We haven't mention her once ...

Sport I know I've been moaning about my late shift at work this week, but if I hadn't been around at home this morning I would have missed one of my favourite Olympics moments this time, Austria's Kate Allen winning the Triathlon. It surprised everyone, least of all the BBC commentators who had spent the best part of two and a half hours talking about the greatness of Australian athlete Loretta Harrop, everything she was doing for the sport and how there was no one to beat her. Sampled dialogue included (I'm paraphrasing):
"Well Harrop is getting closer and closer -- she can taste the Gold medal. She's licking her lips."
"I think the Australian athlete has this one in the bag unless something extraordinary happens."
"Who's that? Where did she come from?"
"She's in silver medal position. Well that's an upset."
"Look at the split times. She picked up 3 minutes. That's incredible!"
"We haven't mentioned her once during the race."

A glance at the results demonstrates what Allen achieved today. After the swimming she was in 44th position. After the cycling and sticking with the large chasing pack she was in 10th place and then in the run she worked her way up through all the gaps into a gold medal. We shouldn't forget also that Michelle Dillon from Team GB chased her all the way and ended up with a respectable sixth place.

Which highlight the most disappointing aspect of the coverage of long distance races in general. For whatever reason, the directors of the images concentrate on the athletes in the main positions when the real stories are being told in the lower places. Something similar happened during the women's marathon at the weekend. After following Mizuki Noguchi and the rest of the opening pack for the whole race, they completely failed to cover the work being done by the American Deena Kastor, who like Kate Allen worked her way up the field picking them off one by one -- I would rather been watching that in the closing stages than endless shots of Noguchi in the lead just as here there was only so much Harrop, extraordinary looking as she is. As far as we know, in what has been one of the most widely cover Olympics in television terms there isn't any footage of her fighting her way into the top spot, of one of the really great stories of these games and all because someone wasn't watching the stastics which were pouring in and sending someone out to cover it. Madness. Still, I'll be watching the Men's Triathlon tomorrow and hoping for the best.

UPDATE: I've just watched a highlights package on Olympic Report tonight and it had a wierd retrospective commentary in which the narrator pretended he hadn't seen the race before and pretended to be surprised when Allen took over and snuck in all kinds of information he didn't have, or didn't have time for the first time around. Most odd.

No comments:

Post a comment