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SBD Global/July 30, 2012/Media

The BBC Apologizes For Its Men's Olympic Cycling Road Race Coverage

Cyclists ride along Box Hill in the men's road cycling race Saturday in London.
The BBC had to apologize for its coverage of the men's Olympic cycling road race Saturday after "it was savaged by viewers angry at the repeated mistakes, poor audio and lack of graphics," according to Daniel Boffey of the London GUARDIAN. The BBC's team -- Chris Boardman, Jill Douglas, Ed Leigh, Hugh Porter and Jamie Staff -- repeatedly made mistakes, with some viewers claiming a low point came when they told "bronze, fourth and fifth had gone to riders who actually came about 30th, 31st and 32nd." Gary Lineker, who is presenting much of the Games, also apologized for the camera work, tweeting: "This is the Olympics. The coverage is from a pool of broadcasters from across the world. I'm afraid that's how it is regardless of who hosts." The quality of coverage triggered an avalanche of derision on Twitter (GUARDIAN, 7/28).

GET OFF YOUR PHONES: Also in London, Paul Kelso reported that with around 1 million people lining the roads for the Olympic road race "the mobile network used by broadcasters became jammed by the mobile traffic," preventing organizers from receiving crucial timing and positional updates. An IOC spokesperson suggested that spectators watching Sunday's women's race should only send 'urgent' social media updates to avoid a repeat. Coverage of the first major event of the Games for the domestic audience was "undermined by an appalling service" from the Olympic Broadcast Service, which was unable to provide crucial information to commentators. The IOC said that "the problem was caused by the mobile network used by OBS becoming jammed, so that GPS data from the competitors' bikes could not be received" (TELEGRAPH, 7/29).

BBC GETTING IT RIGHT: In London, Euan Ferguson reported that the BBC "seems to be getting this so right." Coverage of the Olympics so far "has been near perfect." It was clear from the very start of coverage on Wednesday that the "whole corporation's team has either very good knowledge or very good crib-sheets, or most likely both." Sometimes even "too much information." On Friday, 27 million Brits watching so much brilliance, "utterly altered seven years of cynicism" (GUARDIAN, 7/28).

GOLDEN RULES: In Sydney, Michael Idato reported that the Nine Network "fails on golden rules" of commentating the Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games. The first is to read from the notes without sounding like you are reading from the notes. The second is not to blow the twist. Nine hosts Eddie McGuire and Leila McKinnon failed on both. McGuire, with very few exceptions, "sounded like he was reading slabs of text" off a page of pre-printed notes (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/29). 
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