Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Edwards Is Taking a Leap into the Unknown

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Edwards Is Taking a Leap into the Unknown

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alison Dargie

After hanging up his spikes, Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards is taking on a new role overseeing taste and decency on TV. Alison Dargie asks him what he watches on the box.

He's done his bit to keep television viewers entertained over the years. Now Jonathan Edwards will help decide what they can and can't watch.

Having made the hop and skip from the track to presenter's chair after the World Championships last year, he is jumping ahead to a role with Ofcom, the new regulator for the UK communications industries.

Along with 12 others, he is on the broadcasting watchdog's content board, charged with the responsibility of upholding standards of decency and fairness in television.

For nearly two decades Edwards dominated triple jumping, taking Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth gold medals and shattering the world record with a mammoth 18.29m leap which has yet to be bettered.

Though his new duties involve none of the physical and mental rigours of athletics, Edwards insists he is looking forward to meeting new and different challenges.

He said: "It gives me the opportunity to have a positive role within the public life of the country."

The task of playing moral guardian to the nation's viewing is a return to grass roots for the vicar's son, who has long maintained his Christian faith is the root of his success and the goal of all his efforts.

After missing the finals of the 1991 World Championships because of his refusal to compete on Sunday, he is known as much for his faith as for his athletic achievements.

Edwards is wary of being cast as "the worthy one" on the board, where he represents the English regions.

He said he was not straight out opposed to sex and violence on television and stressed the importance of context.

Preferred viewing in the Edwards house ranges from political satire to documentaries and drama - ER in particular.

He said: "The one my wife and I love is ER. Big fans.

"We like Have I got News for You and we usually stay up for Question Time. Recently we watched and enjoyed Hand of God with Michael Buerk, a series on people of religious beliefs in sport, politics and entertainment. …

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