James Pearce was the BBC’s Olympics Correspondent for London 2012, covering the Games every step of the way from the start of the bidding process in 2001. Alongside that role he was also Sports News Correspondent, reporting from the world’s biggest sports events for the BBC’s main television news bulletins during the past two decades.
An award winning correspondent, James freely admits to having one of the best jobs in the world. You name it, he’s reported from it. 4 World Cups, 4 Summer Olympics, 3 Winter Olympics, 3 European Football Championships and 3 Commonwealth Games form just the start of a very long list. In addition, if just being paid to travel the globe reporting on sport wasn’t good enough, he’s also had the privilege of being the BBC’s Olympics Correspondent for London 2012, working right at the heart of the Games all the way from 2001 to the unforgettable summer of 2012.
If he looks youthful for somebody who’s already packed so much into his career, that’s because he started young. In fact, aged just 23 he became the youngest ever regular reporter for BBC One’s flagship Six o’ Clock News. Since then he’s hardly paused for breath, working for all the BBC’s highest profile news programmes. A typical day might begin with an appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme and not end until Jeremy Paxman has finished grilling him on Newsnight.
Working as a Sports Correspondent for the BBC requires plenty of versatility. During his career James has had beer poured all over him by football fans during a live broadcast in Eindhoven, had to speak above the noise of a crowd of a million people before the 2002 World Cup semi-final in Seoul, pick himself up off his backside after falling over on the ice during a live televised demonstration of curling, and yet also continue with the fine journalism which has given him a reputation as one of the UK’s very best sports journalists.
It was James who broke the story that the opening of the new Wembley stadium would have to be delayed by more than a year because of problems with the construction project. James’ revelations that England’s bid team for the 2018 World Cup had buttered up the FIFA voters with gifts of luxury handbags for their wives led to high profile resignations. And the International Olympic Committee had to open an investigation months before London 2012 when James discovered that sponsors’ tickets were being sold on illegally for profit.
London 2012 has undoubtedly been the highlight of James’career. It was the culmination of an eleven year journey for him. As Olympics Correspondent he led much of the BBC’s News coverage of London 2012 right from the start of the bid. He was broadcasting on the BBC’s set in Singapore, alongside Sue Barker, when London was chosen as host in 2005. In 2012 he had a ringside seat for many of the highlights of the Games. Night after night his reports were the lead story on all the BBC’s television bulletins. He described to the world the feats of athletes like Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy and Jess Ennis.
Away from work, James’ football loyalties lie with Aldershot Town – he’s stayed faithful to his local club since he was a young boy. He dreams that one day he’ll be able to report on his team making its debut at Wembley. That stadium hosted one of his proudest broadcasting moments. He was invited to score the first goal at the new venue. He was wearing a builder’s helmet and wellington boots at the time, but managed to find the back of the net from a full two yards out.
James makes an excellent choice as your event Host, Conference Facilitator, Chairman and can share many anecdotes of his career, as your after dinner speaker.