Dear Dirty America


Olympic Glory & the BBC: Who won?

Olympic Glory & the BBC: Who won?
August 19
15:06 2016

Perthshire, Scotland

From the first moment of the opening ceremony to the last strains of the closing music, the mighty British Broadcasting Company will be a member of Team GB.

To some, this was a jolly good thing, allowing the national broadcaster to become at one with the team. On the other hand, as much as I admire many aspects of the BBC, this particular Olympic coverage was even more of an arse kissing event than the London 2012 games.

Olympic_Artistic_Gymnastics_tournament,_Rio_Olympic_Arena,_Rio_de_Janeiro,_BrazilWhile I loved the sport, I felt a bit uncomfortable listening to the constant babbling of the commentators, telling me everything and nothing at the same time. The endless yammering of the expert analysts who imagine we all want to know what each competitor had for breakfast each day and why.

All I really want to do is watch the sports and not have wee video packages of how X Y or Z got to this point in their lives. Set to music, which would drive the most sane person to leap from a window, we are shown in sepia tint, the journey of the athlete. I scream at the television, “Just show the bloody race!”

Then we have the experts earnestly giving their pearls of wisdom. The only expert I can listen to without launching the television out of the window, is the great Michael Johnson. This man is totally in command of his thoughts and doesn’t put up with idiotic comments, thought to be humorous, by the BBC commentators.

When sports presenters think that they are part of the entertainment, it’s time to have a rethink on the whole package. There are many genuinely funny people around, but not one of them is currently working for the BBC in any capacity.

The BBC love to have ex-sportsmen and women alongside their own presenters to get the right kind of “expert opinion” across to us, the dumb public. And even better to have people who have had honours given to them by the Queen. It was just ridiculous.

There were also more Knights on show at this Olympics than in a jousting contest. “Now I’m handing over to Sir Chris How/Sir Steve Redgrave/Sir Bradley Wiggins/Dame Kelly Holmes etc!”

In this country, if you can run quickly without falling over, cycle quickly without crashing, or row a wee boat without drowning, you will be made a Knight or a Dame.

Of course there are other ways of being guaranteed an honour, and that’s to be a huge crook and remember to donate lots of money to your favourite political party, or all political parties, just to hedge your bets.

The BBC were major cheerleaders for the Team GB. No matter what happened, they were right there, singing their praises. Many other nations who did well in sports Team GB weren’t part of or didn’t do well in, were pretty much ignored.

There was a time when I could watch the Olympic Games for the entire time it was on, but I really didn’t do so on this occasion. Somehow I just couldn’t get into the Olympic spirit.

This might be because I’m not convinced that drug cheating still wasn’t taking place despite the assurances of the IOC that they are ahead of the dopers.

When I was young, there was a truly magical feeling when an Olympic Games was taking place. At that time all the competitors were amateur and it was all about personal performance and, above all, pride. Where is the pride, if you’re standing on the podium, knowing you got there by cheating?

The build up was the usual media driven frenzy of doom and gloom. Nothing was ready on time. You would be robbed at gunpoint at least twice a day.

Actually this only pertained to four US swimmers to whom in reality it didn’t happen! I’m sure that they are truly repentant and will be delighted to sell their tawdry tales to the tabloid or media outlet which pays the most highly.

After what seems to have been a lifetime, the games will close for another four years. My personal opinion is that this should be the last time it goes ahead in this format. There has to be radical change, and I believe the only way of regaining its innocence, is to go back to amateur only competitors. This is the only way of stamping out the cancer of cheating and corruption.

If after a successful Olympic Games, some competitors want to turn professional and make money from their talents, that’s great, but then they cannot enter another Olympics. Very simple and far less incentive to cheat.

It’s not perfect, but something drastic has to be done if the Games are to continue into the future.


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Michael J Blair contributes political analysis to DDA, and he can be reached at: His Twitter handle is: @mmjblair

[header photo of Rio 2016 courtesy of Rodrigo Soldon, Wikimedia Commons; Rio games gymnastics photo courtesy of PIVISO, Wikimedia Commons]


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