It was three years ago but it was so good. Well done yet again to ALL of the competitors representing Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The wonderful thing for me was simply the fact that I didn’t recognise a single British competitor, with the possible exception of one of the cyclists. How refreshing it was to see so many new, young and amazingly talented athletes instead of the usual trawl of nearly-has-beens being dragged out of the closet once again in their last vein bid to become an Olympic champion. Some Australian commentators have criticised Great Britain for only succeeding in events where we sit down. Well, my knee-jerk response to our antipodean cousins would be that I don’t particularly care where the medals come from so long as we beat them! This type of jingoism serves no one, However tempting. Some of the plaudits for Great Britain’s success must surely go to John Major for introducing the lottery funding which was a much-needed economic boost for our cash strapped athletes, and to Gordon Brown who had pumped some £500m into British sport, (excluding football) with another £100m promised for 2012. (We really must keep an eye on this figure to ensure delivery). However, on the down side, I find it most irritating when it is assumed that just because one has excelled in a given sport at some time in history, with an obvious and comprehensive knowledge of a given sport, there is the assumption made by various broadcast authorities that that person will be a natural broadcaster or journalist. What’s even more irritating is when a sports personality interviews another sports personality. It then becomes so blatantly obvious that both the cues and the questions have been written in advance by the production team given the often ‘cardboard’ delivery. We welcomed all of our athletes back from Beijing as hero’s, not just as a British team but as individuals in the true spirit of the Olympic movement, but can I ask for one small favour? That we cease immediately from using that horrible phrase ‘team GB’. In any event (no pun intened), BRING ON LONDON 2012!
Incidentally, looking at another sport for one moment, the coverage of Formula 1 racing on television has become almost farcical in its use of abbreviated terminology which means nothing to the uninitiated. My enjoyment of the sport is often ruined, yet again; by ex British drivers who insist that they now need to make their mark (wringing out a career for all its worth) by creating a totally unnecessary vocabulary to describe the twists and turns of the race. P1, for example, means in first place: L10 – lap ten. To be fair we now find it quite funny – a little like the Eurovision Song Contest -and add to the commentary by introducing our own TLA’s and shortened versions of terminology as the race unfolds. ‘Here’s LH in P2 on L36 approaching B4 about to P with a FT’. I somehow thought that this might have changed when the coverage went to the BBC, but sadly it seems to have become worse as Martin Brundle continues to sound exactly what he is. Oh, and if you’d like an illustration of Brundles unrivalled ‘technique’ then its worth visiting The Martin Brundle Quotes Page