Top Gear Thursday: Show Helps Olympic Athlete Gunning for Gold

Jen McIntosh at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in 2010. (AP Images)

We know that Top Gear bolsters the UK’s automotive spirit, but did you know that it’s helped at least one British athlete prepare for the Olympic games?

The Mirror wrote last week: “Jen McIntosh will give winning Team GB’s first medal at the Games her best shot – with a little help from Jeremy Clarkson.”

McIntosh, 21, was in the women’s 10-meter air rifle competition, and she said that even though the sport is supposed to be conducted in total silence (except, of course, for the firing of the guns), she does lots of “distraction training” to make sure that nothing phases her during the actual matches.

“I have heard dogs barking, children screaming and I have had phones go off during competitions,” she said. “So when I am training, I will often put Top Gear on in the background just because I will burst out laughing half the time and it is quite distracting.”

Unfortunately, McIntosh, despite getting a score of 392 out of 400, still only came in at 36th place in a field of 56 last Friday. Perhaps they should have played Top Gear during the actual competition.

• Speaking of the Olympics, you saw Danny Boyle take the Olympics for a spin last week. Well, back in 2010, in series 15, Boyle was a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. And the folks at Top Gear cleverly held back this out-take from his appearance for a time, we imagine, just like this.

• While the Olympics are all about specific, quantifiable achievements, the focus is a little different at Top Gear Speed Week, when the magazine tests the best and the fastest. While speed is important, says Tom Ford, associate editor of Top Gear magazine, “It’s about heart and soul rather than about how fast it goes.”

 

• Captain’s log: on this week’s lost episode (premiering August 6, 9pm ET/8c), Top Gear goes where no one has gone before. Other interviewers may have spoken to Patrick Stewart, but the show put the actor who played the captain of the Enterprise behind the wheel of a regular automobile in this week’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment.

For reasons that you’ll discover when you watch the following video clip, Jeremy prefers being in the back seat of this Vauxhall. We don’t need to say this, but we will: don’t try this at home, folks.

And finally, Jeremy and… the Stig… drive a Volvo.