Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why do some World Champions remain unsung? - mimitig

Nicole Cook, from the world of cycling and Andy Priaulx, a champion in motor sport, are the first to spring to mind.

Both compete in disciplines that are only sporadically covered by the mainstream media, and the specialist press is not a lot better. Motor sport, well, Formula One gets plenty of column inches, with headlines and front covers regularly devoted to Jenson Button - who as I write has won but a single race. Road cycling has writers slavering over the Tour de France or a drugs scandal. Outside this, there is little coverage for sports in which competitors from the UK have a long and illustrious history of success.

During the ludicrous contest that was the BBC: "Sports Personality of the Year" , Andy Priaulx did not even make it to the short-list despite being a double World Champion. Nicole Cook was made to look insipid during the interviews because the BBC didn't bother to provide an interviewer who knew or cared anything about her sport.

Bradley Wiggins is an international success as a track and road cyclist, the first Englishman since Chris Boardman to finish a Tour de France and yet is virtually unknown here in the UK. Mark Cavendish, a World and European Champion in Track Cycling in 2005 when a mere 20 year old, has been signed by one of the most successful teams on the Pro-Tour. When did you last hear of him?

It is, in some ways, a complete farce because of all the sports this country ploughs lottery money into, the one that is outstandingly successful is cycling. Recently we won World Medals across the board and yet there was virtually no press coverage. Pages and pages are devoted every week to football: the Premiership, Champions League, UEFA Cup and yet we are far more likely to succeed in world terms in cycling than we are even to qualify for Euro 2008.

I realise that we are dealing with a chicken and egg situation: the public thirsts for stories of footballers and other high-profile sports people, on and off the pitch, court or park. The press has to take note of the demand and feed the fever. It is not the responsibility of the journalists to encourage support for lesser-publicised sports, but, if these sports get no coverage, how can the public begin to appreciate and enjoy the success this country has and will go on, producing?

I've only looked at two disciplines here: cycling and a small part of the world of motor-sport but I've been able to find World Champions aplenty. I could cast my net further and find champions in at least 5 other sports.

Do we, here at home, only take note of winners when they get column inches? Surely medals and wins are what should count?

62 comments:

offside said...

Allright, who wants to be the first to suggest that Steve McClaren should get on his bike?

Oh, sorry.

roofus said...

Although I tend to follow the TdF, and track racing during the Olympics, I admit I don't really pay cycling any attention otherwise.

Are the media merely reflecting the general lack of interest by not providing more coverage, or is the general lack of interest due to the lack of media coverage? I can't really argue conclusively for either, although I suspect that even were all the national papers to devote an entire two-page spread to cycling every day, we wouldn't see a massive increase in the sport's popularity.

One thing that always intrigued me was how tennis came to be the sole sport where the womens game can really match the popularity of the mens. It would be interesting to see the relative popularity and media coverage of the mens vs. womens games over the years to see if it can shed any light on the argument.

fred said...

There are a hell of a lot of unsung gurning world champs out there.

Gurngrass

andrewm said...

mimi, I sympathise with your position, and of course they deserve more coverage, but I don't think it's true that increased coverage would mean increased general interest. I don't know how to say it other than: people like what they like.

Champions in minority sports get their moment of fame and recognition at the Olympics, when national pride is considered to be at stake. You just can't, however, dedicate even half a page of the sports section in a national newspaper to cycling, because people won't read it. Keep prinitng it and they'll keep ignoring it.

postern said...

i'd agree there are probably some great stories out there, but that can apply to most fields - business, music, film. art house v Hollywood.
as for chicken and egg: we had John Currie, Robin Cousins and Torville & Deane, yet who the farg is bothered about ice skating now? win the TdF, then more people might take notice. then win it for the next 5 years.

tonyellis said...

