On Your Bike Beeb

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 16, 2006 | Go to article overview

On Your Bike Beeb


Byline: By Carolyn Hitt

Just when you thought the BBC no longer used The Sally Gunnell Guide to Completely Stupid Questions, Adrian Chiles proved inane sports interviews are still in vogue.

In BBC Sports Personality of the Year, could the chubby Brummie have posed a more ridiculous query to Nicole Cooke than, 'What's it like to fall off your bike?'

If a female presenter had stuck a mic under Lance Armstrong's nose and asked the same question, there would have been uproar.

Mind you, there was uproar in my house. Last Sunday night, my mother was on the phone every 10 minutes fuming, 'They're not showing anything Nicole's done!' Course not. They were too busy showing Zara: The Movie, a compelling tale of royalty, water jumps and mucking out.

Gymnast Beth Tweddle didn't even have to rely on an arty-farty film package for promotion. She was allowed to perform an entire routine of swings and saltos on the asymmetric bars live in the studio.

It's always more difficult for a sportswoman than sportsman to capture the public imagination at these events but Tweddle and Phillips were given fantastic PR by the Beeb.

Not that they didn't deserve the coverage. Both excelled this year, even if no one in Britain, apart from Clare Balding, would be able to name the world three-day event champion if she wasn't the Queen's grand-daughter.

But Cooke also had an incredible year. And she must be wondering what - short of racing her bike across the desk of the BBC head of sport - she has to do to get some attention. The worst of it is Cooke wasn't so much showcased by BBC Sports Personality of the Year as shafted.

The flippancy of the questions belittled her achievement rather than celebrated it. …

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