London 2012 - 60 seconds with James Cracknell

Wed, 17 Aug 10:17:00 2011

We spent 60 seconds with double Olympic gold medallist and adventurer James Cracknell to discover his love of roller blading and the Wombles.

London 2012 - James Cracknell 60 secs

Who was your sporting hero?

Daley Thompson. He came to our sports day when I was a kid and I was hugely inspired by that experience. I didn't want to do track and field at the end of that day, but it really was fantastic.

If your house was burning down, what one possession would you save?

Nothing I have couldn't be replaced, apart from the family. There is nothing I would be too desperate to lose. I've got lots of crap, but I'm not a hoarder. Objects can be replaced.

If you could sit down to dinner with three people – dead or alive – who would they be?

I've had enough dinners with Matthew Pinsent. I'll go for Alexander the Great, just to see what he was like. I'd have Aristotle – he'd be very interesting company. And Adolf Hitler – to find out what drove him and to try to understand how he could motivate so many people to be so horrendous.

…What would be on the menu, and who would cook?

Anything that Hitler didn't like. Lasagne is always a good dish and that separates a good chef from a poor one. Cod is pretty special if cooked well too. I could cook the lasagne pretty well.

What's your most annoying habit?

I have many, but my wife calls me 'concrete shoes'. I get stuck in my ways and then I don't ever really shift from my position. That could also be in reference to my dancing, though.

What's the worst music you've ever bought?

The first music I ever bought was Adam and the Ants, but it has gone slowly downhill from there. The nadir was perhaps The Wombles... for my kids, of course!

What's the most embarrassing moment you've had in a rowing boat?

Capsizing, generally. There was one time when Steve Redgrave was coaching me for the U18 British trials, and I fell into the water right in front of him. My car keys went to the bottom of the river – it was a nightmare. If I'd have said to Steve then that I'd be rowing with him in the Olympics, he would not have been too impressed!

Which sportsman or woman would you have the best night out with?

It would have to be Matt Dawson. He's always very good for a fun night out and a laugh.

You're allowed to make one novelty change to the sport of rowing – what would you do?

I'd introduce a rule whereby every 500m, the boat in last place gets sunk. Then everyone would know that if you're last, you're going to get blown out of the water! It would make every race very interesting.

Do you have a favourite film of all time?

Spartacus! From the first time I watched it, that was my favourite. I know it's pretty dated now and might not be the classiest of choices, but there you go.

What would you sing at Karaoke?

It's not a super regular feature of my week... I'd sing 'Secret Smile' by Semisonic. It sounds pretty soppy, but that was the song which my wife sang when I first met her – I thought she did it very well.

The title of your book, 'The No Gym Health Plan' got a lot of us in the office very excited, but then we realised that you weren't actually insinuating we do nothing. So what do you recommend instead?

The big thing is learning a skill as well – to do something you can do without thinking about it. For instance, I'm learning roller blading at the moment and it's a good way of keeping fit which is also enjoyable. It's different.

Like dancing in a nightclub?

Yes, exactly.

I know you've appeared on Question Time, so what would be your one sporting question for David Cameron?

Apart from the obvious, 'Why do you support Aston Villa?' I would ask him what he is going to do to stop other sports being dominated by football... you can’t fight market forces, but some sports are in danger of being pushed out completely if the Government don't publicise and promote others. There has to be a wide range of sports available to youngsters.

And finally, did you get any London 2012 tickets?

I've got a press pass, but I didn't get any from the ballot. I want to take my little boy to the Games, so I'm hoping for the best...

"James Cracknell joined members of the general public for the Bupa Flash Run. The lunchtime run took place in Regents Park and was announced via the Bupa Running Twitter and Facebook pages. "Like" Bupa Running on Facebook and follow @buparunning on Twitter to keep in touch with Bupa's team of running experts."

Dan Quarrell - Twitter @danquarrell / Eurosport

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