Olympics TV View: Superstar Mona brightens Miserable Monday for the Irish

BBC mortified as revered medal winners turn the air blue in aftermath of victory

Ireland’s Mona McSharry on her way to  qualifying for the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Japan, Tokyo. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s Mona McSharry on her way to qualifying for the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Japan, Tokyo. Photograph: Inpho

 

That lot across the water were losing count of their medals, labelling the day that was in it ‘Manic Monday’. If you were a kind person, you’d have been happy for them, but sure look, how can you be chuffed for a nation that gave the world Piers Morgan?

At least we had ourselves a ‘Mona Monday’, if no medals just yet, the McSharry woman becoming only the second Irish swimmer to make an Olympic final. It was gas how we heard nary a mention of the first to achieve the feat, the name that must not be spoken.

While we might be somewhat impatiently tapping our fingers on our remote controls waiting for that first medal, the fact is that if they were handed out for post-competing-interviews we’d be level with Japan at the top of the golden leaderboard.

The latest person deserving of a place on the podium was swimmer Brendan Hyland who was a complete dote in his chat with RTÉ’s Paul O’Flynn after he failed to qualify from the heats of the 200m butterfly, but swam his second best ever time. There’s a chance Brendan, who’s a strapping lad, mightn’t appreciate being called a complete dote, but that he is.

“Buzzin’,” he was after coming mighty close to his fastest ever swim, so he was content in the knowledge that he couldn’t have given a whole heap more. But he was getting an even bigger buzz out of the semi-final performance of the Sligo woman.

“Ah, Mona! Mona is a superstar,” he said. “D’you ever see those stories about Ronaldo, his work ethic and his professionalism? That’s what she’s like. She’s phenomenal, she deserves everything she gets. She’ll love it tomorrow – and she’ll smash it.”

Mona was a bit abuzz herself, but she took time to talk to us about our sleep deprivation.

“Go back to bed now for a couple of hours, I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

But there was no chance of that because the women’s skateboarding street final was on, the BBC’s Tim Warwood whipping us in to a frenzy about the occasion.

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The weather there?

“It’s cloudy, it’s overcast, but,” he said, pointing down at Tokyo’s Ariake Urban Park, “you could still chuck a Margarita down there and cook it.”

Why you’d want to cook a Margarita, we’ll never know, but even after being hooked on skateboarding since the sport made its Olympic bow a couple of days ago, 98.4 per cent of it and the chat out of its commentators remains a mystery.

For example, the BBC’s Ed Leigh and Mark Churchill were talking about Zeng Wenhui’s fondness for “throwing herself in to the abyss’ with life-threatening tricks, like when she “overcooked a big backside 50-50”.

“It’s like going upstairs to your bathroom,” said Ed, “and throwing yourself out the window all day – just for fun.”

No clue.

Any way, 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya won gold, 13-year-old Rayssa Leal won silver, and veteran Nakayama Funa (16) took bronze. To put this in context, the combined years the top three have been on this earth equals Leo Varadkar’s age. It was like a crèche on that podium.

In terms of our own medal hopes, we could be looking at a bonanza at Paris 2024 – because anyone who has visited an Irish supermarket car park the past 18 months will know that in or around 80 per cent of our youthful population have been perfecting their big backside 50-50s during lockdown. So, if they can strike gold in Paris, you’d almost forgive them for sending your Bags-for-Life flying when their stray boards came at them like exocet missiles.

Generally, though, it was Miserable Monday for the Irish, our rugby sevens team losing twice, hardly helped by those jerseys which are one of sporting history’s greatest crimes against fashion, our hockey team getting tonked by the Dutch, while Annalise Murphy had her struggles too.

“I’ve been saying work pays off – well it’s not paying off this week,” she said after her sailing woes.

At least she didn’t get nearly mowed down by a stray speedy boat, like the one that came perilously close to decapitating half the starters in the lads’ triathlon.

“What a shambles,” said the Beeb’s Matt Chilton, but that was understating the matter, the danger having been that the sea would end up looking a little like a post-Jaws-visit. Ruby red.

Adam Peaty, though, turned the air blue on the same channel after his 100m breaststroke gold.

“I’m just so f***ing relieved... it’s not who’s the best all year round, it’s the best person on the day who’s the most adaptable and really who f***ing wants it more”. The BBC ended up having to apologise even more profusely than the driver of the triathlon speedy boat.

It was with no little relief that they switched to a chat with cross-country mountain bike gold winner Tom Pidcock.

“I’m happy this s**t is only every four years because it’s f***ing stressful,” he told them.

A Blue Monday.

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