Best/worst T&F commentators


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Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby pakillo » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:35 am

We are coming from different countries and we are of different ages but I guess this is an interesting topic. What do you like, what do you hate? Names, TVs, all...
I think TV commentators play huge role in increasing/repelling potential fans.

I've been following the sport on many different TVs (mostly on Serbian, Italian, Russian, German, Croatian...) and even if I don't understand everything I pretty much know when someone is boring, irritating, bad or good. Not to mention one time when there wasn't the start list for men's 5000m (Golden League meet) and the guy didn't recognize anyone :x
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:47 am

pakillo wrote:
I think TV commentators play huge role in increasing/repelling potential fans.


I don't think commentators have much impact, unless you are a big fan already.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby LopenUupunut » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:24 am

Conor Dary wrote:
pakillo wrote: I think TV commentators play huge role in increasing/repelling potential fans.
I don't think commentators have much impact, unless you are a big fan already.
Perhaps you just haven't seen anyone good (or bad) enough to make the impact yet 8-)

Ours, on the whole, are and have been fairly competent, but I suspect some people here would have trouble adjusting to them, especially Antero Mertaranta and his followers. Let's just say he became a minor celebrity in the Czech Republic thanks to his commentary of Špotáková's last throw at Beijing :D
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Marlow » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:41 am

LopenUupunut wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:I don't think commentators have much impact, unless you are a big fan already.
Perhaps you just haven't seen anyone good (or bad) enough to make the impact yet 8-)

A bad one (Ms. L) is like fingernails on a chalkboard and makes you grit your teeth for the duration. A good one (those Brits on the Universal feel) can enhance your enjoyment by getting excited and provided interesting background and pertinent split/series info. gh on the mike at the OT was a perfect example, esp. in the field events. He made the mDT and wJT (and the rest) very exciting. Once the crowd is into it (because they understand what's developing) it's more than just a track meet; it's high entertainment!
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:44 am

LopenUupunut wrote: Perhaps you just haven't seen anyone good (or bad) enough to make the impact yet 8-)


There are some excellent commentators, such as Peter Matthews. And some lousy ones, Brendan Foster, is the first name that comes to mind.

And in the US, well take your pick. It has pretty much been all over the place. In the glory days of track tv, I really don't remember paying attention to the commentary much, with the exception of Erich Segal, and his buffoonery: 'They are running between 60 and 70 seconds a lap' when talking about the Munich 10,000. The visuals are more than enough.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:48 am

Marlow wrote:
A bad one (Ms. L) is like fingernails on a chalkboard and makes you grit your teeth for the duration. A good one (those Brits on the Universal feel) can enhance your enjoyment by getting excited and provided interesting background and pertinent split/series info. gh on the mike at the OT was a perfect example, esp. in the field events. He made the mDT and wJT (and the rest) very exciting. Once the crowd is into it (because they understand what's developing) it's more than just a track meet; it's high entertainment!


Well, yes. The mute button was always close at hand when CL was on board.

And I am talking about tv commentators. At a meet a good announcer can add immensely to the experience.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby gh » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:21 am

The gold standard from a U.S. point of view was Dick Bank (who while in the booth only in a consulting position, grabbed the mike from Bud Palmer in Tokyo in '64 when the latter froze up and wasn't IDing Mills: that was Dick screaming). He went on to honcho CBS's track series which ran in the summers of '69 and '70 as I recall.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Marlow » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:30 am

gh wrote:He went on to honcho CBS's track series which ran in the summers of '69 and '70 as I recall.

Which, by the way, were AWESOME. The theme-song was Jefferson Airplane's She Has Funny Cars. :D
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby gh » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:53 am

three-fifths of a mile in 10 seconds.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby pakillo » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:08 pm

Franco Bragagna (Italian RAI) gets highest rank from me. Great knowledge of the sport, excitement, correct pronunciation of the names, everything.

When I think of 2007 season my association is a Russian pair Olga Bogoslovska and Sergey Tikhonov(I think that's his last name cause Planeta Sport TV doesn't exist anymore on satellite for several years now and they broadcasted so many small meets)- Boring pair but interesting how more interesting and loud they were when they were actually at the stadium at Russian meetings. Contrarily, he used to let the race going on without saying too much and conclude with low-voice "very good" for a great result.

