Belfast Telegraph

Old athletes never Dai, they just go to work at the BBC

By Billy Weir

Jonathan Edwards was formerly a fully paid-up member of the 'never on a Sunday' brigade but a leap of faith by the legendary triple jumper means that he now broadcasts at all times.

Sadly this includes Saturdays as while he may have been a star in the sandpit, as a presenter he still has some way to jump, as evidenced once again as the BBC leapt to Glasgow for the sensibly Indoor Grand Prix.

We cut to Edwards, thankfully no relation to Peter, for his pants remained a mystery which is probably a wise decision on a typically dreich Scottish day in February, as he braved the outdoors to tell us that "from the Clyde to the Copacabana, 2016 is all about Olympic dreams".

The dream for the viewer is that the Beeb would stop making their athletics coverage a retirement home for former stars. On Saturday alone, joining Edwards was Denise Lewis, Paula Radcliffe, Steve Backley, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram while there was room for a new boy in the shape of Dai Greene.

He is still competing but was wheeled in to provide analysis as the obligatory huge TV was wheeled out, before other things were ticked off the BBC checklist - Tweets, mention of a red button forum, plug for more programmes. In the good old days, David Coleman and Ron Pickering used to commentate and that sufficed.

"We have a Tweet from Martin Rooney, the British team captain, who says 'Dai is a beautiful man with a shapely beard'," Edwards told us as we joined 'Dai at the Greene screen'. You just can't imagine Coleman doing that.

Andrew Cotter was the only non-athlete on duty, though I am informed he ran for a bus once so that's okay. Between the action, which was far from exceptional, Edwards (left) had time to fill.

"Now for Adam Gemili, we put him down the barrel of our Q and A gun," he told us, as the British sprinter dealt with some tough questions, including 'what shape is athletics in?'

"I believe it is in a good place," came the response, as everyone else longed for more news of Greene's beard which was marginally less hair-raising than this answer.

Let's face it, athletics is murkier than a scuba dive in the Clyde and while Cotter may muse that "Rio are the three letters on all athletes minds" let's be honest, it's EPO that Seb Coe and co should be more concerned about.

Still, as long as we have news of beards and a red button, we can rest easily that former athletes are only a hop, skip or a jump away from a safe future at the Beeb. Just don't ask any awkward questions.

Belfast Telegraph


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