Take a bow Johanna Griggs

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    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.’

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 8:05am
      Nick Symonds said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      The two best quotes I’ve seen to describe the ceremony were that if this closing ceremony doesn’t make those Cameroonian athletes rethink coming to Australia nothing will, and that after seeing that ceremony Australia won’t need to hold a referendum on becoming a republic because the queen would throw us out of the Commonwealth.

      I’d also like to quote Bart Simpson and say that it was “craptacular”.

      I was looking forward to Birmingham, but their presentation left me shaking my head as well.

      The Commonwealth Games have died.

      Let’s join the Asian Games instead, the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. We’re already part of the AFC after all.

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2018 @ 9:30am
        David Lord said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        You can take a bow as well Nick with “craptacular” a spectacular description of the closing ceremony..

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:05am
        I miss the force said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        First Nick symonds comment I have ever agreed with

    • April 16th 2018 @ 8:17am
      Nathan said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      That Bedroom Eyes cover was the worst thing I have ever heard. What the hell was with having Kate Cebrano there while someone sang a bad karaoke version of her song? Not only that, what was with the song choices? Hardly appropriate for the occasion.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:02am
        Nick Symonds said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        They used “I Touch Myself” in the opening ceremony and went with “I Want Your Body” and “Bedroom Eyes” in the closing ceremony, so at least they were going with a consistent theme.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 9:30am
      Marcus said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      I never expect much from opening or closing ceremonies and I only switched over by accident just as the Birmingham Lord Mayor spoke. At least she was pretty quick. As for the next five minutes (could have been 2, felt like an hour), it was nothing short of excruciating. That was it for me.

      But to hear this morning that the athletes were excluded from the coverage, especially Kurt Fearnley carrying the flag – well that is very poor indeed. Fearnley’s post-marathon interview/family hug-fest on the morning coverage was fantastic.

      I am a little torn about the Scottish marathoner and think it is somewhat overblown. Yes he could have received treatment (or at least been given the option of treatment) a little earlier, but not by much. And I reckon he would have refused assistance certainly after the first fall, and most likely for a while after his final one. And he was being assisted/being given the option by the time Michael Shelley passed him. Given Hawkins was “only” 1:42 ahead of Shelley at the 35km mark, the time to get to Hawkins wasn’t enormous. It just looked very bad on TV.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 9:44am
        Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Regarding the marathon, it is tricky because, as I understand it, the moment he receives assistance he is disqualified from competing. Although it was obvious to everyone he was in not state to continue, he may have refused. I question why an offer of medical assistance was not there quicker though. Given the conditions, the first aid teams should have been better prepared it seems.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 10:13am
          Marcus said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          Yes, as soon as someone touches him, he is out.

          Even if he was being shadowed by an ambulance he still would have refused help (and they would have listened to him as he was capable of running at that point) right up until his final fall at the 40k mark. As stated above, there was a relatively small amount of time until assistance got to him at that point. It just looked terrible because the cameras were on him as leader and the crowd was around (filming him on phones…). There were 57 starters in the mens and womens able marathons plus another 16 in the T54s. I read they had aid every 500m near the end. It is pretty hard to do much more than that to cover a marathon course.

          I would be interested to hear when and how first aid was notified there was someone in trouble. Wonder how long it was after that first fall?

          • April 16th 2018 @ 7:12pm
            Nick said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

            I heard a report where it was said the first aid officers were at either end of the bridge. Unless they had some every 100 metres where ever he collapsed it woukd have takena minute or so.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 8:57am
            handles said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

            Not correct. Rules were changed a few years ago (post London Olympics I think), so the officials can give assistance, including water, without a DQ.

            • April 17th 2018 @ 5:23pm
              Marcus said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

              Anything other than a drink, and that has to be from an official, eg. to make contact to give a medical assessment, is a slippery slope between helping to continue and assistance which would earn a warning or a DQ. Would be a very brave person who wasn’t a medico to get involved with a race leader at that time. And a drink wasn’t his problem….

        • April 16th 2018 @ 6:17pm
          Dexter The Hamster said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

          He could have pulled a “Fred Lorz”…..

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 9:50am
      Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Overall, a successful games. For me the stand out feature was the integration of para events. It was wonderful to see the para athletes compete in a full stadium, and the engagement of the crowd was fantastic. I’d love to see this adopted by the Olympic Games organisers, even if logistics prevents a full integration.

      The closing ceremony? Words fail me. I did learn two things about Birmingham though. Their mayor is a Harry Potter fan, and the place is awash with hallucinogen drugs. What the hell was that rap poet on?

    • April 16th 2018 @ 10:22am
      Damo said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      The cynic in me says that Channel 7 wouldn’t of been so critical if it was their own footage. They were very good at making it clear they didn’t have control of what was shown. Makes it a bit easier to cast stones.
      (but I definitely agree it was atrocious)

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 10:36am
        Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        I think they were entitled to make it very clear that it was out of their hands. Most viewers would not understand the complexities of the broadcasting arrangements and would assume that Ch7 have their own team managing it.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 10:51am
          Marcus said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          Bruce was pretty clear about it being the host broadcaster’s coverage when they kept cameras on the Scottish marathoner.

          • Roar Guru

            April 16th 2018 @ 11:17am
            Mango Jack said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            But in that instance CH7 could have cut to the studio, or another event, if they thought it was inappropriate to show it.

            When several spectators started taking photos of him, I though it was pretty gross, but then realised this morning that the broadcasters were doing exactly the same thing. It was compelling TV, even if it was hard to watch. Where do they draw the line here? I’m not sure myself. What if he had gone into cardiac arrest and died? There would have been a huge outcry at the broadcaster then.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 11:19am
      Big Daddy said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

      But surely chanel 7 knew about this long before it ever happened.
      Any one from 7 or Peter Beattie can apologise but the fact remains they still knew or if they did know they never said anything about it.
      T.v. channel’s will always put a spin on everything, you only have too look at the way they promote these reality shows.
      Poor form by chanel 7′.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 1:33pm
        Kris said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        7 would have a running-order timed down to the minute. The ‘protest’ at the end was probably put in their schedule last week.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 2:21am
          Haydos said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:21am | ! Report

          Read the latest press release from Griggs. No mention at all of no athletes being present in the broadcast in their run down meeting a day before. Considering it’s just been the done thing in every other games it would’ve just been expected. From all accounts it sounds as if it were out of ch7’s very restricted hands.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 11:16am
            Kris said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

            And Tracey Holmes says the run down was minute by minute. Now it could be true that no one in the meeting specifically mentioned the athletes not coming in – but I imagine most would have noticed that there was not a 45minute window to allow it to happen.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

        They should update the medal tally. One more gold medal for Australia for “Whingeing”. Big Daddy defending his gold from Glasgow….

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