I can't really judge on Australian Bruce McAvaney (that should be his name) cause only watched hours of videos from the 90's but I pretty much enjoyed! (it's been a year since that Youtube channel with precious videos is deleted )
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby cullman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:21 pm

Marlow wrote:
gh wrote:He went on to honcho CBS's track series which ran in the summers of '69 and '70 as I recall.

Which, by the way, were AWESOME. The theme-song was Jefferson Airplane's She Has Funny Cars. :D

Adrian Metcalfe and Ralph Boston also did a bit of announcing on that CBS track series. Bill Toomey also comes to mind.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby JumboElliott » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:51 pm

I like Tim Hutchings, Ato Boldon, Craig Masback, and Toni Reavis. I'm hot and cold on Steve Cram, but that might just be after reading some of his columns. I think he and many other Brits are far too sanctimonious on the issue of doping.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby eldanielfire » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:14 pm

In 2011 Channel 4 in the Uk got the rights for the World Athketics championship from the BBC.

They put a alternative light entertainment presenter with no knowledge of sport or experience of live sporting events to present it. I'd explain how bad it was but my link below is a "toy ahev to see it to believe it" job. He was dropped half way for somebody slightly better, a childrens presenter, slightly better a sin you cna tell he presents eveyrthing to children. The worst thing was they had the knoweldge that Michael Johnson has been the best analyst in Track and Field for yonks now, his sliky smooth voice, his ability to explain Track specific details in eays to udnerstand terms and his obvious passion and honestly is why we wnat toa dopt from form the USA forever. All I could think was Johnson wa swatching this disaster and thinking "WTFing bunch of uneducated amateurs" constantly. And horrific as it was nobody blames their presenters, they were sooooo out of their depth it was a joke. Their boses should have been fired though. Thank God it reverted to the BBC again this year :D

here are the worst moments in the history of track and field on TV EVER! :oops:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkswky ... rclass_fun
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby bobguild76 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:16 pm

My favorite US announcing came during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. NBC had the Red, White & Blue package, which was a financial failure, but I loved the reporting. Dwight Stones, Marty Liquori, and Frank Shorter provided the "expert" commentary, but I forget who was the anchor. They were all superb.

The beautiful thing was, they weren't catering to the general audience, and therefore stayed away from fluff commentary. They also provided prime time NBC coverage, and the difference between their live RW&B commentary and the "not quite live" NBC commentary was night and day. I particularly enjoyed the Men's 10k, when Skah & Chelimo lapped Boutayeb, and Boutayeb proceeded to impede Chelimo. Liquori was livid, and said something along the lines of, "Someone needs to jump on Boutayeb and smack him!" Perfect, but not a chance it would be on a prime time NBC show. Of course, NBC would never show a commercial free 10k in the first place.

Other US favorites are Tony Reavis & Craig Masback. I also love the BBC commentary. Knowledgable and articulate, and as a Yank, I love their use of words. "This is a cracking race."

I do not enjoy NBC coverage at all ... but they (NBC) know their audience, which is not us, and they deliver a product that reaches said audience.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Master Po » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:39 pm

In recent years, I have really enjoyed Tim Hutchings and Peter Matthews. Also, regarding the British presentation of the OG that I viewed online, there were others I really appreciated -- don't know their names -- involved with various events throughout the Games.

Have always appreciated Dwight Stones commentary, but it is limited by the overall generally lousy presentation of T&F on USA broadcasts. He has little time to do much of anything.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:14 pm

gh wrote:The gold standard from a U.S. point of view was Dick Bank (who while in the booth only in a consulting position, grabbed the mike from Bud Palmer in Tokyo in '64 when the latter froze up and wasn't IDing Mills: that was Dick screaming). He went on to honcho CBS's track series which ran in the summers of '69 and '70 as I recall.


I remember when he suddenly disappeared. Something about following Little League baseball or something. All seemed very strange.

PS. I don't think you could call it freezing up on Palmer. More like focused on something else at the time. There was quite a battle between Clarke and Gammoudi going on and suddenly Mills is in the mix, with a lot of lapped runners all over the place.

