Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the box: Saturday night is not alright for diving

By Billy Weir

You can only imagine the scenes in Rio as the BBC cleared their schedules on Saturday night to cheer Tom Daley on to gold in the Men's 10m platform diving finale.

The only thing is, no one explained that to Tom and it was perhaps justice that a man who was responsible for ruining so many Saturday evenings on Splash! got a quare dunk when he didn't make the final.

This meant Clare Balding greeting us with the sort of expression normally reserved for breaking the news of the loss of a favourite pet or that your red button had worn off after so much use in the previous three weeks.

"It is a day, in terms of British sport, that we reflect upon with some sadness," she began, and we would have taken her a little more seriously if she hadn't been struggling to make herself heard above the din of those magnificent Brazilian men in their flying machines.

To give them their correct title they are the Esquadrilha da Fumaça, their equivalent of the Red Arrows. This translates as the Smoke Squadron, and it was hard not to laugh with the sound of them whistling groundwards as Daley crashed and burned with his final dive.

"He needed 100 points but it wasn't to be, his landing just off there," said a concerned Clare. Just off? The plane would have made less of a splash had it nosedived into the pool, but there were other Brits making waves elsewhere.

Nicola Adams was going for her second successive gold in boxing and after a tussle with a French woman she came out on top, sending wonderfully bizarre commentator Ronald McIntosh into a bit of a verbal tailspin.

"She joins an exclusive club reserved for boxers with impeccable Olympic credentials, a fantastic performance to etch her name more indelibly into the annals of British Olympic boxing history," he said, as we wondered how tough is harder than indelible.

I'd give her another medal just in case, which would be great news for Clare who was fast becoming the BBC's answer to Muttley as if I heard her say "let's have a look at the medal table" one more time I don't think I would be responsible for my dastardly actions.

I can only imagine her first port of call after arriving home from Rio will be to Ikea (other furniture shops are available) after ripping out the breakfast bar and demanding a medal table be put in its place. Best get one with an indelible top.

Thankfully we did get a wee bit of the diving, to fill a bit of time before we broke off for the Taekwondo, and it was worth it just to hear possibly five minutes of TV gold - Clare can tell us where that goes on the table.

"Such a quick twister, even in slow motion he looked like he was twisting around like a tornado," said Leon Taylor of Russian competitor Viktor Minbaev and thankfully it was after 9.00pm for what followed.

"And he's losing his Speedos there as he goes into the water, that says to me over-rotation and he hasn't done his drawstrings properly - keep your pants on, Viktor," he said, but that was merely the hors d'oeuvre for China's Qiu Bo's wonderful effort.

"That is Yoda-like, he seemed to levitate. He's not much taller than Yoda either, he's not green and that's one of the few differences. He has super powers, Jedi powers, he will need them to catch up," he added, but we soon left the pool and never found out if he did, although it was nice to get an explanation as to why the pool turned green.

Much later it was time for the main course, as Mo-time was upon us at 1.30am, Mr Farah going for his second gold in Rio and fourth in total, which sent Gabby Logan into a gibbering wreck.

"I don't know about you, in London we didn't necessarily expect, we hoped, we came here and we start to expect but I'm just so nervous, because this feels we're at the precipice of incredible greatness and, err you know, historical landmark," she said, starting strongly but finishing a bit like Tom.

No such problems for Mo, jogging towards greatness for 4,800m and then sprinting to glory over the last 200 to do the 'double double' and send Steve Cram a bit funny.

"He's the puppet master and nobody's worked out how to cut his strings," he said, and clearly they have heeded the warning we all got as a child of not running with scissors but no one was going to cut off Brendan Foster.

"He is the greatest athlete we've ever had, in my view he's the greatest sportsman Britain has ever had and at the end of the year there will be honours handed out and let's be honest Mo Farah for services to athletics deserves to be Sir Mohamed Farah, arise Sir Mo," he hinted.

I doubt it, I mean Stephen Hendry won seven World titles and he only has an MBE, so Mo has a bit to go yet, but at least he has four medals - if only he had somewhere to keep them. Hang on, I know a woman with a table…

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: Nice to see Northern Ireland’s own Paul Gilmour adding to the local voices and getting a regular stint as a presenter on Sky Sports News after his days as a roving reporter. And I have to say, as lovely as he looks, thankfully they haven’t made him wear a frock with the sleeves cut off it just yet.

The bad: Yes I know the Olympics were on and the football season is back in full swing but the coverage Cal Crutchlow got for being the first British rider since the late, great Barry Sheene to win a race at the top level of motorcycling was shocking. At least BT Sport was in the Czech Republic, as Cal explained his risky race strategy. “I took the gamble, I don’t know why anyone else didn’t, they’re all wimps,” he said, winning races but not necessarily influencing people. Legend.

The ugly: I have many guilty pleasures, Great British Bake Off being just one, but try as I might I am still more a KFC than a UFC man, even when Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz put on one of the greatest fights ever on BT Sport. More a great Irish nearly knocked his bake off but I’m still not convinced.

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