shakalaka-ZAM

Is a word I will use loudly and often when I one day get the call and rise to my inevitable position as Chief Commentator, Winter Olymics (Discipline Specialities: Fuckin all ofem).

I love the winter olympics.

Which is funny, because its the complete opposite to my usual reaction to sport-watching generally. Im just not one of the worlds big sportettes. Sportees. Sportites. Whatever, Im not one of You. In the slightest.

Sboring, sport.

But, the Winter Olympics? Well, it just doesnt FEEL like sport, does it? Its just fun. I mean, unlike football and basketball and rugby and such you dont seem to need a Team to support.

Yes, I hear you, I could be supporting my country, but we dont ever go very big in this particular competition, and wont again, unless theyve suddenly introduced a contest for losing.

No no no, the winter olympics is all about grace, sychronisity, individual human achievement, aesthetics, and about shouting punditry at the telly during WEIRD SPORTS about which we know VERY LITTLE, if anything at ALL. Anyone can do it. Anypne at all.

How to commentate on the Winter Olympics – a beginners guide

Luge

How you can tell its the Luge:Oh, theres only one Luge. Youll spot it no probs, its the people in the full-body condoms on the teatrays. You know the ones. The people going down ridiculous gradients of sheer ice tunnels on their back (and a tea tray) at 100mph.

How to commentate on the Luge

Oooooh! Hes taking the right line, its very smooth, oh yes! Oooooh, thats a good run

You have to say at the start: Its a great start although every few people you can vary this to Its not a great start. As time passes youll learn when to say this with more authority. If they fall off and the teatray starts going down the run without them, thats probably NOT a great start, for example.

Ski Jumping

How you can tell its ski-jumping: This is the one where a bloke sits on a pole on a near vertical wall of icy snow stuff, then someone shouts at him to get off (probably for his own good, because it is a silly thing to do) and he lets go of the pole, slides down the wall, off a ramp, and falls to the ground semi-horizonally. The one who manages to fall the furthest without dying is given a prize.

How to commentate on Ski Jumping

Ooh, that looks like a good jump. Yes, great things are expected of this man, and he loks like hes got a great amount of air under him, and speed behind him, and oh yes, oh yes, thats a big jump. Im not quite sure how far, but its a big old jump. And hes landed without dying – hell get points for that, certainly – and lets wait for the results. OOH! That WAS a big jump, I was right. Shakalaka-ZAM! As my mother used to say

Important note about Ski-jumping: What makes commentating for this discipline easier is the fact that that you never have to worry about gender (because, lets face it, its hard to tell the difference between a man and a woman when theyre all wearing the same skin-tight all-over body-sheath). You never have to worry about gender in ski-jump because there IS no womens ski-jump. Why not? I dont know. Lets imagine its because women arent stupid enough to want to fall off a big snow-wall attached to planks. Makes sense to me.

Speed-skating

How you can tell its speed-skating: Speed-skating involves a bunch of genderless clones who look like a cross between the Missing Link and Captain America. Their inconceivably long arms swinging like the pendulum on Big Ben, they whizz around an ice rink at speeds unknown to humanity (or at least unknown since my 8th birthday party, when someone tied Mandy to the back of the Zamboni with a piece of elastic and watched her try to get away).

If you find yourself trying to commentate on couples sitting at small tables and talking intensely until a bell rings and they all move, then youre trying to commentate on speed-DATING. This is wrong. Change channel.

How to commentate on speed skating

Its basically a case of shouting, a lot, and very fast. Thats it, really. Except in the-long-distance events, where its a case of shouting very fast every so often, when someone falls over, and spending the rest of the time desperately trying to find interesting things to say about speed-skating/speed-skaters without mentioning the size of their packages. Its not easy, I tell you.

On a related note, I was watching some speedskating yesterday when the leader of the pack, a strapping thing by the name of Apollo Ono, was being hotly tipped to win:

And Onos looking good for the finals the commentator was saying Onos on vey good form indeed. But then he fell over. I realised this because the commentator started shouting Ono! Onos in serious trouble now! Ono! O-NO! Which made me laugh a disproportionate amount. Or maybe a proportionate amount, if you look at it in proportion to how much Winter Olympics Id watched already that day and how many brain cells I had left.

Figure skating

How you can tell its figure skating: Figure skating is like speed-skating, except slower. And with less people. And funny hand movements. And musi alright, figure skating is nothing like speed-skating, apart from the fact its on ice. And you can see the outline of quite a lot of peoples penises. It is in the form of dance – which makes it easily scoffed at by men who like their sport hard, fast, bloody and with Balls, but it is also extremely difficult, technically. Apparently.

