Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Games’

Inverdale

For the second Olympics in a row, the BBC have once again excelled in their coverage of the grandest sporting event, with their work in Rio de Janeiro largely being spot on.

Following on from the sterling effort produced in London four years previously, BBC are bouncing back from a number of years that questioned why they should be automatically gifted top sporting events, given their sub-standard coverage compared to other channels who had raised the bar.

Having promoted Clare Balding to lead anchor for the home games, things have improved immeasurably, but there still have been little bits for people to complain about. From the length of Helen Skelton’s dress to Chris Boardman’s rather innocent ‘sexist’ remark, there has been the odd minor slip-up – barring one clear blight to their coverage.

 

John Inverdale has long been at the forefront of anything BBC have done in terms of sporting coverage, with the exception of football, which has always had its own specialists dedicated to it.

Just four years ago, he produced one of those iconic moments of London 2012, sitting down and sobbing alongside Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase after the pair came in to claim silver in the lightweight double sculls in the rowing. It was a beautiful moment that encapsulated the mood of a nation that had completely taken the Olympics to heart and was so emotionally invested in the success of their own athletes.

It has proved to be something of a zenith in his career however, with the BBC’s consistently improving standards to match the world’s quickly modernised views leaving him solidly behind.

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Inverdale’s interview with Hunter & Purchase was a heart-warming moment from London 2012

This is no personal attack on Inverdale. He comes across as a well-meaning bloke, there’s no real malice in him, despite reminding me of Mark Lawrenson at times. But quite frankly he is an out-dated dinosaur in the world of modern broadcasting, seemingly kept along for sentimental value only to good old Auntie.

The flagrant chauvinism does rankle in a modern world where women are more than simply household objects, and should be judged on ability first, with so much time and effort having gone into becoming a superstar on the Olympic stage.

He has already been dropped from Wimbledon duties after claiming Marion Bartoli was ‘not a looker’. Sure, it’s something many of us men will have done while watching the tennis (because women love Rafa Nadal for his double-handed backhand, or David Beckham for his crossing ability!), but the difference there being we have not done so while in a professional capacity, live on national television. There’s a big bloody difference there.

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Inverdale’s comments on Bartoli saw him dropped from BBC’s Wimbledon coverage

His latest faux pas this summer seems worse however, being corrected by a clearly irked Andy Murray that he was not in fact the first tennis player to win consecutive gold medals at the Olympics, with both Williams sisters having already accomplished this feat.

This might have been a reasonable mistake had this been achieved 30 years ago, if still unexpected of a true professional. However this was so very recent, that this year had the big shock of seeing the Williams’ lose their first ever doubles match at the Olympic Games, as well as an unusual early defeat for Serena in the singles.

The comments of Bartoli’s appearance were one thing. This suggests he does not see women as equals in the sporting arena, that their achievements are not worth the same merit as the ‘real athletes’ and simply puts female sports on an inferior level, despite all the work by people to reach a standing of respect around the world.

 

Add in his comments on the riverbanks which once again went to the tired old joke of the Germans being the old enemy and you have a man who is so behind the times, he has no business representing our media on this great sporting spectacle. World War Two ended over 70 years ago now. Let’s move on shall we? Unless there is a bigger rivalry between Britain and Germany within the rowing community a casual observer like myself isn’t aware of?

This is not a case of political correctness for the sake of it. It goes far deeper than poorly-chosen jokes that could be deemed offensive and would usually be completed with a “no offense luv,” upon its delivery at some form of social gathering.

It might not be intentionally meant as an insult, in the same way that your grandparents might use phrases frowned upon in modern society now to refer to black people, with it having been a common term in their day. Regardless of whether it is said with malice, it doesn’t make it any less cringe-worthy. Especially when, as stated earlier, you are on national television with a microphone in your hand!

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Should Laura Trott’s achievements be respected any less than any male Olympian?

John Inverdale has shown constant disregard for women’s sport in general, seems to hold a genuine belief that it is inferior to others and will never change in that respect. How he can stand there and not feel that Laura Trott, Helen Glover or Sophie Hitchon have put in the same amount of time, effort, blood sweat and tears in as their male counterparts?

They have made the same sacrifices and every female Olympian out there deserves their respect for their endeavours. Given BBC’s array of up-and-coming bright and modernised presenters, commentators  and journalists, there is no reason for them to continue with Inverdale outside of perhaps the rugby.

You can’t teach an old dog to respect gender equality. Shooting him would be too far (he’s not Richard Keys bad after all), but it’s definitely time to severely restrict his duties. His purpose is run; bring on the new, hungrier and modern-minded batch of reporters.

 

Want further reading on Inverdale? These are both well worth a read:-

Daily Telegraph – Why does everyone hate John Inverdale?

Vice.com – What it means to be John Inverdale 

 

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