BBC sorry for Olympian's Irish gaffe
The BBC has apologised after former Olympian Daley Thompson commented that a tattooist who misspelled the word Olympics must have been Irish.
Thompson made his remark during Thursday's One Show after he was shown a picture of the torch bearer who had "Oylmpic torch bearer" tattooed on her arm at which point the decathlon gold-medalist said the tattooist must have been Irish.
Presenter Matt Baker corrected Thompson, saying incident happened in the United States and apologised, while a second presenter repeated the apology at the end of the show.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted a BBC spokesman as saying: "We've received complaints from some viewers unhappy with a comment made by Daley Thompson during The One Show on Thursday 19 July 2012."
"Thompson['s] comments about this were clearly meant as a joke but we apologise if any offence was caused, it certainly wasn't our intention," the newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying.
Jenny McShannon, chief executive of the Federation of Irish Societies, which works to support and develop an empowered Irish community in Britain, said the federation was "surprised and disappointed" by the comment, which she labelled "unnecessary and totally out of keeping with the spirit of the Olympics".
Daley Thompson with fellow former athlete Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games. Photograph: Reuters
The federation have called on Thompson to apologise for the comment. Ms McShannon said Thompson, who is a contender to carry the London Olympic cauldron at Friday's opening ceremony, "needs to demonstrate a commitment" to the diversity of the population of Britain.
"There are people of Irish descent in Team GB and I'm sure they wouldn’t' expect to have their heritage commented on in such a way," she said.
The incident is the second controversy to have involved Thompson within the past week. A war of words arose between Thompson and Steve Redgrave, who won rowing golds at five consecutive Olympics, over who should light the London Olympic cauldron at Friday's Olympic 2012 opening ceremony after Thompson said that athletics was a much tougher sport than rowing.
Redgrave was bookmakers' favourite to perform the symbolic act with double decathlon gold medal winner
Thompson (53), who is a close friend of London 2012 chief and double Olympic 1,500 metres champion Sebastian Coe told the Daily Telegraph that, in his opinion, "Sebastian Coe is the second greatest Olympian, after myself".
"Steve Redgrave is not in the same class as Seb Coe. He is a rower, but I think track and field is the toughest sport in the Olympics, which means the rewards are greater."