Jade Jones revelled in her ‘amazing’ night as she won GB’s first taekwondo gold medal; Oscar Pistorious enjoyed his ‘amazing’ experience and; Roger Black was ‘amazed’ how Usain Bolt can go from joking to ‘the zone’ in just 30 seconds.
So that’s agreed then. ‘Amazing’ is the Official Word of London 2012. Not astonishing, astounding, staggering or stunning or any other adjective for causing great surprise or to overwhelm with wonder.
At least ‘awesome’ seems to have slipped out of the sporting vocabulary of clichés, unless you’re a newspaper sub-editor in search of an obvious headline for rowing medal winners.
Anyway, all this is by way of introduction to my amazing reflections on the Olympic Games, given that I’ve watched little else over the last two weeks, and since there is a lot to get through I will get split my thoughts over several posts and subject. Starting with those unsung heroes, the commentators.
Despite criticism that the BBC is vastly over-staffed, they were really stretched to fill the slots on all the sports they covered. Indeed, much of the digital channel coverage had no commentary at all.
At other times they had to fly solo. Matt Chilton at the beach volleyball finished a sentence with the words ‘… just as we said they would’. There was a pause, then he added, ‘Well actually just as I said because there’s only me here’.
It’s a tough job, you see, especially when you’re having to fill in all the gaps when nothing much else is happening, or when you’re expected to a little insight and understanding for the viewers.
I give a special mention here to Jo Potter who co-commentated on the women’s football and was excellent. Think Mark Lawrenson minus the stupid jokes and plus intelligence. Could we have her on Match of the Day please?
Garry Herbert was entertaining at the rowing, if more for his enthusiasm than his insightfulness. It was particularly endearing the way he would run out of breath in the closing stages of any race that Team GB were winning so that his commentary became choked as he tried to shriek while inhaling.
But for me it comes down to a photo finish for the gold medal in the commentary event. In lane one we have Mitch Fenner and Christine Still at the gymnastics – I actually felt that I had some sort of understanding of what was going on as tiny, glittery people did their circus tumbling act.
However, pipping them at the post were Chris Boardman and Hugh Porter at the cycling, whether it be on the road or on the track. Boardman in particular was a mine of technological information that he delivered humour and in a way that even I could understand.
They did their job so well that I’ve just booked tickets to take in some track racing events at the Manchester Velodrome in the autumn which I suppose is my tiny bit of the legacy, if only as a spectator.
But these are my own personal favourites and I’m sure you’ll have your own.