BBC under fire for being mean to minor Olympic medallists

Aug 3, 2012

Beeb accused of focusing on gold, as NBC admits some criticism of US coverage is fair

IT SEEMS the BBC can do nothing right. After being accused of overlooking British failures at the Olympics and being too positive early in the Games, now the medals have started coming in the BBC is under fire for being too downbeat.

John Inverdale and Chris Hollins have been criticised for commiserating with medallists who failed to secure gold, rather than congratulating them for winning a medal at all.

According to The Daily Telegraph: "Viewers have condemned some broadcasters for focusing on gold medals to the detriment of everything else, criticising them for making medal winners 'feel bad about their achievements'."

Among the critics was BBC Radio 4 newsreader Corrie Corfield, who took Inverdale to task for expressing sympathy for the men's lightweight four rowing team after they won silver. "Don't sound so bloomin' miserable," she wrote.

She later added: "Quite irritated by this 'how do you feel about silver rather than gold' interviewing style. Should be accentuating the positive."

The BBC claimed Inverdale acknowledged their achievement and "was sympathising with what the crew said, which was that they had fallen short of the goal they had set themselves".

Earlier in the week BBC Breakfast sports presenter Hollins angered Twitter when he said Lizzie Armitstead had "sadly" won silver in the women's cycling road race. He was also pulled up by co-presenter Sian Lloyd, who exclaimed: "Sadly? It's a silver!"

Meanwhile in the US NBC, which has been subjected to a Twitter campaign by American viewers angry at its policy of showing events 'as live' hours after they have taken place, has admitted that some of the criticism is "fair".

On Thursday the US network dropped its online paywall for the swimming finals allowing non subscribers to log on to watch the showdown between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps live on the internet.

NBC defended its coverage and claimed most of the complaints had come from a "very loud minority". However, it said it was "listening" to viewers.

According to The Guardian: "NBC is mulling new ways of offering coverage for future Olympics, including an online-only streaming package available to non-cable subscribers. For the London games, viewers have needed to have an existing cable subscription to watch events live on the internet."

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Re only celebrating gold, particularly strange when yesterday BBC World News had a piece on decrying how in China they were only focussed on gold, and how anything less was a failure??? and the beeb were making the point that such a winner takes all attitude was damaging to the individual and to the national psyche??