No sign of a Jacks or even a Spillane as the 2012 Olympic Superstars fail to shine
TV VIEW:They say we should never go back but the BBC’s 2012 Olympic Superstars was hard to resist
Cripes: Squat thrusts. Remember them? You know, back in the 80s? According to Wikipedia, Brian Jacks did 118 of them in the 1980 World Superstars final, before becoming king of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
But, it being Wikipedia, that last bit might not be true, even if it’s way more plausible than doing 118 squat thrusts.
Jacks, older readers will recall, was a judo person who was the most famous man on planet earth for those who’d have preferred to miss their dinner than Superstars. He was a pocket rocket of a beast, blessed with an indefatigable engine, an unrivalled golden perm and massive strength.
So, when vintage clips of him doing his Superstars thing popped up on the screen on Saturday evening it was a nostalgia trip like no other, Gabby Logan informing the younger viewers that the man was a Grade A legend.
Wikipedia says he started a bouncy castle-hiring company in 1990 and is now running a hotel in Thailand, which could mean he’s an accountant in Macclesfield, although there is a link to a 2004 Thai newspaper article that shows him performing magic tricks for guests at a charity event in Pattaya. So, it might be true.
They do say we should never go back but still, it was impossible to resist the BBC’s 2012 Olympic Superstars, lest a new Brian Jacks emerge.
Mo Farah, though, just proved he’s rubbish at most stuff, other than speedily running, although he was handy enough at archery, scoring a “spider”, which means he hit the bulls eye, unlike several of his Olympic colleagues who merely endangered the lives of the viewing public with their stray arrows.
And Mo, in fairness, was second in the javelin, several places ahead of rower Andrew Triggs Hodge who failed to register a score, his spear landing tail first every time.
“Unfortunately, a little bit of sad news for us,” said Gabby’s fellow presenter Iwan Thomas, which left you worrying that Andrew’s stray javelin had actually pierced someone.
Happily it was only word that another rower, Katherine Grainger, had banjaxed her shoulder while squat thrusting.
Somewhere in Pattaya, Brian Jacks was shaking his head. By now you were left half pining for Pat Spillane, and it’s not very often you say that. Pat was Ireland’s Brian Jacks in the ’70s, his hair as golden, though minus the curls. He represented our nation in the World Superstars final in 1978, the Bahamas sun making it entirely unnecessary for the commentators to introduce him to the crowd as the Irish champion due his exposed skin having turned maroon immediately beneath the hems of his sleeves and shorts.
Sadly, Pat didn’t triumph – if he did, Joe Brolly still wouldn’t be hearing the end of it – the sun getting the better of him, but there were no such weather problems in Bath, Anthony Joshua and Helen Glover emerging victorious under the grey, drizzly skies.
It was all friendly and jolly too, which was a grave disappointment, the Telegraph reminding us yesterday of the days when Superstars was a grave and serious business. Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, for example, put oil on the soles of his shoes in the 1981 World Finals to assist his squat thrusting, flummoxed officials kindly requesting that he desist. “Show me the rule that says I can’t,” he barked.
Jody now passes his days as an organic farmer in Hampshire, his goal in life to produce a biodynamic sparkling wine. So says Wikipedia. For all we know, he could be running a bakery with Brian Jacks and Pat Spillane in Ballybunion, the trio squat-thrusting while the croissants bake.