TV View: You’ve been warned, backside rodeos are dangerous

When you think of Donnybrook and Pyeongchang there really are many similarities

Marcus Kleveland of Norway takes a rtumble during the Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle Final on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Marcus Kleveland of Norway takes a rtumble during the Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle Final on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

 

“It’s Winter Olympics weather here in Donnybrook,” said Daire O’Brien while he, Fiona Steed and Lynne Cantwell battled frostbite at their pitchside table. But, while you wouldn’t doubt that it was chilly, it was positively balmy next to what Radzi Chinyanganya was enduring at the other side of the world.

“Hewoe, wehcom to Kowea.”

If Radzi had even attempted to say ‘welcome to Pyeongchang’ he’d have had to ingest some anti-freeze to get his lips separated again, the BBC man’s ability to communicate severely hampered by the elements. He wasn’t alone, though. Most of his colleagues were struggling too, their makeup apparently freezing on their faces, which explained why they had a Botoxy look about them.

But Radzi bravely battled on and told us that it was a very good thing that it was cold “because it’s the Winter Olympics”. You could see his Blue Peter training in that piece of information, he even said it really slowly, although he stopped short of showing us how to make a ski slope with an empty Fairy Liquid bottle, cotton wool and sticky back plastic.

Incidentally, not only does Radzi present Blue Peter, he’s also hosted Songs of Praise and Celebrity Eggheads, which shows he’s capable of adapting to any telly-presenting challenge. This one, though, might have been his toughest yet, certainly temperature wise.

“We want to know why you’re up in the early hours,” he said, sounding a little judgemental, like if you were still sitting in front of your telly watching the men’s Snowboard Slopestyle final when the milkman arrived, you were a loser. “Are you a shift worker,” he asked. “Are you a super fan? Are you related to one of the athletes? Is one of your children keeping you up? Or are you coming back from a night out?” Nosey or what? It was turning in to an interrogation.

Tim Warwood and Ed Leigh didn’t ask any questions of us at all, they just got on with the business of trying to explain what this Slopestyle thing is all about so that we’d be marginally less confused watching the final than we might have been.

Tim and Ed are so enthusiastic about the Winter Olympics it’s infectious, although on listening to Jenny Jones back in the studio, the infection might stop short of actually persuading you to take up a winter sport. “Not everyone wants to wear Lycra and travel at speeds of 100 mph,” she said, which is true.

But you wouldn’t mind having been born to Slopestyle like these lads, the final jaw-droppingly fabulous. Except for wonderkid Marcus Kleveland whose hopes of a medal were torpedoed when he landed on his bottom. Or as Tim put it, “the switch backside 1080 is his undoing!” It’s a language with which few of us are familiar.

Ed had sensed trouble ahead for Marcus because of the weight of expectation, noting that “he’s literally taking a bath in a pressure cooker right now”, which you hoped wasn’t literally true, and warned him to “take it easy on the backside rodeo”. And which one of us hasn’t been warned about the backside rodeo in our time?

It was American Red Gerard, no relation to Stevie G, who triumphed, him with an abominable birthdate of June 29, 2000. “I don’t even know what’s going on right now, maaaaan, I’m stoked,” he said, in the most snowboardy interview ever. Tim could only salute him. “Essentially he turned up with a packet of crayons and delivered a Monet.”

You could have said much the same about Mícheál ó Muircheartaigh’s commentating. His most oft quoted line, of course, “his father’s from Fermanagh, his mother’s from Fiji – neither a hurling stronghold.” And who should he turn up with on Saturday’s Ray D’Arcy Show? Only Seán óg ó hAilpín himself.

A very lovely chat it was with the pair, too, one of the highlights when Ray broached the subject of Seán óg going in to politics.

“Who’s been flirting with you,” he asked. “You were linked to Fianna Fail?”

“Yerra,” said Seán óg, “I’ve been linked to Al Qaeda, you name it.”

If he wants a seat in Cork North-Central, best he stick with the Soldiers of Destiny, maybe.

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