With no particular interest in sport myself, I’m currently dipping in and out of the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games now taking place in Glasgow.
However, over the weekend I noticed a classic example of glaring lazy, if not shoddy, British media journalism. Specifically, a case of a British national tabloid seeking to ‘create’ a sensational story on the back of one athlete’s public utterance and another’s disappointing performance on the Games’ velodrome cycling track.
Yesterday (27th July) an article appeared in The Mail On Sunday, written by Marc Horne and Ben Ellery, entitled ‘Stop partying, long jump hero warns English athletes … you are putting me off my stride!’, based upon a well-publicised tweeting outburst by 2012 Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford.
In it, he complained that inconsiderate fellow athletes, presumably a majority of them having already competed, had been disturbing his sleep and/or preparations.
The article made mention of the Glasgow athletes’ village relaxed rules on alcohol and its general amenities, which included a bar, a jukebox, a beauty salon and thousands of free condoms.
Inset at the side of the main article was another short piece in a box, featuring a photograph of English cyclist Laura Trott – who had risen to fame as one of the Team GB ‘golden girls’ in the 2012 London Olympics – entitled ‘P.S. So, Laura, does that explain why you didn’t win a medal yesterday?’. The full text read:
‘Is the party atmosphere in the athletes’ village the reason why Olympic cycling golden girl Laura Trott failed to pick up a medal for England in yesterday’s [Saturday’s] women’s 10km scratch event? The 22–year-old had been favourite but could only manage 11th place. Fellow Olympic team pursuit champions Dani King and Joanna Rowsell finished fourth and 19th respectively.’
The British media is full of stories lauding Laura Trott’s dramatic triumph yesterday in winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women’s 25km points race, despite having been suffering from a serious kidney infection since Thursday 24th July.
See a typical example here, in THE GUARDIAN