Friday, August 3, 2012

Boris Becker Wants You to Visit Britain

Boris Becker's resume includes many accolades: Olympic gold medalist (men's doubles tennis in Barcelona 1992), Olympian at Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona, Wimbledon champion (1985, 1986, 1989), and winner of the Australian Open (1991, 1996) and U.S. Open (1989).

Now a London-based businessman who set up house (one of many in several nations) a few blocks from Wimbledon, Becker now wants you to Visit Britain.

Today in London, Becker took part in a Visit Britain press conference announcing his role as an Ambassador for the organization charged with generating tourism. Becker joins Olympic boxing champion Lennox Lewis and golfer Colin Montgomerie as part of Visit Britain's "GREAT Britain, You're Invited" campaign.

With about 25 reporters in attendance, media viewed Becker's short campaign film then Becker took questions about his many connections to London and Great Britain. For instance, two of his children are in school here, he resides near Centre Court at Wimbledon, and his company and many business interests are in the city Becker describes as among the most cosmopolitan in the world. He also joked that he is one German who British love.

When I asked Becker to detail his many Olympic experiences, he answered describing Olympic tennis as a demonstration sport at the Los Angeles 1984 Games, and brief details about his part in the 1988 and 1992 German teams at Seoul and Barcelona, respectively. From a 1992 New York Times article I knew Becker resided in the Olympic Villages, and he shared details in the video response (the aforementioned article also talks about a very long men's tennis match played in Barcelona Olympic competition, much like today's lengthy men's singles semifinal match for London Olympic tennis players Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro (Federer won).

Becker also answered questions about his role in the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, stating he got the call and invitation to participate about three days ahead of its arrival in the London suburbs.

He said winning at Wimbledon on July 7, 1985, was like being born again or "a second birthday" and that winning the Olympic gold with his tennis nemesis-turned-doubles-partner Michael Stich was another life-changing experience.

"Carrying the torch was a near-life changing [experience]," said Becker.

The one glitch of the Visit Britain press event came from a German news outlet who posed questions about Becker's personal life and recent reports he was in default on property in Majorca (a question on the heels of a tourism trade reporter's inquiry about Becker's British holiday wish list for which Becker claimed not to be a beach person). Becker cringed but took the high road and politely moved on to answering other questions (though Becker apparently had a stern word or two for the German reporter immediately after the press conference). Schadenfreude!

Visit Britain has a lot of cool stuff going on so be sure to check out their site for some very cool stuff, including the Becker video.

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver, except the torch relay photo via LOCOG

No comments:

Blog Archive

Web Analytics