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Olympic coverage

Like my colleagues on the Rust I find the back drop of empty seats in the stadiums a distinct turn off.

In the week of track and field I miss the winning athlete draped in the national flag going over to supporters.

I am also less than impressed by the BBC coverage.

The BBC has so few sporting rights that those events they do cover are bigged up but dumbed down.

In the old days the BBC had commentators like Alan Weeks who could cover 40 sports.

Four-man kayaks – Weeks was behind the mike; Greco-Roman wrestling – his jovial round face was there; shooting, especially if the Preston dentist Bob Braithwaite was going for gold, Weeks was your man.

You also had the peerless David Coleman who was editor of his local newspaper in Stockport by the age of 23.

Coleman made mistakes – he had his own column in Private Eye called Colemanballs but he did his homework, pacing up and down his garden in Gerrards Cross going over the  data, had a good turn of phrase, brought the action into your living room and – when a sports story became a news one as with the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich – he was up to it.

Now I am amazed that not only has the modern presenter any of these skills but how many errors are made off the autocue.

The other day presenter Gabby Logan called the 5000 metre heat the 1500 metres.

Generally an error is followed by laughter.

Although many of my favourite male presenters have been ruthlessly culled the sisterhood that rule the roost in the BBC have ensured that Clare Balding, Sue Barker and Hazel Irvine are still very much there.

Disloyally, I confess to being pleased poster girl Dina Asher-Smith failed to qualify for the 100m final – the most exciting event to date – as the clamour for her to be Sports Personality of the Year  would then have ignited.

I still enjoy the commentary of minor sport.

I followed three time gold gymnast Max Whitlock on the pommel horse.

The exultant commentators observed how he executed a perfect Magyar and Zhivago though I  had no idea what either movement was.

It reminded me of one of the great piece of commentating when our women won the curling. The Scottish commentator pronounced “Guid stone, guid stone …”

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts