For the last two decades, Johanna Griggs has been a top quality presenter at Channel Seven, but last night she surpassed herself with a stinging attack on the host broadcaster at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
“I’m furious,” Griggs began.
“People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes, or the flag-bearer Kurt Fearnley coming on.
“We’re the Australian rights holder, but we can only show the pictures provided by the host broadcaster.
“They made the decision not to show the pictures of the athletes entering the stadium, they made the decision not to show the flag bearers, they are wrecking a tradition that is part of the Commonwealth Games.
“You want to see the athletes come in, you want to see them jumping in front of camera.
“The organising committee, together with the host broadcaster, just didn’t get it right.
“It was a mistake, we missed out on that but I tell you, they have been repaid, there are no athletes in here, ad I’ve never seen the stadium so empty.”
So who were the host broadcasters?
NEP Host Broadcast, formerly Global Television.
According to their website, “NEP Host Broadcast is also responsible for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), which is the nexus of all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming video and audio from the venues and distributing it to broadcast rights-holders’ home countries.”
So it was NEP Host Broadcast that Griggs took aim at – and sure didn’t miss.
The host broadcaster made an inexcusable and tacky decision by failing to cover the celebrations of a successful Games, where nine world records and 91 Games records were set.
And there was another major downside.
Never give politicians an even break, or they will turn an international sporting event into a political tally.
That’s exactly what former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie did as chairman of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation, wafting on well over time in the closing ceremony proceedings.
Not to be outdone, current Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk carried on, as did the lord mayors of the Gold Coast and Birmingham, where the 22nd Comm Games will be held in four years’ time.
Boring, boring, boring – and not an athlete in sight.
There should have been many Australian gold medalists in the stadium, so as to cut away to their beaming faces and minimise the politicians.
With 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze, the Australians finished well ahead of England’s 45-45-46-136, but short of the 2006 record medal tally in Melbourne of 84-69-69-222.
Yesterday was the 11th and final day of competition with mixed results for the hosts.
They brilliantly took out the para-marathon double with Kurt Fearnley and Maddie de Rozario, plus the men’s marathon with defending champion Michael Shelley successful.
Those were the heroics, but on the other side of the coin the inordinate time delay to assist Scotland’s Callum Hawkins, who was leading the men’s marathon by suburbs when he dramatically collapsed from heat exhaustion, was inexcusable, and the shock defeats of the Hockeyroos and Australian women’s rugby sevens took some gloss off the day.
But the real gold medal of the day belongs to Johanna Griggs for telling it the way it was, with the gold medal quote of the Games to Australian trap shooter Laetisha Scanlan.
While celebrating her 29th birthday after successfully retaining her Glasgow gold, but facing the prospect shooting will be dropped from the Birmingham Games, Scanlan replied, “That means I’m going out with a bang, if you pardon the pun.”
No pardon required Laetisha, the comment was superb.
EDITOR’S NOTE: NEP has issued a statement to The Roar.
‘There were some early, incorrect, media reports and social media comments about the role of the host broadcaster – NEP Australia – in the Closing Ceremonies.
NEP was not involved in the creative elements of the ceremony, rather, simply broadcast it. The broadcast content itself came under the control of the Games organisers, GOLDOC.
The Games organisers made the decision that the athletes would enter the arena during the pre-show, which is not broadcast.
The pre-show means the show that only goes to the big screen at the stadium, to entertain the crowds attending the Closing Ceremony. The Host Broadcaster played no part in the pre-show and therefore had no footage of it.
Traditionally athletes would enter during the television broadcast, and on this occasion, the Games Organisers made a change.’