View from the Couch: Big ‘Father Ted’ joke until the wheelchair picture

Failure’s easier to interview than success - Cheerleader or journalist. There’s a fine line

OCI President Pat Hickey is escorted from hospital on Thursday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

OCI President Pat Hickey is escorted from hospital on Thursday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Nothing to be done. Dusted off the flat screen 15 days ago.

Transformed living room into darkened cockpit to pilot this Olympic spaceship. Hard days and nights, waiting. For the basketball. For the lightning bolt. For beach volleyball in the rain. For whatever we missed when showering or eating or other distractions.

Four screens for four channels so only truly attentive when our puppeteers, Joanne and Gabby, are stringing pundits along. Waiting for misery in the ring. Watching Joanne channel the steely gazes of Bernard and Carruth. Blood boiling boxers, not angry at her, but at the injustice of it all. The questions always matter. Calling Jerry out for tossing a blanket of corruption over it all. “Evidence, Jerry?”

Provoke, stoke the ire, douse any flames of garrulity. Bill used to do this. The O’Herlihy school of “Comeheretome” journalism. All very Irish, honest to goodness anchoring. Quote of The Games will forever be what Evanne Ní Chuilinn elicited from Conlan: “Michael, you have a lot to get off your chest after that?”

Conlan’s rage edges out Skibbereen’s Steak Brothers (despite the O’Donovans’ worldwide domination of Facebook timelines). The questions always matter.

David Gillick earned his stripes. Those lads-who-know-each-other-meeting-on- foreign-soil interviews with Thomas Barr. How does it feel to be on your own? And Claire McNamara showing the benefit of those Brian Cody exchanges when sharing purgatory with Annalise as Irish sailing folk made sacrifices to the Anemoi.

Failure is easier to interview than success. You always have a choice: cheerleader or journalist. Fine line amidst this jingoism. What to believe? 43.03 from lane eight? Sonia is pleased so maybe Wayde is real. Maybe some unblemished purity belongs to these Olympic Games.

Then came August 17th, 2016: One big Father Ted joke until that wheelchair picture. Until Bangu 10. Hickey arrested. Gubu. Conlan’s Russian unable to fight. Billy Walsh tells us his American gets a bye. Billy. Jesus. Conlan on Copacabana beach with his family. “Cheats. They are paying everybody.” Shattered dreams. A video of Pat. Dark arts at play now.

Stumbling

Image of the day, perhaps The Games, is of a naked 71-year-old Irish man. Of course it’s not at all. To Brazilians it is Neymar stumbling that rapid goal.

NBC is distracted by Ryan Lochte fibs. He gets out of Rio before police can eye ball him (Breaking: Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger are pulled off flights and withdraw statements about being robbed at gun point. Vandalism admitted).

“No apologies from [Lochte] or the other athletes are needed,” says Mario Andrada, the Rio 2016 embattled spokesman. “We need to understand that these kids were trying to have fun. They made a mistake. It’s part of life. Life goes on.”

White swimmers’ lives matter. The 32-year-old kid escapes then apologises.

But this is the Olympic Games so we are quickly distracted by new alchemy. True story: you can rerun a relay race if you are from the USA and somebody bumps your golden girl? China never forgets.

The ads always send us back to Gabby. And anyway Joanne is away home. Round and round we go. Trapped like a gerbil in the five-ring labyrinth. True story: you can stop a taekwondo bout to check if a single blow was landed! Jade Jones’s early kick to the head of Spain’s Eva Calvo Gomez was unsuccessfully challenged as the Bodelwyddan girl retained her Olympic title.

Jade is wonderful: “Me coach is a psycho. It is all down to him.”

More folk in Croke Park on Leinster football final day than this Olympic stadium. It’s been raining. Usain is disgusted with 19.79. Sure the late Pietro Mennea ran 19.72 in 1979. Washed up (BBC Phil does not say)? “When I came into the straight my body wouldn’t respond to me. I am getting older.”

Wheeled away

Image of day, perhaps The Games, is the 71-year-old being wheeled away. Of course it’s not at all. To Brazilians it is their beach volleyballers spiking in the witching hour.

Well? Shall we go? Yes, let’s go to bed. We do not move. The reward is a Gabby gem at 3.05am: “United States, 25 track medals...this has been pretty good for you guys.” Michael Johnson: “This US team has been led by the women.”

Gabby (purposely drawling): “Well said. I don’t think we can argue with that, Denise? Michael has kind of admitted that we are the stronger sex.”

Des Lynam eat your heart out. Denise cackles in delight: “Who runs the world, eh, Mike?” Mike: “Girls.”

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