My Sport Bucket List
At the end of 2003 I found myself in a pickle. A business I’d run for seven years with my boyfriend/business partner collapsed, the nine-year relationship following soon afterwards. I was houseless, jobless and broken.
So, at my lowest ebb, I wrote a Sport Bucket List including ‘go to an Olympics’, learn to surf’, and, ah, ‘set off a controlled avalanche…’ (see 30). I’ve been ticking them off ever since.
I cringe at some of the entries now but they were of their time and they’re there so they must be done. Some have been added more recently.
What would be on your sport bucket list? Let me know at the Sports Liberated Hub on Facebook.
1. Learn to surf
Done! I lived in Australia for a bit (and spent some time in Costa Rica) so have definitely learned to surf, if you count the below as ‘surfing’, that is.
2. Scuba dive with Great White Sharks in South Africa
3. Enter a sports photography competition
4. Watch a Wimbledon match from the players’ box
5. Meet Alex Ferguson
Oh god, well this is one of those embarrassing ones I referred to, especially as I’m a Liverpool FC fan… I haven’t done this one yet but I’m a big fan of super-talented, game-changing people and Man Utd were on such a roll especially after the sensational 1999 Champions League final so I guess this is why this is there.
6. Try coasteering
7. Go to an Olympics
Done! Atlanta 1994 (sort of), Athens 2004 (definitely) and, oh my, London 2012. I loved it so much it’s got it’s own special section on this website – My Olympic Odyssey – I even managed to get a part in the opening ceremony!
8. Go to a football World Cup
Now, the thing is, I’ve ticked this one off, which is cheating a little because I haven’t been to a World Cup but I did go to Euro 2004, and loved it, but I’ve sort of gone off football now so unlikely to head to a World Cup. HOLD THAT THOUGHT! It’s a few years later now and I’m updating this list and, well, I now also watch the women’s game too. The next Women’s World Cup is in France in 2019… quite fancy a trip to Paris…
9. Watch the Monaco Grand Prix from a boat in the harbour
I almost had this one, or so I thought. I interviewed Nicholas Frankl, host of yacht parties at the Monaco Grand Prix for billionaires. I hoped to wangle my way on board until he all but confirmed that Kim and Kanye West were even refused an invite because they wouldn’t pay. I’ll have to find another way.
10. Write at least one sports book
11. Be a published sportswriter
13. Do international sport charity work
Done! I went on a surf and turtle conservation trip to Costa Rica. Fab-u-lous. Want to do more though – lots more.
14. Volunteer at sport events
Doing it! I’ve been an on-course marshal at the BBC Sport Relief Mile (where I was reprimanded – quite correctly – after an incident with a boy band); took photos at Football Unites Racism Divides football for young girls event in Sheffield, UK, on International Women’s Day; and helped kids over an obstacle course at the British Transplant Games.
15. Be on A Question of Sport
Yes, I mean as a contestant – I’ve been in the studio audience. Now this one might be a little tricky as I’ve possibly missed the boat on being an Olympic sports person so I’m now wanting to go on A League of their Own, which looks like a right laugh.
16. Dance on stage in a show
Done! Not exactly how I pictured it – IT WAS EVEN BIGGER THAN I PICTURED IT. I was a dancer in the London 2012 opening ceremony.
17. Watch an El Classico at the Nou Camp – that’s Barcelona v Real Madrid
18. Be a sport travel vlogger
Doing it! Check out winter sport-ering in Canada – stalked by mountain lion included and long-weekend in Tokyo at the World Gymnastics Championships. Want to do lots, lots more.
19. Get dressed up to go to a proper ballet
This will be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman-related, I’m sure… Going by private plane? Optional.
20. Go to the world championship snooker final
Despite living down the road from the famous Crucible venue in Sheffield where the world snooker final takes place, for four years, a regular freelance job in London during the month of April has put paid to this bucket list dream. So far.
21. Have a six pack
Done! And not a sit-up was done. If you’re in the water all day, every day, having fun with your mates, those old gymnastics muscles resurface. Presume they’re still in there now…
22. Watch a 100m Olympic final
Done! You might have heard of the fella who won it… just the fastest man in the world EVER – one Usain Bolt at London 2012. I’ve also got tickets for Usain’s last ever race before he retires. The 4x100m relay at the world championships on August 12 in London in the summer of 2017. So, double done I say!