Anyways, a great audio.
Last edited by Conor Dary on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby noone » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:34 pm

I wish I knew the name of the incompetent stadium announcer at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. He was a French-Canadian whose command of English was even worse than his T & F knowledge. He would constantly babble on about people having a fight (he meant battle), or else you couldn't even understand him. I kept saying to myself : For God's sake why don't you shut up!
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby eldanielfire » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:50 pm

noone wrote:I wish I knew the name of the incompetent stadium announcer at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. He was a French-Canadian whose command of English was even worse than his T & F knowledge. He would constantly babble on about people having a fight (he meant battle), or else you couldn't even understand him. I kept saying to myself : For God's sake why don't you shut up!



Ona similar note Deagu 2011 seemed to have all sorts of weird technical failures at the starting line (men's 400m hurdles) and false starts (Men's 100m, women's 400m), I often wonder was there some unusual or rubbish procedure or announcements that seem to interfere with athletes then?
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Daisy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:22 pm

eldanielfire wrote:In 2011 Channel 4 in the Uk got the rights for the World Athketics championship from the BBC.

They put a alternative light entertainment presenter with no knowledge of sport or experience of live sporting events to present it. I'd explain how bad it was but my link below is a "toy ahev to see it to believe it" job.


ORTIS DELEY'S SEVEN BIGGEST TV MISTAKES'
…so, we have a gloriously sunny day here in the studio, erm, we’ve seen some action as well this morning as well, Jessica Ennis. Goodnight.’

‘..history in the making as Oscar Pistorius from South Africa makes history.’‘…time now for another break, erm, and when we come back we’ll of course have, erm, more coverage for you from [pause] here, erm…’

‘…commentators are Rob Walling, Rob Rawling, and [smiling] I keep getting these names wrong, I do apologise, [pause] Rob Walker and John Rawling.’

‘…joining myself and Michael in the studio is the one, the only Tyson Gay. That’s me [pause], Michael Johnson [pause] and Tyson Gay in the same studio.’

‘…now Daegu plays host to the 13th IAAF World Athletic Championships, two hundred, two thousand and eleven.’

‘…and we talk to the hottest athlete of the moment , the honourable Leo [pause] Usain [pause] Bolt. It’s Leo, St Leo, Usain Bolt. We’ll be talking to him.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... tarts.html


At the other end of the scale was the late Ron Pickering.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby tm71 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:35 pm

In 2011 Channel 4 in the Uk got the rights for the World Athketics championship from the BBC.
They put a alternative light entertainment presenter with no knowledge of sport or experience of live sporting events to present it. I'd explain how bad it was but my link below...

i just watched it and i must agree that i have NEVER EVER seen anything this bad !
truly unprofessional, where did they find this clown ? and who hired him for this job ?
it makes larry rawson, carol lewis and tom hammond seem like geniuses lol !
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby mump boy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:24 am

tm71 wrote:In 2011 Channel 4 in the Uk got the rights for the World Athketics championship from the BBC.
They put a alternative light entertainment presenter with no knowledge of sport or experience of live sporting events to present it. I'd explain how bad it was but my link below...

i just watched it and i must agree that i have NEVER EVER seen anything this bad !
truly unprofessional, where did they find this clown ? and who hired him for this job ?
it makes larry rawson, carol lewis and tom hammond seem like geniuses lol !


Poor Ortis, he came to sit with me and Flump at the UK Trials last summer. He introduced himself said he's seen us about and explained that he was hosting the Channel 4 covergae in Deagu. He said he used to compete in the Dec and was a big track fan but not an expert. Alarm bells rang then !! but he's an experienced presenter who we assumed had been vetted, trained and prepared. How wrong we were

To present live sport you need to know everything inside out so you you can think on your feet, he may have known enough to chat with fans but this clearly isn't sufficient and Ch4 had no business letting on tv. Apart from him and the adverts their coverage was a breath of fresh air and his replacement (after 3 days) Rick Edwards was very good
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby mump boy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:32 am

My favourite commentators where one morning in Stuttgart '93 when the BBC has Daley Thompson and Kris Akabusi as guests. After making lewd comments about the female long jumpers, especially Larysa Berezhna and calling Leroy Burrell 'the one eyed fat man', they disappeared and where never heard of again :lol:
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby gh » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:08 am

noone wrote:I wish I knew the name of the incompetent stadium announcer at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. He was a French-Canadian whose command of English was even worse than his T & F knowledge. He would constantly babble on about people having a fight (he meant battle), or else you couldn't even understand him. I kept saying to myself : For God's sake why don't you shut up!


