Leigh, Warwood and Fuller, Sochi 2014 Gold for commentary

Both myself and Mandy watched the Sochi 2014 Women’s Slopestyle on Sunday and spent the rest of the day walking round the house shouting phrases picked up from the excitable commentary team of Ed Leigh, Tim Warwood and Aimee Fuller.

“Whop-a-tron!” seemed to be the favourite with “Smack it down!” coming a close second.

Yes I resembled  my old man trying to be cool, but I’m into the Olympics and I don’t care if I do sound like Bill & Ted, at least in the privacy of my own home. (Aimee fuller wasn’t even born when Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was made!).

warwood_leigh_fuller
Ed Leigh (left), Tim Warwood and Aimee Fuller. Warm, funny and passionate.

I’ve never been shy of criticising the BBC’s mindless output of childish middle class comedies, however they usually get it right when it comes to sporting events and this is definitely the case with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The coverage is engaging, informative and looks absolutely stunning in High Definition. Finish things off with the national treasure that is Clare Balding and you have an absorbing and addictive experience. Great work BBC.

However, It didn’t take long for the slightly unorthodox freestyle sports commentary to draw criticism from the usual sources of self importance and conservatism.

Take a quick look at some of the moaning Twitter users and the pattern of sneering boredom starts to emerge, angry posts about what somebody else might be getting for free accompanied by inane updates about what to have for breakfast or whether to have the roof down on the “New BMW”.

Who are these people?

Hardly surprising that the Daily Mail also weighed in given that it was the BBC that may have done something slightly different than in 1972. Yes, the Daily Mail, a grotty tabloid for the elderly or the badly dressed new money, what a shit rag, and an ugly one at that (Don’t get me started on Mumsnet – yes there is life beyond your children!).

Compare the excitement of the commentary on offer this winter to that of the London 2012 Olympics, which centred around the usual straight laced, tedious and immodest studio scenario. This was reflected in the athletes on the field where glaring arrogance and stupid earings seemed to be the order of the day.

By comparison everyone on the snow seems to be best buddies, congratulating each other even after losing out on a medal place – note Julia Mancuso’s absolute delight at winning a Bronze medal, or Chemmy Alcott’s beaming smile after finishing 19th – the game for the games sake seems to be back in fashion, at last.

I also think it’s admirable that Ed Leigh loses his composure, he’s always been passionate about snowboarding and his partnership with Graham Bell demonstrates not only their dedication to the winter sports in general but also their warmth and accessibility as people, let’s have more of this and less of the unbearable studio banter that gets served up on Match of the Day

So Aimee Fuller got it a bit wrong by going mental when she realised her friend had just won an Olympic medal at another competitors expense, but give the girl a break, it was barely her first day on the job, a quick quote here from blogger Hannah Swithinbank:

It was a delight to have Aimee Fuller in the commentary box, cheering on all of her peers, regardless of their nationality. I never for one moment thought that she or the commentators were cheering falls, so much as gasping and emotionally riding along with the boarders.

Aimee Fuller is young, talented and sat in that commentary chair with consummate ease, it’s little wonder that she’s attracted so much vitriol.

Can’t wait to hear more from @SnowEdLeigh, @Tim_Warwood and @aimee_fuller in the future. Funny, knowledgeable and passionate, traits we should all aspire to.