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Writing left handed, my chip hat and the attack of the seagulls – The controversial BBC commentary on the Olympic Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle

By 11/02/2014March 14th, 2018No Comments

It’s become more controversial than Justin Bieber’s driving licence and Miley Cyrus’ Twerking… The BBC commentary on the Olympic Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle has attracted over 300 complaints to the BBC from outraged viewers. Yet many viewed the commentary of Ed, Aimee and Tim as the ushering of a new era of sports commentary that is perfectly reflective of snowboarding. It’s caused more polarisation of opinion within the Brandwave office than a Marmite toastie. This is what Brandwave Account Manager; Ollie Robinson has to say about it.

For those of you that follow us on Facebook, you would have seen our post last night regarding the controversy surrounding the Olympic Snowboard Slopestyle commentary. It certainly caused quite a stir. Here are my thoughts on the matter….

If anything like me, you were glued to the TV on Sunday morning, tea in hand, watching Jenny Jones make history by winning Bronze in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle. Team GB’s first medal in Sochi and a first ever on snow! However it would seem that the commentary was not to everyone’s taste and has come under fire for being childish, unprofessional and somewhat biased.

Phrases were put out there such as; “riding switch is like writing left-handed while wearing a chip hat and being attacked by seagulls” and “I can feel the pulse in my lower intestine”. I think it’s a given that this style of commentary may not resonate with everyone but it was appropriate and reflective of the sport. It brought home the passion, evoked excitement and highlighted the camaraderie between the athletes.

Granted, they slipped up and should of reined in the cheering during Anna Gasser’s last run. Kind of a big no no in sports commentary. But it’s also obvious that they got caught up in the moment as Jones’ chance of a medal was pretty much guaranteed.

Sochi 2014: Tim Warwood, Aimee Fuller and Ed Leigh
Photo Credit:

Anyway, whoever said displaying bias support towards Team GB and excitement in the commentary box was a bad thing? Cast your minds back to Denise Lewis and Colin Jackson when Mo Farrah brought home 5000m gold in 2012 or Murray Walker’s voice when Damon Hill was crowned F1 champion in 1996, did anyone complain about that? Lets all just lighten up shall we, allow the commentators to express some enthusiasm and celebrate a great sporting achievement.

I think we also need to remember what BBC stands for. Of course Ed, Aimee and Tim are going to have a slight bias towards Team GB. Why shouldn’t they be ecstatic and forget the stiff upper lip when a British athlete makes history? After all, it’s an incredible achievement considering we live on an island where the closest thing you can find to a snow park is in a shopping centre in Milton Keynes!

Mendip Snowsport Centre where Jones had her first snowboarding taster – Photo Credit: Bristol Post

In my eyes, what Ed Leigh, Aimee Fuller and Tim Warwood delivered from the commentary box was nothing short of brilliance. Passionate and emotive commentary is a rarity these days and it was so quite frankly, refreshing to hear. Here’s to the rest of the Games!

Jenny Jones podium celebration – Photo Credit: BBC Sport

Oliver Robinson