Born to Win



Dermot O'Leary


Judges: Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson

Trainer: Dave Collins


BBC One, 27 September to 1 November 2003 and 25 March 2004 (6 episodes + 1 special)


On paper, this has a lot going for it. Not only is it hosted and produced (his first producing job, in fact) by one of Britain's top television personalities in the form of Dermot O'Leary, it's being co-hosted by Olympic gold medallists Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson and it had funds from BBC Talent diverted into it.

File:Born to win dermot.jpgDunno what Dermot's looking worried about.

In theory it's a good format as well. Ten amateur sporting males and females who practise a wide variety of sports converge in St Anton in the hills of Austria to determine who is Born to Win and win a grant towards proper professional training. Obviously it wouldn't be quite fair to just get them to play off in the traditional sports that they've been practicing so they've devised lots of new tests to test strategy, power, strength, endurance, agility and co-ordination. In each episode, four events are played and within each gender, the winner of each event scores ten, second place nine and so on. After four events, the bottom three contestants from each gender are in the "danger zone", and one male and female in that danger zone, the one that judges Jackson and Gunnell feel has the least to give, is eliminated.

File:Born to win final1.jpgThe exciting and nearly comprehensible final round

The games

Examples of some of the featured games include:

  • The Iron Run - Contestants must run 4km as fast as they can. The catch is that they're wearing a weighted vest. The more weight the player chooses to carry (up to a maximum of 8.55kg) the bigger the headstart they are given.
  • Swim Shot - Players get on a pontoon and shoot at a target with a paintgun. The closer they are to the centre, the closer the buoy they have to swim and return to. Five laps.
  • The Wall -Using the two pegs and the holes provided, players must pull their way up to the top of a perspex wall. A game for the upper body, that one.
  • Light Chase - One light in the middle, five lights around the perimeter of a circle. Players run from light to light turning them off alternating between the middle and the perimeter.
File:Born to win light chase.jpgThe light chase. If you can run at 299,792,458 metres per second, you might catch it.

However, for one reason or another the show turns out to be less compelling than expected. Some of the games weren't that exciting and we found we couldn't be bothered to stick with it from week to week. A shame really, but a show that didn't quite add up to the sum of its parts.

File:Born to win austria1.jpgElectrocuting two women. That's sport for ya.


Louise Bloor


The event was sponsored by Norwich Union. Despite it being the BBC!


File:Born to win group.jpgThey're born to win. Except the ones who lost, obviously.
File:Born to win austria2.jpgThe sea.


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