Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cheating Isn't Cheating When the British Do It

The British love to paint the Americans as sore losers and whingers, but BBC's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics proves that their sports coverage is just as puerile, dire and unprofessional as any political cable news broadcast in the United States. In fact, some of the BBC's commentators give Alex Wagner gravitas.

Early last week, the venerable BBC was all over U S swimming director John Leonard's suspicions surrounding Ye Shiwen's gold medal in the pool. Typical American whingeing, they said.

Then when Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian athletes were thrown out of the competition, literally, due to match fixing in the table tennis competition, the BBC and the British assumed the moral high ground, tut-tutting about such rabid and unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Cheating is something the British would never consider doing.

Or would they?

Their championship Tour de France team, which doubled as part of the Olympic cycling team, boasted a chappie called David Millar, who was banned from professional cycling for two years in 2004 after admitting usage of performance-enhancing drugs.

Competing in tonight's track-and-field competition, Team GB includes two well-known drug cheats, one of whom is the current Olympic champion in her event, Christine Ohurugu and Dwain Chambers.

Were these two Americans, the BBC and their venerated, albeit ungrammatical, team of expert commentators would be all over any sort of American involvement like a bad rash; but since Ohurugu, Millar and Chambers are British, it's simply "hard cheese, old chap; that's the way the cookie crumbles, pip-pip, cheerio and all that."

And then there's this little admission from a member of Team GB's Gold medal, world record cycling team, made just minutes after breaking the world record and winning gold:-

You heard right. The fellow speaking, Philip Hindes, actually does admit that the team had decided beforehand that, if they got a bad start, they'd crash, effectively forcing a restart. It was deliberately planned. Gamesmanship. Cheating, in other words. The interviewer deliberately gives Hindes the opportunity to say he was only joking, but Hindes is incapable of even understanding the hinted jeu de mot ... because Hindes is what's known as a "plastic Brit."

Hindes, as you may assess from his accent, is German, the progeny of a British squaddie and a local German girl from Krefeld. His parents separated, and he was raised in Deutschland. He didn't come to Britain until two years ago, after having competed as a junior for Germany. His English is good enough to know what he's saying, but he's German enough not to understand satire. (And the Brits are always so condescending to the Americans on that accord.)

Now, look at Hindes's teammates standing behind him. The chappie on the extreme left is the reason why everyone on the British Olympic committee is bricking it to the nearest toilet and praying (if not bribing) the French, who bagged silver, not to complain. The chappie on the left is none other than Sir Chris Hoy, flag-bearer, multi-Olympic medalist and knight of the realm. Well, a knight would never cheat, would he?

Answer? Ask King Arthur about his wife and Sir Launcelot.

The admission by Hindes that he cheated (implying that his teammates were complicent) meant some quick thinking was in order for the British Olympic committe and the BBC, justifying the win. So they came up with this little chestnut: English wasn't Hindes's first language, so he didn't really understand what was being asked him. 

So they hastily put that story together, including the extra bit about Philip only recently having learned English, and plopped the kid onto a seat for an extra interview, just so he could make sure everyone understood that he really hadn't said what he'd said before (which was the truth); instead, what he was saying now - that the crash wasn't deliberate - was actually what happened.

Note, also, that Hindes's German accent in the "correction" statement is noticeably thicker than in the moments after which he won the tainted gold.

I don't know what makes me angrier - this manipulation of rules on the part of the host country or the fact that Galen Rupp, a US distance runner, ran as a team alongside the Brit, Mo Farah, in last night's 10,000 km race, solely for the purpose of letting Farah win gold. Rupp was content with a silver.

And rounding off today's events, was a smug comment made by BBC Radio 5's cretinous commentator Colin Murray about NBC's website. Murray was positively indignant that NBC led with headlines about Michael Phelps's achievement and only as a secondary headline, tipped its hat to Team GB's achievements.

I can tell you, that if these Games were Stateside, we would have got none of that from the BBC, who led the chorus of boos and drugs speculation when 15 year-old Katie Ledecky beat British favourite, Rebecca Adlington, causing Adlington, ten years Ledecky's senior, to cry. The BBC had a hard time swallowing the ego-sized lump in their throats to even acknowledge Michael Phelps, once he started winning again.

I think it's time someone reminded Britain that we are no longer a colony. Someone should certainly remind Galen Rupp of that fact.

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