Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Billy on the Box: They think it’s all over... and at long, long last it finally is

Mo Farah may have won a double gold but that doesn't spare you from being attacked by a dubiously shaped mascot

So that's that then, all done and dusted for another four years and the next we hear of Greco-Roman wrestling, modern pentathlon and dressage will be in Rio.

It also means that telly returns to some degree of normality, the news will feature news again and the Royal Family can return to doing whatever it is they actually do.

But all in all it was a couple of weeks to remember for the BBC and showed, in the main, that when they try and, more importantly, spend a bit of the cash we give them on sport, that they can still cut the mustard.

Here then are the highlights, those who were the Usain Bolts and those who were the Phillips Odowus.

The found out big time medal: Gary Lineker — Thankfully the football season is upon us so he can return to his sofa in Salford along with the Alans. More out his depth than a Nigerian rower, there were many embarrassments but his ‘one of the blue riband events' was a personal favourite. The only time blue riband should be used as a plural is in a packet of biscuits.

The please leave me alone medal: Rob Walker, aka the mouth of snooker, was the natural choice to cover the sailing but had his rigging cut from under him in fine style by Ben Ainslie. “You are the greatest Olympic sailor in history — how does that feel?” said an ecstatic Walker to a resounding ‘yeah.'

The nobody really noticed medal: For Eurosport who covered the games from day one — although nobody really noticed.

The nod and a wink medal: A number of contenders here but basically if anyone young from China, eastern Europe or Africa did something out of the ordinary then eyebrows were raised, unless they trained in Britain and then it was grand.

The you cannot be serious medal: For Gabby Logan. There could be many reasons, her flirting on the sofa, her range of looks from vamp to Cruella de Vil, but the look on John McEnroe’s face when he was asked to join in on the embarrassing ritual of putting faces on giant medals ...

The silver lining medal: Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk who was stripped of gold after a positive drugs test. However, she will play in the Premier League darts next season, so it’s not all bad. Colin Lloyd is not so happy as he’s heading to Minsk to start training for 2016.

The stands out a mile medal: For Eddie Butler, for his wonderful stint at the archery and once that was over his voiceovers on some great clips and then bringing down the curtain on proceedings with the fantastic A Golden Game.

The coming into his own medal: Steve Cram for finally becoming less of a former athlete and more of a commentator.

The Blue Peter badge: Matt Baker was a contender for ‘everyone in pubs across Britain will be talking about gymnastics’ but Helen Skelton’s ‘only one word can describe what’s happened here – absolute carnage’ will never be surpassed. Stick to the sticky-back plastic.

The second Blue Peter badge: Well done to Gabby Logan and the BBC for recycling the old Blue Peter Appealometer in the clever design of Big Ben. Not only did it show just how many medals GB had won, a family for four in Stratford now have an artesian well, three goats and a Bob Geldof LP.

The from the frying pan into the fire medal: Every night we had our hopes built up when Sue Barker finished her stint only for that initial euphoria to disappear quicker than Chris Hoy on a motorbike when she handed over to Gary Lineker? A bit like waiting for Billy Connolly to turn up and finding that Joe Pasquale makes way for Duncan Norvelle.

The how did that happen medal: Trevor Nelson, after an horrific performance on the opening ceremony that even surpassed Paul McCartney, he somehow made a return for the closing one too.

The wasted medal: Hazel Irvine, one of the Beeb’s best, stuck on Olympic breakfast, while we had to endure Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Gabby Logan at night.

The slightly dubious medal: The pointless Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, who looked like two items from page 158 of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The ripping the backside out of it medal: You can get too much of a good thing and while the coverage was great was there really any need for two highlights programmes, one after another, each night other than to give Gabby and Dan Walker something to do.

The ‘oh aye, remember them?’ medal: A pub quiz question for years to come, who won the first gold. Nope, it wasn’t Bradley Wiggins, his came a couple of hours after Heather Stanning and Helen Glover but just like Greg Rutherford, no-one will ever remember that.

The sure isn’t it grand medal: Goes to RTE’s Jimmy Magee for his commentaries on Katie Taylor’s scuffles summed up ‘she’s on the platform of the Dart on her way home to Bray with a medal.’ A braver girl than I.

The on your bike medal: The cycling, indoors and out, was sensational and helped in no small part by Hugh Porter’s infectious enthusiasm tempered with Chris Boardman’s calm realism.

The what kept you medal: John Inverdale marooned at Eton Dorney for the rowing before replacing the woeful Jonathan Edwards at the athletics. I’d rather listen to Jedward.

The you shouldn’t be here medal: Well done Andy Murray, but tennis is and never will be a sport that should be in the Olympics. See also football, basketball, dressage and synchronised swimming And nor is golf, unless, of course, Rory or GMac win in Brazil.

The star of the show medal: On the track it was Usain Bolt, take off the red, white and blue specs, it just was. Elsewhere, Michael Phelps was outshone by just one person by the pool, Bert Le Clos, father of Chad and his interview with Clare Balding was the stuff of legend. On the track, it’s bye-bye to several, but as annoying as Victoria Pendleton is, Laura Trott has potential to be a right pain in the saddle.

The please make it stop medal: As much as I enjoy watching Denise Lewis bouncing up and down in a tight frock, we do not need to see her embarrassing celebrations to Mo Farah winning. His wife may be having twins, Denise was having kittens. Nor do we need to see or hear Colin Jackson again please.

The it’ll not be long coming round medal: The whiff of horse dung still hangs in the air around Greenwich Park, the sweaty flip-flops are still being found in the sand at Horse Guards Parade and the Spice Girls are being sent back to the residential home, but give it a few months and all talk will be of Rio. Duran Duran must surely be a cert for the opening ceremony.

The former Africans beating Africans over long distances medal: Our Mo (GB via Somalia) holding off an Azerbaijani Ethiopian an American Sudanese and the rest of continental Africa, who haven't signed up for someone else yet. A British man hasn't been chased by so many Africans since the runway scene in The Wild Geese. Thankfully he didn't turn round and shoot Richard Harris, although the chances of an Irishman being in a track and field final were slim.

The final lack of words: Our Mo rendering parts of the BBC into gibbering wrecks or blubbing fools. The place erupts, he's a double Olympic champion. My words cannot do justice to how I feel,” said Cram.

Handy that when you're a commentator.

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