Sunday, 17 August 2008

Too white for the BBC?

This weekend saw the best Olympic results for Great Britain in 100 years, and even and as a nation we should feel a great sense of pride for our fantastic home grown athletes. Yesterdays was the first time Britain has won so many medals in a single day since the London Summer Olympic games of 1908.

For the first time in decades Great Britain is in third place, behind only the host nation and the world's last remaining superpower. It does not get much better than that, we could not hope for better in the lead up to 2012.

However, yesterday's news coverage on the BBC and Channel 4 suggested that the results were not quite as enthusiastically welcomed in the Newsrooms across the nation as they may have been in its living rooms. I am only guessing but a glance at the triumphant athletes may give us a clue as to why, is it possible that they are all a little too shining white to please the TV opinion formers. How can they possible sing the praises of the British winners when those winners are all so unfashionably indigenous.

Could that be why, the day that team GB scored our greatest result in a Century, both the BBC and Channel 4 devoted at least half of their Olympic coverage to a Jamaican athlete called Bolt.

Mr. Bolt did very well, and we all applaud him, however these were two British news channels, reporting on British TV, on the day of Britain's greatest Olympic achievement since the dawn of the 20th Century. On that day, what other nation on earth would spend 50% of their coverage reporting on the achievements of a foreign athlete? In a post praising our sportsmen and women, it would seem inappropriate to call our media by the name they deserve, but it starts with 'Scum' and ends with 'bags'.

Congratulations to our victorios sportsman, our national media may not appreciate you but we, the British people do.


Anonymous said...

Every one of our sportsmen in every field has my admiration, winner or not, for I have seen first hand the hell our swimmers go through to get to the starting line, never mind the podium, and I doubt it is much different for other sporting disciplines.

I remember watching our national swimming team being put through hell at the Club La Santa sports resort in Lanzarote. My youngest was still into competitive swimming and our club went out there to give the up and coming kids a taste of just how much hell the training regieme would be like if they decided to "get seriously serious".

The british team coach, AND the coach of the irish team who was also out there, thought our kids were great.

I also recall some years earlier when we went out there when my eldest was in training, before she switched to being an instructor. My youngest, then aged six, was too young to train with the squad, and was not happy about it.

On the last day I took her - aged six - and her four year old friend - for a special "training session" in the 'open to anyone' lane of the 50 metre pool.

With the kids resplendent in the "club colours" neither of them were old enough to wear "officially", I walked the two of them to the poolside, past the german national team who were out there getting in some last minute practice for the european championships.

After a brief chat to make sure they knew what to do, I left them "limbering up" and swam 25 metres up the 50 metre pool, treading water to be ready to assist if shit happenned to either.

There were murmurings from the german team. Of the good natured 'oh look there's CUTE' variety (yes I speak enough german to understand).

Then the girls got into the water and took up racing backstroke start positions in each half of the lane. I moved to the centre of the lane - to keep out of the way of what I knew would happen next.

The german chattering stopped.

And at my yell of 1-2-3 GO both girls shot from the poolside marks like barracuda on amphetamines.

I noticed some of the german swimmers were counting as the girls - aged six and four, remember, rocketed up the 50 metres, turned and shot back. You didn't need to me a psychic to know what was going through every one of the female german swimmer's minds ......

It was "In three olympics time, when I'm coming to the end of my career, one of THEM is going to be coming up fast behind me and taking my medal place"

Well. it was not to be but as you can tell it left me with an insight into elite sport that few outside it can ever have.

Well done the lot of you and to hell with the media if the skin colour on the podium isn't the rainbow hue the political masters demanded.

Anonymous said...

Celtic Morning. Spot on JoG. When I came back from service in Iraq in the fifties I was a pretty good swimmer having spent half the day , every day,for more than a year in an olympic size swimming pool on our base camp. I was pretty pleased with myself and thought the next step would be to grow fins!! A few years later I met my sister at the pool in Cardiff where her young son was part of the training squad. He was like a salmon, a porpoise and I felt like a little minnow beside him. Sadly, he never made it to the very top, the Olympics though he swam for Wales for some years and took part in a Commonwealth Games and spent his life involved in the sport. The training regime was horrific and, as you say, we should honour all our competitors whatever they achieved for they have proven, by their presence in the team, that they have the dedication and work ethic to allow them to succeeed in their other life when their sporting years are behind them and they are a wonderful example to some of our other youth who drift along aimlessly with no ambition and eventually, nothing to be proud of. I am suspicious of the results obtained by the Jamaican sprinters. Is it coincidence that this little island produced so many very fast men and women and has one of the most lax drug testing regimes of the Olympic nations? The American sprinters, and others such as the East Germans, were only proven to be cheats some years after their triumphs.I'm afraid athletics, which was one of my favourite sports is now too tainted by its past for me to take new records seriously. I hope we in Britain do all we can to keep our sportsmen and women drug free, wether we win or lose.

Anonymous said...

"Team GB"

What's that in the flag?

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Oh yes, she was on the front of every newspaper and suddenly the BBC could not get enough of the Olympics, after delegating Monday's multiple gold winners to fourth item on the evening news, last night Ms Ohuruogu was the top story.

The media can now cheer team GB in a way they obviously felt unable to while all the winners were white.