23. Camp out at Wimbledon
Done! Accompanied by one Kathy Alys we have well and truly ticked this box. Never again.
24. Go to world gymnastics championships
Done! Four times. To be fair, I’d already been a volunteer at the World Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham in 1993 but I think I kind of meant to watch one. So I’ve been to London, Antwerp and, ah, for a long-weekend in Tokyo, Japan (from the UK). The latter is a story that involves Louis Smith’s agent…
25. Watch an England Rugby match at Twickenham / see All Blacks live
Done! Loads of times but it was actually a World Cup match between Scotland and Australia in the semi finals that was the most memorable (aside from England smashing up the All Blacks which is always fun!).
26. Watch major tennis tournament
27. Watch sport from a director’s box
Done! A VIP box at a Chelsea Champions League match (we had Chelsea-branded rugs for our knees and everything), women’s individual all around gymnastics competition at the London 2012 Olympics, the Sky Box at the World Cup of Gymnastics and for the end of year ATP Tennis tour finals.
28. Be a TV gymnastics presenter
I’m counting this. Myself and Julie Moorcroft did a short video at the World Cup of Gymnastics. Video coming soon.
29. Have a house with a dance studio with mirrors along the wall
Oh lord, so this would be Flashdance related… Still want it though!
30. Set off a controlled avalanche
Ha ha. So this is what they do during a ski season to keep the slopes safe. So in my mind I’d have one of those plunger things like on the cartoon Roadrunner but I think they use computers these days and I’m not sure pressing the ‘enter’ button would have the same feel to it… still, it’s on the list!
31. Do 100 keepie-uppies
I am RUBBISH at these. This is going to take a while…
32. Do a sky dive
33. Go to world darts championships
Done. I blame a certain England rugby player – that’s you Will Greenwood – for this resulting photo. Let’s just say drinking games and darts and leave it there shall we.
34. Try slacklining
Done! I thought I’d be good at this being an ex-gymnast an’ all. Possibly try too much too soon here…
35. Get over my fear of horses
Done! Unusual technique here – I tried polo. Although not sure if crying while being taught qualifies as ‘getting over a fear’ but you know.
36. Digitalise VHS gymnastics tapes from my time as an elite gymnast in the 1980s
Doing it! (Yes, I’m older than I look…)
37. Submit a short film entry to the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
38. Watch an alpine ski downhill event at Kitbzbhuel, Austria
39. Go to a Winter Olympics
My eye is currently on Pyeongchang 2018…
40. Go to see a Red Bull Cliff Diving competition
Acapulco would be nice…
41. Watch a diving competition at the Olympics
Done. Saw a certain Thomas Daley win bronze at London 2012. Goosebumply moment when he and team-mates all jumped in the pool to celebrate.
42. Jump (or dive…) off 10m diving board
43. Be at a Welsh rugby home game to hear the fans sing the national anthem
44. Go to Tokyo 2020 Olympics
45. See a sport event at Wembley
To be fair, I’d done this prior to making this list but it’s such an iconic venue I had to put it in here. Been numerous times but only once did I sit in the dug out and ‘hold’ a press conference. Helps to have friend’s in the industry. Thanks Lizzie Liebenhals!
46. Ski in Canada
Done. I was a lucky, lucky girl as I went on a press trip to Canada staying in five star Fairmont hotels and taking in Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Only six days but I LOVED it! Thank you, thank you Lisa Tyrell.
47. Live blog a major sport event
Done. Live blogged the Rio Olympic Games for Yahoo! Sport UK. Trying to keep quiet in the small hours of the morning while based in the UK watching multiple events on multiple screens while Team GB were smashing up the Games was the hardest part. Loved doing it – keen to do some more.
48. Kayak somewhere stunning
Done! Again, did this before I created this list but wanted to include it as I’d love to do more. But have been whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon (with a Navajo nation guide – he lived at Phantom Ranch!) and kayaking through Ardeche River in France (unfortunately a group of us teens ended up in hospital and in the news for going down with food poisoning en masse).