I am a big fan of the Commonwealth Games. Known as the friendly games of course it feels to me like the Olympics used to be and are all the better for that. There are still amateurs competing, the chance of the postman to represent his or her country with pride. Real people doing remarkable things. A chance for the small nations to shine, a chance for the minor less glamorous sports to raise their profile and demonstrate the skills and dedication they also require. For me the Olympics has become a rather ghastly vehicle for commercialism, cynical professionalism, and the power of money to dominate.
But....the Beeb seem to have lost faith in the Commonwealth Games, or to be more to the point lost the art and point of sports broadcasting. Not only is the coverage very poor generally, there is far too much emphasis on the professional “glamorous” sports and they spend more time doing fancy inserts than showing us the action. Maybe they need to justify having that mumbling American Michael Johnson as a a host – a man so good he cant get a job in his own country. Lets take last nights highlights programme as an example. One hour long to cover a busy day at the games. You would expect lots of variety covered, lots of time trying to cover the remarkable achievements of the ordinary men and women who represent the home nations and pay that licence fee.
What do the Beeb do – well they spend 15 minutes – so a quarter of the time talking about an Australian sprinter who won an event that lasted less than 15 seconds. They even showed the Australian TV trailer for the event! So on it went on more athletics for half an hour. Now had none of the home nations done much that day then okay fill the time, but to be honest there was plenty going on. Lets not forget for example two golds – one for England one for Scotland. Oh but I forgot, they were amateurs, probably taking unpaid leave from their jobs to compete in sports that they really do have to sacrifice things for – not the “sacrifice” the lottery funded professional speak so glibly of. So did these champions get mentioned – oh maybe one minutes coverage between them. And for why – well they were in Bowls and shooting – clealry not sexy enough for the shallow Beeb. Shame on the beeb, and shame on us for not melting their phone lines in complaint.