Sorry mimi. I don't are how many medals or championships someone has won for curling or netball, I don't like them and won't watch them even if they do wear tight shorts. I love the Tour as a spectacle but don't really care who wins. Football, basketball, handball, athletics, rugby and cricket will do for me. Sorry...

andrewm said...

tony, don't apologise man. No doubt mimi is cooking up a particularly vicious haiku to put you in your place (see tonight's SA/Sri Lanka OBO).

tonyellis said...

andrew Haikus? I'll take that as a challenge. Then again, an OBO doesn't really ring my bell either. Shouldn't you be watching England or Scotland? I'm supporting Spain, though the pitch is pretty much unplayable...

andrewm said...

tony, I never watch internationals, it's almost always dire. Sounds like I made the right choice in both cases tonight.

If you didn't read the OBO I'll tell you that mimi, Mouth and even GG were haikuing like nobody's business. Very entertaining.

greengrass said...

Haiku:

Irate England fans/chant "McClaren's a banker"/When will he pay off?

GG

tonyellis said...

Haiku: a poem of seventeen syllables.
Or is it it eighteen?

greengrass said...

Tony -
strictly speaking, 17 (5-7-5); some schools of haiku are more free.

GG

mimi said...

kind, or maybe not, of you to mention the haikus. My Kallis one got on OBO - with some faintly damning praise from Andy Bull (who I don't think likes me much) but they wouldn't put my Gerrard one up, so here it is for you lot:

Stephen Gerrard
Man of men
King of the Kop
Always for us
A god

bluedaddy said...

Never done haikus before. Here goes, following mimi.

Lampard Junior
Wide of girth
Yesterday's man
Broken wrist
And heart

marcela said...

i don't think it's a real haiku but:

bloody nora
what's going on?
do this on the podcast thread
if you're 'men' enough

tonyellis said...

thank you dear greengrass,
you're never too old to learn:
except McClaren

Zeph said...

Interesting article Mimi, and great haikus.

Here's one:

Ladies' curling team
Serious stuff in the North
Bit odd from down here

Zeph said...

Here's Brian Lara.
Can he astound us again
Though he's quite old? Yes.

guitougoal said...

was it a rift?
was it his wrist?
I wonder why he left the team.
Toward the white post,see
Gerrard shooting as, he
Was inpired by a dream
On the pitch he followed all the balls
Scored for England, winner takes all.

greengrass said...

Tony -
nice one! I didn't see your question was a haiku.
Greengrass.

greengrass said...

Marcela, do you
imply that writing haikus
is effeminate?

greengrass said...

Where is that Offside
cove when you need him on P
C to trade haikus?

offsideinjapan said...

Having rum, of course,
dreamily blowing smoke rings
at the blogosphere

greengrass said...

England did so well,
coolly putting three goals past
a bunch of plumbers.

offside said...

Where is everyone?
Are they stuck for words, or just
breakfasting in bed?

Zeph said...

Once you get started
Expressing yourself this way
It is hard to stop

But I do feel that
My haikus should be much more
Poetic than this.

bluedaddy said...

Just up. Nice haikus.
A lovely start to the day.
Shit, is that the time?

MotM said...

Work disrupts so much
The pleasures of sport and life
For me, not Offside

MotM said...

Back on topic, I'm always struck by the range of sports covered in Sweden's media and the interest apparent amongst the populace at large.

Wind the clock back 10 years and I'd have said that the explosion of sports coverage on TV through Sky, Eurosport and the access to so much info on the web would have produced a more catholic taste in the British sporting public. I would have been wrong.

greengrass said...

Mouth -
come on, you're not suggesting that the Swedes are less myopic than the Brits, are you?
Swedish newspapers are extremely myopic - one devoted 14 pages to King Henrik's move to the Red Devils!
They write reams about that cissie ice-hockey "sport", but never a word about gurning...

GG

MotM said...

GG - You've written before of the joys of bandy! Horses, golf, hockey, athletics (idrott, if I remember correctly) home and overseas all seem to get acrse of space in Aftonbladet or whatever.

I find myself trying to separate the words into English, French and German to help understand a Swedish match report in Varmlands Tidning or something only to find out it's an Under 12 Football Tournament reported like the World Cup!

MotM said...

I meant acres in the last post - just my bum typing.

greengrass said...

Mouth -
yes, but let's face it: nothing ever happens in Varmland (unless native son Sven Goran has a new fancy woman), so they print the lot.

gg

MotM said...

