BBC Sport Presenter Hazel Irvine

150 150 Rob McGibbon

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Published: 18 July 2013

BBC Sport presenter Hazel Irvine:

"Tunnock’s caramel wafers are too tempting. They go perfectly with a cup of tea, but I daren’t have them around me."

We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week BBC Sport presenter Hazel Irvine…

The prized possession you value above all others...My collection of mugs and posters and press accreditation cards from every sporting event I’ve covered since the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend...Not having the innate natural golfing talent of the great Nancy Lopez. It was my dream to be a professional golfer. I had the work ethic and got down to a 12 handicap but I didn’t have the natural talent.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions...The perfect day would begin with a luxurious lie-in with my husband, something that has eluded us since our daughter Gina, now four, arrived. We’d spend the whole day as a family and begin with a hike in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, followed by a boat trip on Milford Sound fjord on New Zealand’s South Island. We’d have lunch on the boat, then spend the afternoon on the beach at Mount Maunganui in the North Island. We’d tour the red sand dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, and I’d end the day there with a Planter’s rum punch and a barbecue under the stars.

The temptation you wish you could resist...Tunnock’s caramel wafers. They go perfectly with a cup of tea, but I daren’t have them around me.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance...The Story Of Art by EH Gombrich. I got an honours degree in history of art at St Andrews University, Scotland, and flicking through the pages brings back so many memories. 

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Woman for a day...I’d wander around the Royal College of Music in London and watch brilliant musicians practising. I played violin in the school orchestra from the age of ten and it remains a big love.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise...People who brazenly drop litter. I often challenge them to pick it up.

The film you can watch time and time again...All The President’s Men is a gripping drama, which I’ve seen at least 12 times. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are exceptional together.

The person who has influenced you most...My dad Bill. He gave me a passion for the outdoors and for sport. In his younger days he was an all-round sportsman and he introduced me to hill walking, golf and cycling as a child.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint...Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died last year. I’d love to hear how he felt physically and emotionally the moment he stepped on the moon.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...Always be yourself.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity...Sea fishing. I love cutting the bait and gutting the fish, then cooking the day’s catch at home.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again...My eight iron golf club. I threw it away in disgust when I was playing the Eden Course at St Andrews terribly when I was about 18.

The unending quest that drives you on... To do my best for my family.

The poem that touches your soul...Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth by Pam Ayres. I knew it in my younger years and I now recite it to Gina to encourage her to clean her teeth.  

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...That I know everything that happens in sport! I have people ask me what happened in some obscure event, and they look crestfallen when I don’t know.

The event that altered the course of your life and character...The birth of my daughter. I’m 48 now so having her quite late was truly fantastic. The greatest gift has been rediscovering the world through her eyes. 

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...I’d steal all the profits from the major banks of the world and redistribute it to schools, hospitals and sports clubs.

The song that means most to you...Agua de Beber by the Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto. You can put it on during a cold February day and it will brighten up your world. 

The happiest moment you will cherish forever...Swimming with turtles in a remote part of the Galapagos Islands about seven years ago. They were so cool about you being in the water and would just barge past on their way.

The saddest time that shook your world...The death of my great friend Mitsou from breast cancer four and a half years ago. I miss her sparkle.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you...To play the drums. I can play piano and violin but I’ve never had a real go at the drums. My dream would be to play like Ringo Starr on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

The philosophy that underpins your life...Never knowingly under-prepared.

The order of service at your funeral...I’d like Somebody Up There Likes You by Simple Minds played. It might put me in the good books of someone up above!

The way you want to be remembered...As a good mother and wife and a decent person. And, professionally, as someone who seldom shirked a challenge.

The Plug...Hazel hosts the BBC’s TV coverage of The Open at Muirfield today and tomorrow and the Women’s Open at St Andrews from 1-4 August.