Steve Cram: Olympic facts

London 2012 presented BBC broadcasters with a punishing schedule. BBC TV’s Steve Cram explains what it took to bring the games to the nation and to keep audiences up to date with the facts.

The London 2012 Olympics showcased not just some of the greatest sportsmen and women from around the world, but also the best in broadcasting and creative talent from the BBC.

From the dramatic opening ceremony to the thrills of 'Super Saturday', the BBC’s coverage was widely praised around the world, and we have brought together our own highlights in our new collection of case study films, taking a detailed look at how the Olympics were brought to you, from build-up to broadcast.

For BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram, having the right information at the right time is the key to successful sports broadcasting, particularly in athletics. Commentators are expected to have every statistic at their fingertips, reacting to events in front of them while keeping the audience constantly updated on performances on track or field. 

"Double sessions, mornings and evenings, lots of drama, lots of controversy, and you can’t script anything."  – Steve Cram

“It’s a very statistical sport and you can have all that at your fingertips,” he says, “but what brings it alive is knowing things about them.”

Commentators need to be able to adapt as quickly as the situation unfolding in front of them. “It’s quite a daunting thing for any commentator at the Olympics,” says Steve. “What you’re hoping though is that you’ve arrived with all the intelligence right.”

This means knowing what to say and, more importantly, what not to give away, as Steve reveals that sometimes commentators know a lot more than they tell us on air.

 

Note: All London 2012 Olympics content contained within bbc.co.uk/collegeofproduction is for original purpose only and under rights agreement is forbidden to be used or sub-licensed elsewhere.