True GG True.

Back on topic, some minority sports still attract dedicated participants. From the today's GU headline below it's clear that wind tunnel testing for the boat race is very advanced and that the Cambridge crew are committed:

"Cambridge change cox for big race"

tony said...

mouth

if your bum types so badly, why don't you try with your fingers?

mimi said...

Mouth: the Cambridge crew WILL be committed if they lose again this year!

MotM said...

Tony - That eminds me of the old line about the secretary who didn't have shorthand who said, "Do you mind if I use your dictaphone?" Reply - "No, use your finger like everyone else".

Mimi - Cambridge should be pleased that they have reached the Final.

tony said...

mouth - oh yes, I used to love that one before it became obsolete. Was briefly tempted to sespond with another but it's too dangerous. I really have to do some work today...

greengrass said...

Mouth -
the paper that printed 14 pages about King Henrik was Aftonbladet. Or maybe Expressen - I believe the other one only printed 11 pages.
Further myopia: Swedish interest in English sides closely follows transfer dealings. Ljungberg - as long as anybody thought he was any use, except as a dummy for knickers - gave Arsenal loads of fans. Henrik gave Celtic loads of fans, who all seemed to become first Barcelona fans, then Manchester United fans - I've never seen so many fans of the Red Devils in Swedish pubs as I have in the last few months! I wonder what they will find to do at weekends now?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic rekindled interest in
Eyetie footy: first Juventus gained loads of fans, now most have bought Inter jerseys. People I know who have never cared tuppence about footy are crying "Zlatan, Zlatan" - though they wouldn't be able to tell you the names of 2 or 3 of his team-mates.
The bottom line: they don't worship the game or the club, they worship the Swede wot done good.
I've seen some myopia in England, but nothing as extreme as that.

gg

MotM said...

GG - I saw that too and I remember being in Norway when Solksjaer signed and the same thing happening.

But I do think that there's a wide variety of sport covered in the Media (eg Women's football) and played by the populace.

greengrass said...

Mouth -
sure, women's football has received a fair amount of coverage in recent years; the national side is one of the best in the world, which surely helps.
I'm looking forward to KIng Henrik's record of 14 pages being broken in the
not-too-distant-future. All it needs is for Elmander to go to the right English club - not a small club, but a club with history.
(Nudge, nudge).

gg

bluedaddy said...

But Chelsea are ok for strikers now.

fred said...

BD -
you're a courageous man!

gg

Anonymous said...

In the world of social networking, numbers say a lot about one's business. They are designed to suit the individual needs of businesses that wish to either use sponsorship ads, advertising programs, business events, Facebook widgets for business websites, Facebook Like for corporate blogs, forums etc. Buy facebook fans or buy twitter followers is a way to increase the frequency of customer visits to your site and in other way, to bring more potential customers to your business.

Here is my weblog - http://socialbears.com/facebook-fans/

Anonymous said...

providing relevant content for your blog. By using the autoresponder, you have been in front of a potential customer for five days.

Make sure that your subscription box is very noticeable.


Feel free to visit my website ... Internet Marketing Tips

Anonymous said...

For those who are unaware, Vistaprint is a website that has been around for years, and
it offers a variety of personalized products that can be used for businesses, gifts,
weddings, and more. 5. An increasing number of marrying couples (particularly those entering second or later marriages) will
request that guests refrain from giving gifts.

Feel free to surf to my blog post: wedding website advice

Anonymous said...

Will they be fed, watered, and cared for properly. In
the event you employ strategies that may be employed in agreement
together with your dog's normal urge and instincts, you'll be able to improve
its character and provide restrictions that
can maintain your dog satisfied. Dog Training Using Praise.



Visit my web site ... hunting dog training articles

Anonymous said...

Even just 15 minutes a day keeps your piano playing ability in tune.
The sooner you memorize some chords, the easier will be for you to perform plenty of styles of music.

Best Regards.

Feel free to visit my web site piano chords and scales sheet

Anonymous said...

