of any competition. Particularly with people you know. The better you know the individual, especially if you know how hard they've worked, you cannot but feel emotional. The margins in all sport are so tight, everyone's done the same training, everyone's trying as hard as they can and it comes down to a fraction of a fraction of a second whether you get into the quarter-finals, or whether you get into the finals.

What you mustn't do at the moment of triumph or despair is catch the eye of the mum or dad - especially the dads who tend to be more emotional than their partners. That's when you find yourself going.

At Johannesburg in 1995, the Rugby World Cup final - and that moment with Nelson Mandela and [Francois] Pienaar. I looked round the press area. All the hardened, cynical hacks who would have poured scorn on the idea of ever shedding tears at a sporting event - and you could see them all pretending that a fly had got in their eye. But actually there was uniform, synchronised crying in the press box that day. That was the day when we all thought sport had made the world a better place - and for 11 days here in the summer, the life of Glasgow will feel better.

Broadcaster Jill Douglas: You can set yourself up for a big event. If you know it's going to be emotional, like Bradley Wiggins coming up to win the gold medal, I can get my head not to be emotional. But I find it picks up at the most unlikely moments. I was at the Giro d'Italia in Belfast this year, one of the great bike races in the world. I was broadcasting and I was live as the race came into the finishing straight opposite the city hall. The crowd had probably never seen a grand prix race in their life before, and then there was this huge roar as the cyclists came in for the sprint finish. I was sitting there broadcasting quite happily, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I choked and I was in tears - and I thought "where did that come from?" It was just the sense of occasion. I was absolutely overwhelmed. I wasn't ready for it, and that happens over and over again.

Broadcaster Jason Mohammad, 38: The only time was Joe Calzaghe boxing in Las Vegas. I'd been working with Joe, and he beat Bernard Hopkins, and then I saw his dad Enzo go, and that's the only time I've cried.

We are talking about a boy from the South Wales Valleys going out to beat an American. And when Enzo went, I thought, 'He has been his inspiration, he has been his corner man, he has been there since day one, going out running with him' - and when he went and I went.

Athlete and commentator Allison Curbishley, 38: It's got to be Mo Farah in London. We have all got very blasé about Usain Bolt when he gets down on his blocks and we all focus on the clock. And Mo focused our attention, because what we were watching was historic. Not many people are going to be able to do that double. It's very hard. He had the opportunity and he grasped it, and I was so elated that he did. I've watched him since he was a young kid and getting to watch someone's journey and to finish on the highest note is pretty special.

Gymnastic coach and commentator Christine Still: I cried when Becky Downie won the European gold medal. Becky had gone to the Beijing Olympics and then didn't get selected for London, but she just carried on and won the European gold on the uneven bars, which was Beth Tweddle's event. As she landed and dismounted and turned to the camera the tears were flooding down her face with relief - and the whole commentary box was choking.

Gymnast Craig Heap: It was when Beth Tweddle picked up that medal in London 2012. I remember being on the team in Manchester when Beth was competing for England and to see her almost win a medal in Beijing and then fail and get all the stick in the press really upset me. So when she got a medal in London, I just thought it was really nice. She was so close to falling over on that bars dismount. If she'd landed it, she'd have been Olympic champion without a doubt - and she stumbled back and stayed on her feet, for me, that was pretty amazing.

Commentator Manish Bhasin: It was when Derek Redmond was helped over the line by his dad [Barcelona Olympics, 1992, in the 400m semi-final]. I saw it again on the internet only the other day and it brought it all back - the lump in the throat and the raw emotion. The commentary was great but just for Redmond to get across the finishing line with his dad, both of them in tears. It was like a Hollywood movie but to see it happen before your eyes was just sensational.

Today programme presenter Mishal Husain, 41: I came to the Olympics from a pure news background and for me there were so many emotional moments. For the first time in my professional life I was not dealing with death. It was one long moment of unadulterated joy - it was remarkable. For me the most moving moments were the ones where the people were totally unused to the spotlight, like the dressage gold medallist. The people from less well known sports suddenly doing fantastically well and finding themselves in the BBC studios.

I remember talking to the canoe Slalom gold medallists, and they came to the studio, and they said, "We feel really bad because we beat the Hochschorner twins and they are like the giants of our sport, we feel really bad we did that."

Broadcaster Dougie Vipond, 47: Back in 1986 at the Commonwealth Games - it was Liz Lynch, who became Liz McColgan. She won the 10,000 Metres at Meadowbank in Edinburgh and she ran the last 100 metres pretty much on her own because she was so far ahead of the field. Nobody in Scotland had heard of her before - nobody in Britain had heard of her before - and suddenly here was this athlete looking absolutely exhausted, barely able to wave to the crowd as she ran down the last 100 metres to win that gold medal. I still can't watch that without tearing up.

Commentator Dan Walker, 37: Any montage makes me tear up. I remember Simon Brotherton's radio commentary on [the cyclist] Jason Queally in 2002. I was in a car, and I pulled over because I thought it was a moment of some significance. Simon was a wonderful commentator and just the way he described it, I closed my eyes and felt like I was there. I wept like a small boy in the car - and then continued my journey. Sport is great on its own, but if you add a tiny little element of music, I can't cope.

Commentator Lee McKenzie: It was a bit embarrassing. I was working for Radio Five. Lewis Hamilton won his world championship in Brazil and Felipe Massa had been World Champion for all of 20 seconds. And that was heart-breaking, because they were two lovely guys. You were devastated for Felipe, to be a world champion for such a short period of time. He didn't realise and his family didn't realise that he hadn't won it, and they were all having this huge celebration. It was heart-breaking to see that stolen from someone. You were so ecstatic to be there for Lewis - but also to see someone else's life crumble around them.