Friday, August 22, 2008

Bronze is for losers

Did anyone see Paddy Barnes' Olympic boxing semi-final at noon today? Most of you will have been at work or busy with other stuff so there's a report and video of it here. The poor little fella (I call him that not in a patronising way but because I am literally twice his weight and would still get my ass kicked by him so it makes me feel better) lost 15-0 to a Chinese boxer but stll gets a bronze medal for having made it to the semis. Interviewed straight after the fight by that irritating Marty Morrissey a clearly gutted Barnes gave out about the judges having failed to give him a single point (he was probably right but all the generosity in the world wouldn't have changed the outcome of that fight). Morrissey tried to console him with a sentence of along the lines of "Sure, you've got a bronze medal anyway, haven't you done terribly well?"

Barnes' response endeared him to me hugely: "Sure they can keep that for all I care." At this awkward point the embarrassingly bad Morrissey asked him to repeat what he'd just said and he goes "Bronze medals are for losers." Morrissey insanely pursued his line of telling him how great it was too get one, clearly unaware that only 20 minutes earlier the young man would have been standing in his dressing room dreaming of a gold medal around his neck and a welcoming ceremony on the streets of Belfast. He may well get that last part anyway. But, in this context, he's absolutely right about bronze medals being for losers. Both beaten semi-finalists get one. If ever there was a good example as to why there should be a bronze medal pay-off in boxing it was that. Wounded and beaten semi-finalists would get a chance to avenge their honour and proud sportsmen like Barnes would be able to feel like they had earned that bronze medal. Or not, as the case might be. How can you be third if there are two of you? Plenty of Olympic sports, such as football, hockey and tennis have bronze medal play-offs so why not in boxing?

And when will TV channels learn that it is unfair to interview athletes straight after a devastating defeat (and devastating is the nature of all defeats to real competitors)? Barnes will almost certainly learn to be thankful for his bronze medal but why did RTÉ have to help turn it into a moment of shame for him?

8 comment(s):

Rosie said...

because it makes for good television?

Longman Oz said...

The answer lies in your post. You saw it, you reacted to it. No marketing executive in TV-land with ads to sell will ever see that as a bad thing for business.

Simply put, post-event analysis and interviews are just a handy way for television channels to squeeze a few more ad breaks out of their audiences before the latter turn the telly off. If you are that appalled, really the best thing that you can do is to stop watching!

B said...

I hate Morrissey so it was great.

That's the Marty blend of Morrissey, not the Stephen Patrick edition.

Andrew said...

Rosie - I don't find it makes for particularly good television, though I suppose I did laugh.

Longman Oz - thanks for the comment. I reacted to it, but then I react to lots of things. and I think I switched to the BBC at the ad break, as any sensible person would do. I wasn't appalled, I just think it's a bit unnecessary. If anything I was amused.

B Heaven knows, Marty's miserable know.

B said...

Heaven knows Andrew's blushing now, cos of his awful wordplay.

narocroc said...

I must preface this by saying... I hate Morrissey. The Stephen Patrick one. And that Marty Morrissey is possibly the funniest-looking human being I've ever met. And only in Ireland would he be on TV. A face for radio. And a voice for the deaf.

And yes it made for tough viewing. Tougher than the fight itself! I felt sorry for the lad but I admired his unwillingness to be happy with bronze. Too often us Irish have been delighted to be gallant losers. It's something I wish we could shed and I hope Kenneth Egan can prove to be the opposite.

On another note, in tae-kwan-do and other sports, those defeated in semi-finals fight for bronze. I don't see why boxing should be any different.

tinman18 said...

I think they feel that it's not safe for someone who's lost a bout to fight again just 2 days later. If you've been beaten 15-0 in just 4 rounds there's always a chance you sustained some damage, so why risk it, just give them both a bronze.

As regards the interview, I remember George Hamilton telling Jack Charlton what a great job he'd done after we lost in the quarter-finals and Jack just saying "I'm not enjoying this" and just walking off.

It's enough to just show sport now - they have to find some kid in the crowd crying when his team have just been beaten.

Andrew said...

B - nope, quite proud of it actually.

Narocroc - I used to hate him but I caame round to him in quite a big way, even though I do recognise that he's a bit of a tool. Great songs though.

Tinman - welcome to Chancing my Arm. that's a fair point about injury, it had crossed my mind. But it's entirely plausible that a winning boxer might have sustained an injury too. That English guy who fought Sutherland certainly had a fair old shiner on him. If a boxer was really hurt their medical team wouldn't let them fight anyway.