In relation to the last paragraph, the question had arisen by
the people that how the diet can be eaten by us in the same form in which it
was utilized by our ancestors. Other typical tasks
were gathering wood, shelter building, digging, carrying a variety of heavy items, tool construction
and dancing. - Vegetables are low in sodium less
water retention.

my web site Paleo Diet Alcoholic Drinks
My web page: the paleo diet and alcohol

Anonymous said...

In relation to the last paragraph, the question had arisen by
the people that how the diet can be eaten by us in the same form in which it was utilized by our ancestors.
Let me tell you a quick story about the beauty of filling up on a paleo diet breakfast.
The Paleo Gluten Free Diet has many health claims.

Take a look at my blog :: the paleo diet and crossfit

Anonymous said...

Now that your tea is hopefully taking effect let's think on that last thought for a moment. Drinking a lot of water, eating plain yogurt, and drinking unsweetened cranberry juice as part of her daily diet can help maintain a woman's natural p - H,
if she is prone to yeast infections due to constant p - H imbalance.
Candida bacteria feed on other weakened friendly bacteria in the human body.



My blog post :: yeast infection antibiotics yogurt
my web site: yeast infection and pregnancy sign

Anonymous said...

In this article I will teach you the basics of how to have fun learning your
chords by playing out of a Fake Book. -- Chord Symbol: Dm.

It is very soothing to hear the sound of piano and based on
such vast change of scales, a song sounds so melodious.



Review my blog post; blues piano chords and scales

Anonymous said...

In that case, this kind of question should not be taken from
any show telecasted in specific country.

*Rounds table format. The decline of the East side blues scene was disheartening, but,
it also gave rise to the need for a fresh
start, which came in the form of the next blues-only venue,
Antone's, founded by the late Clifford Antone, during the summer of 1975.

my web site :: pub quiz and answers
My website - fun pub quiz names

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll admit I'm a little biased since I am the author of this article.
In this way, there will be no shortage of people at the party.

Kids birthday party themes and ideas are not hard to find, and there are many good suggestions here
on the site.

Feel free to surf to my web page 1st Birthday Party Ideas

Anonymous said...

Fun and nutritious Paleo Toddler Dessert Recipe. - 1
tsp cinnamon (optional). Long Hair on the Paleo Diet: Omega-3s.



Also visit my page; paleo diet and alcoholism

Anonymous said...

Fun and nutritious Paleo Toddler Dessert Recipe. - 1 tsp
cinnamon (optional). Long Hair on the Paleo Diet: Omega-3s.



Also visit my web blog ... paleo diet and alcoholism
My page - Paleo diet and diabetes

Anonymous said...

For those who are unaware, Vistaprint is a website that has been around for years, and it offers a variety of
personalized products that can be used for businesses, gifts,
weddings, and more. 5. 4.

Feel free to surf to my blog post wedding website affiliate programs
My web site - wedding website amanda isgate and brandon hicks

Anonymous said...

There are features that allow you to keep track of vendors that you like and keep
notes so you know why they are listed. Meredith's mother suffered from Alzheimer's in prior seasons.
With the advantages that technology is affording for us now planning that
special day is a lot easier and simpler.

Also visit my homepage: wedding website affiliate programs

Anonymous said...

You still have to expert all of those other guitar chords so as to engage in very easy popular music.
The sooner you memorize some chords, the easier will be for
you to perform plenty of styles of music.
Pretend that we are palming an egg and keep your arms relaxed and fingers
curled.

My web site free piano chords and lyrics
my page > opm songs with piano chords and notes

Anonymous said...

This plan of yours is a plan of action, and that
means you take action every single day. You are
going to begin your internet marketing plan by publishing your articles to the following sites.
Budget.

Also visit my web blog; Internet Marketing Tips
Also see my site - Internet Marketing Tips

Anonymous said...

It was developed by Walter L. - 1 tsp cinnamon (optional). Consider the following statistic.


Also visit my web-site: paleo diet alcohol
My page: paleo diet acne rosacea

Anonymous said...

When you stop PPC, traffic dies immediately and your business is dead in the water.
You need to utilise every tool and potential outlet you possibly can.
I recommend this online marketing formula to beginner's.

Here is my web blog :: Internet Marketing Coach

Tweet it, digg it