In sport, talent is incredibly important, but it isn't the be-all and end-all. Through more than 20 years' involvement in elite athletics I've learned that talent never guarantees success. Dedication is important, but it's also crucial that every athlete has the best possible support network every step of the way...
I don't want to claim that community sports aren't facing real difficulties with regard to funding and keeping local facilities open, but it is worth publicising those events where local people are continuing to get involved in mass participation events, despite all the controversial funding issues. These events are also showing even the most cynical of commentators, that even after the lucrative advertising opportunities that the Olympics created have disappeared, corporate business and sponsors are still putting effort and resources into getting communities and young people interested in sport.
There can be a huge shift after an Olympic Games with many leading swimmers retiring. Michael Phelps will be particularly missed at the World Championships because he excelled in so many events... The United States will still dominate but it will be fascinating to see how Germany and especially Australia respond to very poor Olympics performances last summer.
This past Sunday, two boatloads of raucous semi-clad people ranging in age from 14 to 83 made their way up the Bosphorus Strait, a long stretch of sea that divides the European and Asian sides of Turkey's largest city... During the voyage, the competitors were chanting, "Everywhere is Taksim. Everywhere is resistance."
There's a big wedding anniversary on the horizon and I'm in charge of festivities. The wife wants to celebrate the big 10 by doing "something unusual". I can only hope we're on the same wavelength, as I've spent the last few weeks knocking about on the internet looking for wetsuits and picturesque pools in to which we shall be submerged.