Wait, who was the guy commentating with Joanne Conway last weekend then? I remember the guy was saying something about how he was aroused by Valentina Marchei and Conway was like, oh, why am I not surprised. The guy also asked a few other hilariously inappropriate questions and by the end of the broadcast, Conway sounded like she was quite annoyed.
Anyway, Eurosport is amazing. Certainly nowhere else to watch figure skating these days.
EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA
Well, what did you think of Joanne Conway joining Nicky Slater on the Eurosport commentary on Sunday night?
Personally, I really enjoyed it.
I have to be honest, I have never paid much attention to the British Championships over the years. In fact, there are only 3 Ladies champions I can name off the top of my head – Jenna McCorkell, Vanessa James, and Joanne Conway.
When I started writing the first couple of posts in this thread, and started thinking about candidates for a place in the commentary team, Joanne was one of the names that came into my head. But, I decided against her for 2 reasons.
The first is that Joanne has never competed under the new judging system. It was in the early nineties that Joanne retired from skating, so all she ever knew was 6.0. And, since Nicky and Chris never competed under the new system either, I felt that if Eurosport were to add to the team, that they needed somebody that had experienced the new system.
The second reason is actually to do with where Joanne is from. Joanne is from a small town outside Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Now, for those who are familiar with European history, Hadrian’s Wall in the North of England marked the Northern boundary of the Roman Empire. And at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall is Joanne’s home town, which is imaginatively named “Wallsend” (yes, seriously, that’s what it’s called!)
People from the Newcastle area are known as “Geordies”, and a lot of Geordies talk with a very strong accent that I for one find hard to understand. Probably the most famous Geordie that falls into that category is Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole (née Tweedy), who was a judge on the UK series of The X Factor from 2008 to 2010, and briefly a judge on the American version in 2011. But, she got sacked because… American viewers couldn’t understand her!
But, other Geordies can be very easy to listen to. Sting (Gordon Sumner), the lead singer/bassist with The Police, is a very famous example.
I didn’t know which category Joanne fell into. Before this week, I had only heard Joanne talking once. That was when I was looking for videos of somebody else (I’ll tell you who in a moment). I found an interview the BBC did with Joanne after she won the 1990 British Championship. And guess who was interviewing her… Simon Reed!!!
Back in those days, everybody on the BBC spoke with a very neutral accent (which became known as “BBC English”). It was very rare that you had a BBC presenter that spoke with a regional accent – even in the regional variations! For example, people over here on BBC Northern Ireland spoke exactly the same way as their English counterparts.
So, I wasn’t sure whether Joanne normally talked like this, or whether she was just trying to cover up a strong Geordie accent for the sake of the BBC.
But, now that I know that this is her normal accent, I am going to use her to complete my "ideal line-up" from post 2:
Simon Reed (male journalist)
Jennifer Kirk (female journalist)
Chris Howarth (male singles skater)
Joanne Conway (female singles skater)
John Nicks (pairs skater)
Nicky Slater (ice dancer)
As I predicted, having a female on the team added a whole new dynamic to the commentary. And, as a former Ladies skater herself, she was able to add perspectives that a male commentator wouldn’t be able to.
A message to Eurosport: KEEP HER!!!
EDIT: I just found out Sting is actually from Wallsend as well!!! No wonder he and Joanne are both easy to listen to! Small world, eh?!
Is it Joanne who did the commentary here as well?:
Of course, this was a while ago... Then hopefully, they'll have her more often than once a decade or so.
EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA
It has long been established that everybody loves the British Eurosport commentary team.
And, even though it may annoy some people, one of the things that make them so easy to relate to is the occasional mistakes, such as pronouncing names wrong; or introducing the wrong skaters.
It was really funny during the Cup of China Short Dance when Simon Reed introduced Yu/Wang (CHN) as Aldridge/Eaton (USA). Like, if he had looked up from his sheet of paper and looked at the screen, he would have realised instantly that the names did not match the skaters!
But to be fair, that’s the sort of thing that happens when there is a last-minute withdrawal (from Huang/Zheng). Let’s face it, it is very easy to get your paperwork in the wrong order when you are removing one of the sheets.
However, during yesterday’s coverage of the Cup of China Pairs Short, Simon Reed said something almost unforgivable.
When talking about the anticipated fight for gold between the Russian and German couples at Worlds and Olympics, he referred to Volosozhar and GRINKOV.
And not just once – he did it twice. And he very nearly did it a third time. After saying “Volosozhar and…” there was a long pause and then “Trankov”. You could tell that during this pause Chris was frantically holding a sheet of paper in front of Simon’s face with the correct name written on it IN BIG LETTERS.
I know it was an honest mistake. Like, the two surnames are relatively similar – there are only 2 letters in difference, after all.
But, given the fact that poor Sergei is no longer with us, it was very inappropriate. And even worse when you consider that we are only a few weeks away from the 18th anniversary of his death.
I would have hoped that there would have been an apology at the end of the coverage. But I was very disappointed that there was not.
Admittedly, it was not a live broadcast, so an apology may have been one of the things that was edited out to keep within the time constraints. But, I can not imagine Eurosport doing something like that when it was a sensitive issue like this.
If I picked up correctly, Chris and Nicky are doing the commentary today. So, I hope that there is an apology on Simon’s behalf. Or, if Simon is doing the gala, that he makes a point of apologising then.
It is something that I feel really needs to be done.