How did you kick-start your career as a sports writer?
Ingeniously. Well, I think so. I was a financial writer and feeling boxed in so I bid, successfully, in a charity auction to meet the Liverpool team in the players’ lounge at Anfield and then pitched to the paper that had run the auction that I should write about it. I then had my first sportcutting and it grew from there.
How has Rio 2016 shaped up to your expectations?
Overall it has exceeded them. From the perspective of the mechanics of getting the job done there has been wifi and power, the two absolute essentials at all locations, and the media buses turn up eventually.
The sport itself has been captivating. I have been lucky enough to report mainly on gymnastics and track cycling where Team GB have sprung big surprises. To have a double Olympic champion in the form of Max Whitlock is really quite astonishing and we all wondered if British Cycling might be in a mess following the resignation of Shane Suttton, the technical director, but no, every member of the team won a medal.
The Brazilians have not packed out all the venues but they have been loud and proud and enormous fun, turning tennis in particular into a pantomime.
What do you see as the successes and failures for Team GB in Rio?
This is Britain’s best ever Games. There are blips here and there and individuals who simply failed to ignite but it would be churlish to dwell on those when there are so many tales of excellence. Have we become a medal factory? Are we guilty of financial doping? We are good as a nation at finding ways to moan about success but if you care about sport, if you are employed to assist athletes, then you read the rules and find the best way to exploit them.
Are you staying on to cover the Paralympics?
No, but I am concerned that the stadiums will be mostly empty. I can honestly say I enjoyed covering the London Paralympics as much as the Games in 2012 and this due in part to the huge, well informed crowds that created a quite superb atmosphere.
How did Rio 2016 compare to London in your eyes?
Nothing will surpass London. I almost cried every day with pride. Even the weather was wonderful. I sat next to an Italian photographer on a media bus on the penultimate day who told me he had been annoyed to be posted to the London Games. He just knew it would rain and everyone would be grumpy. He would not stop apologising and saying how now he had new favourite city.
What is your preferred sport to cover and do you find some more difficult than others?
Football is my favourite sport and it has never lost its magic, even after 22 years of covering it. I am writing this in a break at the women’s modern pentathlon in Rio and it is the first time I have covered this sport but there is fun to be had getting to grips with something different and meeting new people. Sport that can seem impenetrable on TV is always easier live. Rugby Union is a case in point.
What has been your best scoop as a sports journalist?
Probably the fact that Paula Radcliffe was pregnant with her first child in 2007. She trusted me to tell the world which was quite a responsibility and when I talked through the final copy with the desk they spoke from a soundproofed room. We even put out a different front page for the evening reviewers in order to keep the story under wraps until the last minute.
What are your five desk essentials?
I don’t need anything but a laptop, wifi and power. If they go missing I get angry. I do quite like an A4 pad of paper on the side if making lots of calls. My office at home is so untidy that when the police attended after a burglary they were sympathetic at the mess left by the intruders. Er, it’s always like this, I said.
Где-то в уголке сознания Беккера звонили колокола. «Я не умер?» Он с трудом открыл глаза и увидел первые солнечные лучи. Беккер прекрасно помнил все, что произошло, и опустил глаза, думая увидеть перед собой своего убийцу.