GRAHAM BELL is a former five times Olympic skier, TV presenter, adventurer and journalist. He is the face of BBC TV’s Ski Sunday and in 2009 with Ed Leigh presented High Altitude, the primetime BBC2 adrenaline packed winter sports programme. Highlights included Graham tackling the Arctic Circle Race; a 160mile cross-country ski race in Greenland, surviving a night in a snow-hole without food, water or a sleeping bag, and set a new personal best top speed on skis of 121mph.
After retiring as a professional ski racer in 1998, Graham started his television career at Eurosport commentating live on the World Cup Ski Circuit for two years, before moving over to an in-vision role on Ski Sunday. Graham was part of the team that saw Ski Sunday win a prestigious Royal Television Society award in 2002. He has presented and commentated on the 2002, 2006 and 2010 games and will be an integral part of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
An Olympian, Graham Bell is regarded as one of the finest Downhill skiers the UK has ever produced. He and his brother Martin flew the flag for Britain throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Graham took a Silver Medal at the World Junior Ski Championships in 1984 and represented Great Britain at five Winter Olympics in Sarajevo 1984, Calgary 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994 and Nagano 1998. The result that Graham is most proud of is his 12th place in the infamous Hahnenkamm Race in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
Since retiring from competition Graham has continued to test his competitive instinct. In 2003 he competed in the return of BBC1’s ‘Superstars’, against some of the country’s top sportsmen. He achieved an admirable fourth place in the final, the best placed non-current athlete. Graham has competed in numerous Triathlon competitions, 24hr Mountain Bike events and regularly rides the grueling Etape du Tour cycle race.
Born on the Akrotiri RAF base in Cyprus 1966, son of a pilot Rod Bell and teacher Jean Bell. Graham’s love of skiing started at the age of 5 when his father was posted to Edinburgh, learning to ski on Cairngorm mountain and Hillend dry slope. By the time the family were posted to Yorkshire, Graham and his brother Martin, were both racing full-time on the World Cup circuit, and developed close ties with Harrogate dry ski slope, holding coaching camps their in the summer. Rod Bell continued to fly with the RAF teaching at the Central Flying School. In 2005 when Graham flew with the Red Arrows as part of the BBC’s coverage of the Great North Run, he was surprised to find 5 of the 9 pilots had been taught by his father.
Until recently Graham held the prestigious title of International Performance Director for The Ski & Snowboard Federation and is the patron of The British Ski Academy. He is internationally admired and respected as an ambassador promoting skiing and winter sports, encouraging young people into the sport. He is still very much involved with the British teams coaching and motivating them and currently sits on the board of SnowsportGB.
Graham Bell continues to present BBC Ski Sunday and also has been a BBC commentator for the London 2012 Olympics.