Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Canada's Pat O'Brien

So Canadian national swim team Dave Johnson has been fired. As distasteful as I found the piling on during Athens 2004 by Brian Williams and seemingly every other Canadian journalist, it was an obvious and necessary move.

It's not relevant where you stand on the importance of Canada's medal count as a sign of national strength or whatever - elite coaches are judged first and last on their results. Curtis Myden provided Johnson with every Olympic medal his team ever won, and far too few of his athletes performed their best in Athens. That's just not good enough - so long!

The next, and more important step, is for the CBC to fire Steve Armitage. After 37 years, he no longer seems able to describe what is happening before his own eyes. There was lots of examples from Athens; the biggest one I noticed was the Men's 10m platform diving.

Last diver, Helm from Australia, is up. Needs mediocre marks to pass Despatie for the bronze, huge marks to pass Liang for the silver. Has an awesome dive. Armitage starts, "that will push Alexandre Despatie out of the bronze medal position." Helm's marks come up on the screen, they're very good and there's a big '2' next to the word "Rank". Helm holds up 2 fingers, breaks into a huge smile, starts hugging his coach, etc. while the crowd is going crazy. And there's Armitage's voice-over, "Jia with the gold, Liang gets the silver, and Helm wins bronze." At this point they've been showing Helm and the #2 graphic for well over 10 seconds.

Armitage, suddenly: "And Helm wins the silver!" - in the same tone of voice as if he was describing it live. People complain about Bob Cole's deterioration (Bob - the team that touched the puck when the whistle went is the one who's called for the offside or penalty, for God's sake!), but Armitage is at least as bad.

Worse still are his inane between-periods interviews at hockey games, which always conclude with, "Thanks for doing this, [Doug/Jarome/Jiri/whoever]." I get an creepy Pat O'Brien-Mary Hart-Bill Mcneal vibe, like he's much more concerned with being validated by a famous person that passing on anything of interest to the viewer.

And while the CBC is "retiring" people, it's probably time to bid farewell to Don Wittman, too.


At 11:04 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah Don Whitman was never very good as a hockey broadcaster. He was a pretty good football play-by-play one though.


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