????

There were two French-speaking announcers in Edmonton, and both were from France, and with impeccable credentials regards both knowledge of the sport and speaking ability. I've worked with them at every major international championships since Atlanta in '96. Both also speak a just-fine version of English.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Powell » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:25 am

Conor Dary wrote:
pakillo wrote:
I think TV commentators play huge role in increasing/repelling potential fans.


I don't think commentators have much impact, unless you are a big fan already.


I'd say just the opposite. If you're a serious fan, you pretty much know what's going on just by looking at the screen and you may just as well not pay any attention to the commentary. The less knowledgable viewers, otoh, need some extra guidance, and their enjoyment will largely depend on the commentators.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Gabriella » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:50 am

JumboElliott wrote:I like Tim Hutchings, Ato Boldon, Craig Masback, and Toni Reavis. I'm hot and cold on Steve Cram, but that might just be after reading some of his columns. I think he and many other Brits are far too sanctimonious on the issue of doping.


I'm the opposite; I like Steve Cram but I'm hot and cold with Tim Hutchings. Crammy is excellent IMO. He has that balance between knowledge, enthusiasm, professionalism and being a ruddy great presenter live. Hutchings has improved immensely since the late 90's, but he still comes across a bit iffy to me. I am not a fan of Peter Matthews at all.

I am a bit of a stick in the mud and love my BBC commentary team. Crammy is superb, Stuart Storey & Paul Dickinson I love too. Back in the day Ron Pickering was fantastic, my 'best ever', and David Coleman was sometimes ok, despite his Colemansballs. ("Britain's Olympic Gold medallist.....Daley Cathlon." :D )
Where the BBC are let down, and generally always have been, is with their trackside interviewers. Jonathan Edwards was rude (better in the studio) Sally Gunnell couldnt say her words properly (in fairness she did get better towards the end but it was too late, she was sacked) and Phil Jones, while knowledgeable and asking the right questions, just doesn't have the personality. Chris Cahill (Boxer) used to be ok, but none of them ahve ever matched the pedigree of the commentary team.

In Channel 4, I actually think Rick Edwards has actually been ok and I understand why they have chosen him, for the younger, casual fan. At the WICh he, Iwan Thomas and Kelly Sotherton did a decent job in the studio, even if Thomas did get a little too energetic.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby pakillo » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:08 am

Powell wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:
pakillo wrote:
I think TV commentators play huge role in increasing/repelling potential fans.


I don't think commentators have much impact, unless you are a big fan already.


I'd say just the opposite. If you're a serious fan, you pretty much know what's going on just by looking at the screen and you may just as well not pay any attention to the commentary. The less knowledgable viewers, otoh, need some extra guidance, and their enjoyment will largely depend on the commentators.

I agree though it's hard not to pay any attention to the commentary especially when it's terrible, incorrect and scandalous. We have one commentator of that kind and I hear some people like him cause he makes them laughing hard (less knowledgeable viewers) but they are actually misguided :x and even after several suspensions he is still there.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Trackrunner » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:30 am

Steve Cram - Excellent. Brings the sport to life.

Carol Lewis - I probably stand alone in this but I find her ditziness endearing. It's like what Carolism will be uttered next. That aside I think she genuinely tries.

Tom Hammond - Men's 100M London call was worst ever. What race was he watching on his monitor? Here comes Tyson he shouts during the race - Tyson never actually led at any point in the race - and Bolt clearly pulling ahead at the 55m mark and he mentions it after the race was done. They could easily have redubbed it considering that it was delayed 'live' but chose not to - probably did not care. And picking Pistorius as his favorite moment from London is the give away that he cares nothing about track.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Flumpy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:16 am

Why has no one mentioned Connie Henry yet?
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby mump boy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:32 am

Flumpy wrote:Why has no one mentioned Connie Henry yet?


When Valerie took up the PV :shock:
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Marlow » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:34 am

Trackrunner wrote:Carol Lewis - I probably stand alone in this but I find her ditziness endearing. It's like what Carolism will be uttered next. That aside I think she genuinely tries.

