Gabby Logan: London Olympics 2012

gabby-logan_3358159bThe Olympic Games in London 2012 was the biggest and most complex sporting event Great Britain has ever hosted. With over 10,500 athletes, 70,000 volunteers and 8.8 million tickets sold for the games, Great Britain responded in a spectacular fashion by securing more gold medals than ever before and displayed to the rest of the world what makes Britain great.

This interview was published in the Chester Students’ Union Total Campus magazine 2012 after Gabby kindly agreed to a telephone interview sparked by a discussion on Twitter. On the day of the interview, it was an action-packed Olympic games timetable which had Gabby reporting back-to-back, live from the action. As the time got closer to our arranged slot I was sat next to the phone, shaking and panicking. I was about to speak to one of my heroes who is arguable the most prestigious female sports presenters in the UK, our first female presenter for Match of the Day and an all round  outstanding talent on British television.

I then received a text from Gabby which read something on the lines of ‘Sorry, we are running a little overtime with the live reporting, I will call as soon as we are done’. So let me get this straight, Gabby Logan, the Gabby Logan has just texted me from the Olympic Games to apologise.

5 minutes later, Gabby was on the other end of the phone and we chatted for a good 25 minutes. What struck me about Gabby was how easy it was to talk to her. She was funny, chatty and willing to offer any advice that could help students achieve their dreams. I will always remember this interview and because of Gabby I for one, will never give up.

Thank you Gabby.

How did you get into TV?

I used to be a gymnast and I appeared on Blue Peter. I thought this is exciting and it was an area I wanted to explore. I did lot’s of work experience on newspapers, radio stations and other various media outlets. Whilst at university I worked for one of the local radio stations in Durham and I built up an apprenticeship, then ended up finding out where I wanted to go and went from there. With doing my law degree, after a year I was doing very well at the radio although I like law, I found it very interesting I did not want to be a lawyer at that point so I followed my heart which led me to TV.

What would be your top tips for students with an aspiration of getting into TV?

Work as much as you can for free and across all different platforms such as radio as you learn all different experiences and skills which you can transfer to television media and writing which is handy if you are writing scripts, editing scripts, then you can see an insight into producing and may think I want to be a producer, then you may like to work in a more technical area or even editing.

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If you were not in front of the camera, what do you think you would  be instead?

I love property and doing up houses. It could have been in an area of business or sports governance. You can’t really say what you would have done as this was my dream from quite an early age. I have my dream job!

This summer, we have seen a fantastic display of sport with the London Olympics. What has it been like to present at such a prestigious event for Great Britain?

I have just been sat with Steve Redgrave and Tanni-Grey Thompson and they have had incredible sporting experience whether working on them [the Olympics], performing at them, competing at them and all of us know we have done something very very special and worked on something very special. It will be pretty hard to top it in our working lives because a home games is unique and in once in a lifetime. You will never get the chance again, we will all saviour these special weeks we have all enjoyed.

I think we have learnt a lot about ourselves as a nation coming together with teamwork and we can produce and achieve so much as a country. We are so quick to put ourselves down but I think it did a lot for our collective self-esteem.

Has there been a favourite moment of the games for you?

Gemma Gibbons winning her silver medal as she had qualified for the final after winning the Semi’s. She was guaranteed a medal and she fell to her knees and looked up and said ‘I love you, Mum’. Her mum had died when she was 17. I was getting ready to go into the Olympic Park and at that moment, I just broke down and spontaneously cried. I knew I was not alone, anybody watching would have felt the emotion and the back story of how tough it is to get there and just being an Olympian is a massive achievement and people overcome all kinds of adversities and struggles to get there.

And the pure brilliance of Mo Farrah’s double gold. It was such a difficult double gold to achieve and it is very rare that people win the 5 [5,000 metre race] and the 10 [10,000 metre race] because it is such a hard task and what he did was brilliant. And then the pressure on somebody like Jess Ennis sustained going the through the games; here face was everywhere, posters and then to come through as that magnificent!  There were so many different areas where people excelled and pushed themselves beyond what they thought was possible. It is not always the gold moments that stand out , working there and seeing the volunteers, what a great effort they put in and always smiling, always helpful and knowledgeable about the jobs they were going to do really did create the special atmosphere for the people going in to the Olympic park .

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Do you think the games will inspire ‘the next generation’?

It already has had an immediate impact. There have been lots of people enquiring about sport and wanting to do different sports. I think it will have a huge impact and I hope it will be sustained so that in a couple of years’ time it wont be dropping off. That will partly come through holding on to the enthusiasm, and passion for various events and that will come through funding, coaching training and it will also come through grassroots which is important in any sport which people have to volunteer to keep clubs going. I think we are not only talking about people becoming Olympians but health benefits have to be a huge motivator.