Aren’t the Olympics exciting?? Seeing young sportspeople at their physical peak; having focused on their destiny for years. The BBC is great at informing us about the range of sports and competitions in the Winter Olympics, including the newer sports. It is the only time I can get passionate about Curling and Rhona Martin is still a legend in our household.
I am delighted that the BBC reflects the culture of different sports: in particular the newer ‘freestyle’ snow sports. The response from Jenny Jones, when she won Bronze in her discipline was “OMG, OMG, I’m Amazed; amazed; I’m speechless”. It was authentic; funny; joyful and wonderful to watch. Her meeting with her parents was also a tear jerker moment!
BUT: I was really disappointed with the commentating for this particular event. Yes, I’d heard, and laughed at the commentary for the men’s event the day before. There were two men getting very excited at the prospect of two British men in the final of the race. Great! It was not the normal BBC style, but you were aware of their genuine interest in the sport. And it was infectious.
BUT: for the women’s race, there was an additional commentator: a fellow competitor who was knocked out of a preliminary round, was in the commentary box. She was a colleague and friend of Jenny Jones. And didn’t appear to have ANY experience of commentating on a national TV station. The BBC are normally very careful who they have broadcasting: guests that phone in are vetted and there is a system of editing (and stopping an interview) if necessary, but in this instance, it was a live feed. Not only did this woman have a very limited vocabulary, but she didn’t know how to speak or appear in an appropriate manner for a live show. This wasn’t a group of friends watching a race on the TV or live, but something being broadcast.
When you have a broadcaster saying lewd comments about competitors; cheering when rivals fall and SCREAMING into the microphone, there should have been someone there EDITING the live show. When you someone in the commentary box with no experience of broadcasting – just a love and passion for the sport, you are in a risky place. This woman didn’t have the skill to contribute in an interesting, informative way: her “She’s the loveliest person in the world” comment reminded me of people commenting on celebrities that they’ve seen in the distance.
I don’t blame her in any way: she is a sportswoman (and a brand ambassador for Red Bull) and her sport is young, edgy and joyful. But she shouldn’t have been allowed to be in a commentary box!
I am going to sound like an old fogey – and certainly people that complained about the commentary, and there were many, have been accused of this. BUT I believe there is a time and place for everything. This was the final of an Olympic discipline, and whilst it was great to have supporters of Jenny Jones, they should have been interviewed after the event. The BBC didn’t think this through and if this woman can commentate, well when can I do the commentary for the Rugby?
This situation made me reflect on how a company’s brand can be damaged by such an incident: an employee saying something inappropriate or behaving in an inappropriate way in front of clients. It can confuse the customer. I do understand that this is partly a generational point: the BBC is wanting to encourage more Generation Y viewers – and this was certainly core GEN Y! But isn’t there a time and place to scream at a result – and not when you have a microphone in front of you during a live broadcast.
What do you think?