For a Kiwi, John Clarke has a brilliant understanding of the Australian identity. In Sporting Nation he reflects on this and our connection with sport, and just how passionate we are about anything to do with it. We’ll even bet on two flies crawling up a wall, for goodness sake. As expected his insight is hilarious and the series tails nicely into the London Olympics – almost like it was planned that way – and you can be sure it’ll be entertaining.

From the press release:

Australia is a sporting nation. Sport is officially everywhere. It even helps us describe matters other than sport. We speak of being in the home straight, dropping the baton, getting down the wicket to the bowling, raising the bar, having a game plan and taking it one week at a time.

In this three-part series, John Clarke, arguably Australia’s greatest natural athlete, looks at how Australia came to take its sport so seriously and what it means to be a sporting nation.

The series celebrates our sporting achievements (and we ask what the word ‘our’ means, since most of us didn’t do it). It also examines the sporting passion of spectators and looks at how sport has shaped us as a nation.

John speaks to athletes, coaches, commentators and former Prime Ministers about sport and they confirm what we suspected: that if so many people are interested in sport, it’s certainly not just about sport.

He also meets legendary sporting heroes and asks them how and why they achieved such prodigious deeds. And listen carefully, for the answers are not what you’d think.

Whatever you think of sport, this series should interest you. And if you love sport, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.

In episode one Marjorie Jackson, Dawn Fraser, the late Murray Rose, Herb Elliott, Margaret Court, Ralph Doubell and Shane Gould talk about featuring in a golden age of Australian sport that began after the Second World War, spanning the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the terrorism-marred Munich Olympics in 1972. The athletes’ triumphs reflected well on the nation and its healthy lifestyle. We thought it would last forever.

Sporting Nation – Sunday 24/06 7.30pm, ABC1.