Entertainment & Arts

Olympic snowboarding commentary draws complaints

More than 300 people complained to the BBC over the quality of commentary during the snowboarding slopestyle final at the Winter Olympics.

Jenny Jones won Great Britain's first Olympic medal on the snow at the event in Sochi on Sunday, taking a bronze.

Friend and fellow British snowboarder Aimee Fuller joined Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood in the commentary box.

Viewers complained that they cheered when Jones's competitors fell, and that the commentary was of a low standard.

Fuller had taken part in the early stages of the event but failed to make the final, after which she was invited into the presentation booth.

She was heard cheering when the final competitor, Austria's Anna Gasser, fell, meaning that Jones would clinch the bronze medal.

Fuller then said: "Are we supposed to do that? Probably not."

All three commentators began crying when it became clear that Jones had won a medal.

Image copyright Allsport
Image caption Jones has suffered numerous injuries on the road to Sochi
Image copyright BBC / Twitter
Image caption Matt Loughlin, a video editor on the BBC's Winter Olympics coverage, posted a picture of the trio in the commentary box

Warwood later tweeted: "Snowboarding just won the Olympics and I just cried Live on BBC2! If I get fired I'm invoicing you @jennyjonessnow"

He is a former UK snowboarding champion who now presents CBBC's Wild! and Disney XD's Goalmouth.

Ed Leigh is a presenter on Channel 4's Freesports and on BBC Two's Ski Sunday.

As US snowboarder Karly Shorr began her run, Warwood said: "She's got the same birthday as me, so she's obviously very cool".

Other comments included: "She's got a face that could help bread rise"; "this feels like I've got slugs in my knickers"; and "riding switch [back-to-front] is like writing left-handed while wearing a chip hat and being attacked by seagulls".

As Jones waited for her score, Leigh noted: "I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine."

"That's not your pulse, Ed," Warwood replied.

'Understandable'

The commentary team also came in for criticism on Twitter.

Ian Jordan tweeted: "The commentators on @BBCSport Winter Olympics are embarrassing. Cheering people falling over just because a Brit is going to win a medal."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Fuller made it to the semi-final of the competition

Another Twitter user, simply titled Suzanne, wrote: "Why are the commentators cheering for someone falling? How unprofessional can you get? #BBCSochiSuzanne".

Jeremy Sare added: "#bbcsochi snowboarding commentators are nothing more than hysterical idiots. Ruining the spectacle with streams [of] inane drivel".

But other Twitter users, including Mike Taylor, praised the coverage: "So the snowboarding commentators got a bit excited. But it's an excitable new sport. It sounded like fun. No great harm in that, really."

And the joint Twitter account of Shelley and Kirstie said it was: "The most refreshing commentary I've heard in years. The emotion shone through and added to such a joyous UK achievement."

A BBC spokesperson said: "This was a truly historic occasion for Team GB and the commentary team were understandably very excited.

"However we acknowledge that on occasion this excitement got the better of them and this is something that we will work on for future events."

The BBC has also received 53 compliments on its general Winter Olympics coverage since the event opened on Friday.

The Jenny Jones medal win attracted a peak audience of 3.1m.

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