I've been watching a bit of the Olympics and we've not been doing too bad really. As I type this, we're 3rd in the medal table (11 golds) and if you take away the genetically modified 'Dolphin Boy's' 8 personal golds, we'd be equal 2nd alongside the USA. Hurrah for us.
We seem to have got a crop of sportsmen and women who don't just want to take part but want to, and expect to, win gold.
Of course this has coincided with our country being renamed and rebranded for the Olympics.
Great Britain is now Team Britain. Fab. I'll rush out and get my passport updated. Very trendy. Can we have a new National Anthem please ? I'm with Billy Connelly on this one. Ours is a dirge and we need a jolly upbeat one that Cliff can sing and get it to No.1. Oh and write one that doesn't mention The Queen and then she can sing along with it too and not feel silly having to sing her own name all the time !
And speaking of countries and passports, I was born in Northern Ireland and my passport says I'm a citizen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Fine.
So where are MY sportsmen at the Olympics ? We're not part of Team Britain after all. Can't be. Is there a separate Northern Ireland team then ? Nope. It's not a country on the Olympic list. There is Ireland of course but as we all know, Northern Ireland isn't Ireland. Oh no.
There is a North and South Korea after all. So what do MY people have to do to play at the Olympics ? Become Irish I guess and that must piss off a lot of them. And rightly so.
Oh a little bit political there, Ian.
Anyway the real reason for this post is to have a rant about the BBC interviewing technique again. Holy crap people, we don't need to listen to out of breath sportsmen/women seconds after their event has finished. I know they get whipped off to receive their medals or slash their wrists so there is only a small window of opportunity to find out what they thought of coming first or last but give them, and us, a break !
Until the early hours of this morning I'd thought sticking a mic in front of the rowers was the ultimate in hearing gasps and wheezes, grunts and groans instead of coherent English. But when poor Paula Radcliffe was interviewed almost before she crossed the Marathon finishing line, the BBC reached a new low.
The fact she got to Beijing was amazing enough, given her injuries. Then she almost stopped (again) part way round when, as she put it, it felt like one of her legs gave way. Only having one leg left, it made the rest of the race a bit of a struggle and she came into the stadium looking quite distressed and in a lot of pain. Showing typical British grit, sorry Team British grit, she made it to the line with the frustration and disappointment etched on her face. It was as if she had been told Leeds United had lost yesterday, such was the evident dispair !!
She hugged one of her fellow Team Brit runners, one who had fallen during the race and was covered with bruises and had a suspected broken rib. What a sight for the cameras. What guts. What pure Olympic spirit. What the fuck is that mic doing there ? Oh my God the BBC are straight in there asking inane questions of a woman who has given her all and clearly is so emotional that she can't put two words together.
We might as well have tried to listen to Amy Whitehouse or either Gallagher brother. It was incomprehensible. A hand went out from the interviewer to console her. Sod that, pal.
"Take the bloody mic away and leave her alone, you ass-hoooooole" I suggested to my tv set.
What next ? Will John Inverdale and Steve Redgrave climb into the boats to interview the rowers over the last 100 metres ? You can just imagine a GB (or TB) press launch gliding up and those two boarding the coxless fours (what is this, the Eunuch Olympics ??) complete with mic and camera crew.
"Shove over lads. Now then, what's it like to be leading at this stage ? Oh you're 2nd now.....hang on, 3rd. Ok what was it like to come last lads ?"
We're in an age of instant reactions and super slo-mo action replays on tv. The viewers, that's you and me, appear to want to see things over and over again - often missing something more exciting while watching the replay. Then we get a replay of what we missed and again risk missing somet.......well you get the point. They can position cameras everywhere to give us all possible viewing points. They're up in blimps and remote controlled balloons. They're on top of helmets. Inside and all over the outsides of race cars. On top of football crossbars and underwater in swimming pools. They're even inside tennis balls. Oh no that was Bee Movie !!
All this I can appreciate and actually like as it gets us more involved in the sport. But these instant and inane interviews get me going. What can someone possibly say of any interest when asked what it feels like to come 1st or 2nd or umpteenth ? I mean dismissing the fact that they are knackered and incoherent (and if a boxer, this incoherence comes BEFORE the fight), they are either so eleated at winning that they are crying or they are so pissed off by losing that they're crying. And what can they say anyway ?
"Well Gary/John/Steve/Brendan, I'm, pant, so, gasp, wheeze, cough, just so, puff, puff, gasp, happy to be, wheeze, here today and I'd, puff, puff, like to thank my.............."
"Ok sorry we have to leave it there and return you to Sue in the studio as Team Britain are going for 23rd place in the beach volleyball. As you know this would be our highest ever position as, of course, although being an island race, we only have 2 clean beaches to train on"
So BBC, save us a bucket load of licence money and recall all the interviewers. Keep the comentators as I've tried watching sports without them and it just doesn't work. But the interviewers are just on a foreigh jolly and we don't need them.
Strap a camera and mic to all 311 Team GB athletes and we can hear them whenever we want. And more to the point, when THEY want. Let us call them up on Skype or something so we can talk to them after every event too. That's the way forward.
And it's not just the Olympics. Oh don't get me going on footy interviewers.