Most of the time it is an unabashedly hetro pair thing, with one man and one woman flouncing about in skintight things. Sometimes hers has a little skirt, and cut away panels covered in nylon that make it look a lot more daring than it is.

They have to do lots of spins, jumps and things that look like a certain scene in Dirty Dancing. Occasionally the man part of the couple will have to stick his hands up the tiny skirt, carrying his partner in a way that looks not dissimilar to the way one might carry a ventriloquists dummy or a bit part actress in Debbie does a series of Chinese Acrobatic Circuses. This looks very daring, but isnt. There is a good inch of nylon between the man and any real risk of his partner slipping onto his arm, sock-like, and while it is overfamiliar, it is not strictly rude. It is best not to mention this in commentary at all.

How to commentate on figure skating

Oh lovely is a phrase you will be able to use here, and its not often one gets to say that duing a sport commentary, is it? One rarely looks at a rugby player jumping on another rugby players head and says Oh lovely, unless you are odd. Or the Queen, who says it about everything.

This is perhaps one of the easiest of the easy sports to pundit about. If the two people spin round at exactly the same time, they are good. If they do not, they are bad. Oooooh, definite lack of sychronisity between the Finnish couple there, you can say, sounding like you have clue.

Call that a triple toe loop?, you can say. I mean, you dont actually have to know whether it is one or not, you are merely asking your audience a retorical question. Who knows whether it IS a triple toe loop, shall we CALL it one? This is the important thing to remember about Winter Olympics commentary – no matter how little you know about it, 99.9% of your audience know even less. The rest probably have the sound turned down. And are drunk.

The cross-country skiing and shooting one

How you can tell if its the cross-country skiing and shooting one: Because there are a lot of people cross-country skiing and shooting. For about nine years at a time. Skiing, shooting, skiing, shooting, skiing, shooting, ad, literally, infinitum.

How to commentate on the cross-country skiing and shooting one:

Well, this is quite a toughie, really, because, should you get landed the cross-country skiing and shooting one beat, youll have approximately nine whole years to fill with punditry. Or thats how long it feels like, anyway. Thats how long it feels like watching it, anyway.

Luckily, no one except Norweigians can actually sit through the whole thing, so all you have to do is come up with twenty or so convincing sounding phrases, record them onto MP3, set them on random and then go on holiday.

Snowboarding

How you can tell its Snowboarding: Because it is the only sport in which you cannot see the outline of peoples penises. They do not wear all-over prophylactics like everyone else. They wear nice big pyjamas, like all other snowboarders.

And like all other snowboarders, although you may not be able to SEE their penises while theyre out there one the half-pipe being impressive, as soon as they step off the run and find the camera, they just start gurning, mugging and poseuring and simply turn into an enormous bunch of penises, so you dont need to have seen their little boarders, ifyouknowwhatamsayin.

How to commentate on snowboarding

Its the numbers that are important to remember here. Just throw in some numbers. High numbers. Pretend youre calling bingo for Mensa. Ill put these phonetically for the good of your crib notes.

7/20. Thats a good number. Also 900. And 10/80, and also 12/60. You shouldnt need to remember much above that, as anyone able to do a 1500 or above is legally classified a spinning top and thus disqualified.

Now, use those numbers in combination with random cool sounding words. Flip. Fakey. Twist. Shakalaka-ZAM. Zip. Smoothie. Bongo. Fresh. Oop. Bonk. God, what a bunch of idiots.

Winningly, though, you are also to use phrases like : Hes getting a lot of backside air, there. For that sentence alone, snowboarding punditry is a very competitive field to get into. Backside Air. Hahahahahaha.

In general

Remember, people, theres nothing wrong with admitting you havent really got a clue whats going on. Theres nothing wrong with saying youve never seen this particular discipline before, but you think they seem to be doing jolly well at it.

Theres nothing wrong with comparing every aspect of Curling to competitive tennis because, lets face it, thats the only sport you actually know anything about.

And theres nothing, NOTHING wrong with using the phrase; I think hell get a place on the medal plinth with that performance, but lets face it Ive been wrong all day today so far .

Right. Congratulations, youre now a fully qualified Winter Olympics commentator. Now lets all go and work for the BBC.

[Note to the weary reader: You must excuse me if I keep adding to this post, but they seem to keep making up sports.]

[Oh, and Thank you leonie for the inspiration. No crowbars were harmed in the making of this post]