I heard a fantastically fatuous piece of commentary on the BBC red button this morning while watching (what turned out to be) the women's skeleton gold medallist, Great Britain's Amy Williams, hurtling down the course on a glorified tea tray at about ten thousand miles an hour.
Now, I don't know what the commentator's name was, but - perhaps understandably over-excited at the prospect of GB winning their first Winter Olympic solo gold medal since Robert Falcon Scott walked off with the cross country skiing gong in 1912 - he blurted the following, Alan Partridge-esque sentences out:
"She can afford a couple of bumps now. What she can't afford is to come off her sled."
Oh, really? I'd assumed that, had she come a cropper while effectively sliding along a frozen rollercoaster at a recklessly high velocity, she'd have immediately sprung back up, dusted herself off and leapt back on the sled, from where she'd have surely sped to the fastest time and the accompanying gold medal despite the minor inconvenience of having just been rushed to the nearest emergency ward.
Then I turned over and found Steve Cram commentating on the women's curling.
Which does all rather leave one with the nagging suspicion that we possibly don't have a plethora of expert commentators on winter sports here in the UK. Who'd've thunk it?
Anyway, this is all forcing me to reassess my views on commentators of other televised sports, who I've often been critical of in the past (albeit possibly not on this blog - or have I? It's so hard to remember). I can't imagine ITV's Peter Drury or the BBC's Tony Gubba, for example, coming out with a statement as crushingly pointless and banal as this:
"Arsenal are leading by two goals here in the Champions' League final and are cruising to victory over Real Madrid. But the last thing they need now is to concede eleven or twelve goals themselves."
Or for an athletics commentator (tries desperately to think of an athletics commentator that's not Ron Pickering or David Coleman... Steve Cram!) to spout forth the following:
"What a run from Paula Radcliffe in the marathon - she's leading by a country mile! But with just eight hundred metres left to go in the race, the last thing she needs is to stop running, squat down next to the pavement and have a dump."
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