Breathless Sochi snowboarding commentary veers out of control

Shouting for the home side takes on new meaning in Sochi broadcast

Great Britain’s Jenny Jones: basically just a walking fossil at the age of 33. Photograph: Reuters

Great Britain’s Jenny Jones: basically just a walking fossil at the age of 33. Photograph: Reuters

Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 10:00

‘Woooooooah, backside rodeo! This is what we like!”

“Look at the stomp on that!”

“Backside five!”

“This is massive!”

Ooooh, those arms are going down, winding down the windows!”

“Frontside seven!”


“Like a squirrel flying through the air!”

It could quite easily have been Ryle Nugent and Donal Lenihan during Saturday’s Six Nations tussle with Wales, Peter O’Mahony’s backside rodeos particularly impressive, but it was in fact what Winter Olympics-watchers woke to yesterday morning: the BBC commentary team of Ed Leigh, Tim Warwood and Aimee Fuller bringing us the women’s snowboarding slopestyle final in Sochi.

Pretty darn glorious stuff it was too, especially those bits when they sloped heavenwards and you wondered if they’d ever come down again.

Old fogey
Jenny Jones was Britain’s representative in the final, hence the excitement

, but earlier Ed didn’t appear to hold out much hope of a medal for her when Hazel Irvine asked him if he thought “her best days are behind her”. He paused, grimaced and replied: “It’s a really difficult one, Jenny will forgive me for saying this, in snowboard slopestyle terms she is nearing Jurassic, 33 is very old.”

By the time she was half way through her second run, though, he was beginning to wonder if the oldie would win a goldie. “I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine,” he told us.

“Solid! Solid!” hooted Aimee. “Solid! Solid!” roared Tim. “Solid! Solid!” howled Ed. So you gathered solid was a very good thing in slopestyle.

Poor old Jenny, though, had to wait what appeared to be a lifetime for her score.

Tim: “I’ve got the shakes!”

Ed: “This is torturous!”

Aimee: “Come on!”

Ed: “I think they’re getting a phone call off the queen!”

Aimee: “I wonder if the queen is watching?”

If she was, she most probably high-fived her Corgis when Jenny was scored 87.25 points, enough to put her in the lead, the BBC trio going ballistic.

“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh,” was the gist of their response, at which point Ed tried to calm things down. “We’re live on the BBC, let’s keep our composure, we don’t want to be fired.”

Silence. Then, Tim: “I can’t feel my left leg. Is that normal?”

With 10 competitors to go his right leg possibly went numb, his greatest challenge trying to sound upset when someone ended on their tail end. A few did. And not of the rodeo kind either, so that was their medal hopes banjaxed.

America’s Jamie Anderson and Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi pushed Jenny down to third, with one competitor to go, Austria’s Anna Gasser. By now you suspected Tim was gnawing his left leg, and probably Ed and Aimee’s too.

Tiresome and emotional
And then? Anna bottomed out, so to speak, the BBC trio desperately sorry for her. “Whoooooo Hoooooooo

!” they all whoo-hooed. “Oooh I say,” Dan Maskell might have sighed disapprovingly if he was watching from on high.

“This has been one of the most emotional events I have ever commented on,” said Ed. And you feared for him if he ever had to commentate on anything more emotional.

So, bronze for Jurassic Jenny, but if Ireland maintain form it’ll be Six Nations gold.


“Wales will win,” said George the Hook, so you knew it was going to be a good day. And so it proved: Ireland 26, Wales 3.


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