The Big Read

Chernyshenko confident he can can deliver Vladimir Putin's dream

By Duncan Mackay in Sochi


Sochi is the Russian Riviera, the brochures claim. Sand and pebble beaches stretch nearly 20 miles along the Black Sea coast where you can swim in the sea from April through until October, and ski on the nearby slopes from October into May. The semi-tropical weather allows for a lush terrain found nowhere else in Russia.


Once a sleepy Soviet-era ski resort in the Caucasus mountains, near Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's summer residence, it is now undergoing probably the biggest change that a Russian city has ever seen in peace-time. Everywhere you look there are cranes, diggers and thousands of workmen scurrying around as the pace of the largest and most expensive construction project in Russia's modern history begins to pick-up.

Rio Mayor ready to repay the world's faith

By Duncan Mackay in Copenhagen

Eduardo Paes is a youthful looking 39. He will be hoping that the next few years will not age him too fast. Paes is the elected Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a prominent figure in the Brazilian city’s successful campaign to host the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

The hangovers of the Cariocas - as local residents are known - from the massive party held on Copacabana Beach to celebrate Rio’s choice as host ahead of Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo last weekend are beginning to clear and now the real work must begin. 

On the eve of the decision to pick the 2016 Olympic Host City Dame Kelly Holmes recalls what it was like when London was chosen

By Mike Rowbottom in Copenhagen

As far as the cities bidding to host the 2016 Olympics are concerned, waiting for tomorrow's decision here must feel a bit like waiting for Christmas Day - but a Christmas Day where Santa, in the form of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will deliver a gift to just one of the Olympic family. 

For the others, it will be a case of empty pillowslips and abundant regret. Four years on, supporters of the London 2012 campaign are re-living the feelings of anxiety, doubt and hope they were experiencing on the eve of the last Games announcement which ended up bringing the Olympics back to England's capital for the first time since 1948.

Derek Redmond on how thrilled he is at being remembered by the President of the United States

By Mike Rowbottom

Mike Rowbottom_17-11-11Bentley, Derek Redmond’s boxer/Staffordshire crossbreed, doesn’t seem to realise that his owner has just been honoured by none other than the President of the United States.

“Bentley – no!” says that owner as his boisterous but good-natured hound all but dislodges me from my seat.

With Bentley eventually despatched to the living room, Redmond is able to reflect upon the news that he is one of two foreign athletes who have been name-checked by Barack Obama during the President’s speech in support of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games.

David Owen: Britain's athletes may be golden, shame about the finances

I catch up with Andy Hunt on his return from Tampere, Finland.


The chief executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA) is   understandably delighted with the performances of young athletes like gymnast Sam Oldham and sprinter Jennifer Batten at the European Youth Olympic Festival, which spurred Great Britain to a creditable third in the medals table.