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Television coverage ‘appalling’

By STEPHON NICHOLAS Thursday, August 14 2008

THE regional television coverage of swimming at the 2008 Beijing Olympics can be described nothing short of embarrassing so far.

The CMC duo of David Farmer and David Peterkin seem quite inept and out of their depth with identifying the elements that are key and providing interesting and accurate swimming reports.

A commentary of one race is the same for all as their “analysis” seems to be restricted to saying “great start” and who touches the wall first - something a spectator can say and see for themselves viewing from their television set around the Caribbean.

Despite the obvious bias of the NBC coverage towards the American athletes, Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines are providing a detailed analysis of each athlete and also give accurate predictions for each race.

Hicks is a respected sportscaster while Gaines is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

And while it is not expected that the regional commentators will be able to reproduce a similar level of commentary and analysis what they have offered thus far is appalling.

They frequently call swimmers by wrong names and even stated once that a result was a world record, though quickly correcting the error embarrassingly saying “Not really, no”.

It is quite obvious that little research has been done by the two before they portrayed themselves as swimming analysts and commentators to the Caribbean who they might think deserve no better. Aside from the superstars such as Natalie Coughlin, Leisel Jones and their favourite Michael Phelps they seem not to know too much or anything about the other Olympians.

The public in the Caribbean has become increasingly interested in the sport of swimming due to the success of TT’s George Bovell III at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and it is no longer acceptable that our regional commentators only be versed in the sport of track and field.

Anil Roberts, former coach of Bovell III, described the commentary as “the worst in the history of all sports events be it radio or television”. “They continue to feed the public with misinformation and mix up heats and events,” he blasted.

“They did not even know that Katie Hoff broke the world record in the 400 IM at the US Olympic Trials,” Roberts charged. The outspoken coach noted that Farmer and Peterkin wrongly described a 400m race as a sprint and stated that he prefers the NBC coverage even though it favours the Americans. “Let them be bias towards their citizens at least they are 100 percent accurate and insightful,” he pointed out.

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