Sam Quek: who is the BBC Olympic Breakfast presenter and former hockey player – and who is her husband?

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After a successful Olympic career of her own, Quek is now building an impressive portfolio of presenting appearances

Viewers tuning in to Olympic Breakfast – a Games-focused replacement of BBC Breakfast – over the weekend were greeted with the familiar face of sports presenter Dan Walker.

But they were also met with a less recognisable face in that of Sam Quek, Walker’s co-presenter on the show.

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The former Team GB hockey player (who has since gone on to forge a successful media career) joined Walker to present a show which ruffled the feathers of some viewers.

Sam Quek celebrates after winning the Women's Gold Medal Match against Netherlands on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Sam Quek celebrates after winning the Women's Gold Medal Match against Netherlands on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Sam Quek celebrates after winning the Women's Gold Medal Match against Netherlands on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

But who is Sam Quek, and why were some of those who tuned in miffed at Olympic Breakfast’s coverage?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Sam Quek?

Samantha Quek is best known for her prowess as a hockey player.

(Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for BT Sport Industry Awards)(Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for BT Sport Industry Awards)
(Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for BT Sport Industry Awards)

She has competed for both the England national team and Great Britain, and brought home the gold as part of Team GB at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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She was born in 1988 in Liverpool, and first became interested in the sport whilst at Birkenhead High School, attending trials for the Wirral under-12 team.

Her first taste of victory came when she was selected to play for Wirral County at the Merseyside Youth Games, with her team winning the tournament – a feat they would go on to replicate the following year.

Playing as a defender, Quek quickly moved to international competition, representing both England and Great Britain.

In 2005, Quek was part of the England team that won the Girl's (Under-18s) Four Nations Invitational Tournament, and two years later she won gold as part of the Great Britain Team for the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

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Her first international cap for Great Britain came in 2007 when she was just 19, with her England debut following a year later.

Quek did not get the chance to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, but did compete in the Rio Olympic Games for years later, where she captained the side to gold, defeating the Netherlands on penalties after a 3–3 draw to win the first women's hockey gold medal in the Olympics for Great Britain.

Since wrapping up her sporting career, Quek has presented various sports shows on TV, including coverage of the NFL for the BBC, rugby union on Channel 5, hockey on BT Sport, and football for Channel 4.

She has also appeared as a contestant on shows including I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2016 and Celebrity Masterchef in 2020, where she reached the final three, and it was recently confirmed that she will become a team captain on A Question of Sport, the show's first ever permanent female captain.

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Quek is married to Tom Mairs, a property entrepreneur who appeared as the titular "Secret Millionaire" on the reality show of the same name in 2010.

Why did people complain about Olympic Breakfast?

Despite a fresh show to complement the BBC’s Olympic coverage, many viewers weren’t impressed with the new platform’s selection of sports.

While a large proportion of viewers enjoyed Walker and Quek’s broadcast, others were not impressed at the decision to show coverage of the men’s bike race over gymnastics.

“I don't want to go back to the men's road race!" said one user on social media. “If there's a reason you can't broadcast the gymnastics, tell us. Stop ignoring everyone.”

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However, the BBC’s coverage of the Games has been relatively paired back this year, for one major reason.

Ahead of the 2020 games, the International Olympic Committee decided to sell the games’ European television rights to US company Discovery, which in turn has put the majority of coverage behind a paywall, accessible only through its Eurosport channels or paid-for streaming service Discovery+.

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However, Discovery is still required to make some of the coverage available on free-to-air channels, for which it has allowed the BBC to purchase a limited amount of coverage, which restricts the broadcaster to a maximum of two live events at one time.

This deal was announced back in 2016, but since the ramifications of it are only becoming apparent five years later, many Olympics fans would not have been aware of the changes until now.