BBC BLOGS - Roger Mosey

Archives for August 2010

Medalling in the language of sports journalism

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Roger Mosey | 09:56 UK time, Thursday, 26 August 2010

Here's a sentence you could well hear in the run-up to London 2012:

"Smith is certain to medal after he top-scored in the first round."

But it's the kind of use of language that prompted a letter this week from a former BBC News reporter Michael Cole, whose plea is a simple one. Sport, he writes, shouldn't give anyone "a licence to inflict cruelty upon the English language"; and if we maintain standards then "the enjoyment of the Olympics will be enhanced for millions of people."

Michael cites a couple of examples of what he dislikes:

"Is Radcliffe going to medal?" is, in his view, "not only tortuous but it sounds as if it might be rude".

And the use of "lap" inappropriately in swimming amounts to "slavish copying of ignorant American terminology. Swimmers swim lengths, not laps. Anyone speaking of 'laps' in the swimming pool should have his or her microphone confiscated."

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Preserving Olympic ideals in a commercial world

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Roger Mosey | 14:56 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

There was a bit of a discussion on my last post with a contributor called Einveldi, who wrote "I couldn't care less" about the Olympics - and then expanded as follows:

"The Olympic spirit no longer exists, it's been completely replaced by a relentless hunger to make the Games as much of a money-spinner as possible; for the contestants, for the organisers, and especially for the corporate sponsors."

It is a perfectly legitimate view, which is why I said I'd return to it. The sponsor point is particularly alive since the International Olympic Committee have just added to their global roster and Locog's list is growing, too. So here goes.

There's no doubt that the modern Olympic Games are a mix of high ideals with big business. It would be crackers to pretend otherwise. But the issue for the Olympic movement in general - and for London 2012 as next in line - is how those forces are balanced.

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