I'm sure she's a great person and was certainly a great athlete, but her greatest gift is an amazing command of the obvious! As in, "There goes Jeter. She's really picking them up and putting them down. Look at her turnover and stride length. They're better than than the others, so she may win this race." I can't remember anything she said that didn't make me wince. As for trying . . . if that's a viable criterion, then sign me up; I'll try really, really hard, I promise.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby pakillo » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:49 am

Some bitching about German Eurosport viewtopic.php?f=1&t=47330&hilit=eurosport+sigi+heinrich
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby G.Ahearn » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:35 pm

Back in the day . . . was always impressed with Marty Liquori . . . very insightful.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby noone » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:19 pm

gh wrote:
noone wrote:I wish I knew the name of the incompetent stadium announcer at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. He was a French-Canadian whose command of English was even worse than his T & F knowledge. He would constantly babble on about people having a fight (he meant battle), or else you couldn't even understand him. I kept saying to myself : For God's sake why don't you shut up!


????

There were two French-speaking announcers in Edmonton, and both were from France, and with impeccable credentials regards both knowledge of the sport and speaking ability. I've worked with them at every major international championships since Atlanta in '96. Both also speak a just-fine version of English.


I can't argue with you about their knowledge, and their language mastery is a subjective matter, but I can assure you they (I could swear there was just one guy) detracted from my enjoyment of the event
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Hil-da » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:54 pm

Maybe pertinent - a Youtube video by the guy who did the radio commentary for the BBC in London. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNLb6NT7xo
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby nevetsllim » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:16 pm

mump boy wrote:
Flumpy wrote:Why has no one mentioned Connie Henry yet?


When Valerie took up the PV :shock:


She also said Vlasic was the greatest women's high jumper ever. :lol:
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby tm71 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:51 pm

To present live sport you need to know everything inside out so you you can think on your feet, he may have known enough to chat with fans but this clearly isn't sufficient and Ch4 had no business letting on tv.

the above statement is not entirely true and depends on other factors too. bob costas is a prime example. his studio presentation of the olympics and us olympic trials on nbc has always been first class (this statement has nothing to do with the producers and their editing of the events or executive decisions not to show certain events live etc). even to his own admission costas is not an expert in any olympic event, but he does his home work, while his verbal skills and presentation are exemplary.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby mump boy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:11 am

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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby Bob H » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:41 am

noone wrote:
gh wrote:
noone wrote:I wish I knew the name of the incompetent stadium announcer at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. He was a French-Canadian whose command of English was even worse than his T & F knowledge. He would constantly babble on about people having a fight (he meant battle), or else you couldn't even understand him. I kept saying to myself : For God's sake why don't you shut up!

????

There were two French-speaking announcers in Edmonton, and both were from France, and with impeccable credentials regards both knowledge of the sport and speaking ability. I've worked with them at every major international championships since Atlanta in '96. Both also speak a just-fine version of English.

I can't argue with you about their knowledge, and their language mastery is a subjective matter, but I can assure you they (I could swear there was just one guy) detracted from my enjoyment of the event

I don't understand something. The French-speaking announcers in Edmonton announced only in French. How would you know about their command of English? If you were sitting in the stands, you never would have heard them speaking English. The English was spoken by the English-language announcers, both of whom were native English speakers and neither of whom was a French Canadian.
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby gh » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:06 am

Two options here: during the Opening Ceremony, as I recall they had a French-Canadian guy from the CBC doing commentary in both languages (the track staff was not involved), and his ability to pronounce the names of many countries was definitely severely compromised.

Second thought (with tongue in cheek): there was infield commentary provided by Jon Ridgeon, and perhaps his British accent was so heavy that you thought it was French-Canadian :twisted:
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Re: Best/worst T&F commentators

Postby bobguild76 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:03 am

gh wrote:Two options here: during the Opening Ceremony, as I recall they had a French-Canadian guy from the CBC doing commentary in both languages (the track staff was not involved), and his ability to pronounce the names of many countries was definitely severely compromised.

Second thought (with tongue in cheek): there was infield commentary provided by Jon Ridgeon, and perhaps his British accent was so heavy that you thought it was French-Canadian :twisted:


I used to fly into Calgary & Edmonton for work, and love what many Canadians said about their politicians; "English and French are both their second languages." :D
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