Tom Pidcock Commentary Fail: Who Should Commentate?

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It’s no secret that there has been disappointment over coverage from mountain biking at the Tokyo Olympics. From helicopter noises to cutting footage at the end of races. There has also been a lot of dissatisfaction surrounding the commentary at the races.

This is bound to be the case, as mountain bikers we only want the sport to be shown in its best light. We will also stand in defence of other professionals to say that their knowledge is most often broad rather than specialised. But should this be the case? Shouldn’t every sport have experts to elevate the coverage? This argument is a lot deeper than it seems on the surface, of course, it is rarely ever simple.

Tom Pidcock
Tom Pidcock in Nove Mesto. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool.

Following a Twitter post from Channel 5 News in which fellow Olympian, Jade Johnson calls Tom Pidcock, “a bit jammy,” there has been some backlash about the comment that suggests he has only been “doing it a few months.”

Although Channel 5 are at fault here. We can forgive if it’s not Jade’s area of expertise, but perhaps more research could have been done in order for the presenter to direct the conversation. There’s also no harm in saying you don’t know something. Time is often short when finding people who can come on to give comment, as it is during the broadcast, so there will often be gaps in people’s knowledge.

Tom’s Gold Medal

In comparison, Rob Warner gets interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live, and of course, given his knowledge and experience, gives a great insight into who Tom Pidcock is.

With that in mind, who would be your pick for commentating at future Olympic mountain bike events? And who would you bring in as an expert to discuss athletes?


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Who is Tom Pidcock?

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  • This topic has 75 replies, 53 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Houns.
Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 75 total)
  • Tom Pidcock Commentary Fail: Who Should Commentate?
  • Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    It does need to be dumbed down a bit for the olympics due to the broader range of viewers.

    On Monday morning my colleague, who has never previously expressed any interest in a sport that wasn’t football rugby or cricket knew who pidcock was.

    Premier Icon James Wilkinson
    Free Member

    My personal favourite was when the commentator called him Tim Podcock

    Premier Icon whatyadoin sucka
    Free Member

    a bit jammy?, he battled hard for his gold, and his previous race performance shows he’s a winner.

    BBC coverage was a bit cringe when they asked something akin to ‘you must have been dreaming of this day / olympic gold’ to which his response ‘no not really’ :0)

    my mantra at work is not to comment on things i know little about..
    its served me well

    i had to google who JJ was, good on her for making 2 games, massive achievement in itself.

    Premier Icon Clink
    Full Member

    It does need to be dumbed down a bit for the olympics due to the broader range of viewers.

    I disagree – is road cycling coverage ‘dumbed down’? A mountain biker might few use a few technical terms, but that happens in most of the sports covered.

    Premier Icon brant
    Full Member

    The culture wars continue.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    You know, if this highlights anything, it’s how Rob has grown into the role of being the UK’s (un)official mountain bike race commentator. I can’t really imagine watching any XC or DH without him and the BBC missed a trick (perhaps his RB contract prohibits it, who knows?) by not getting him involved.

    Having said that, I don’t want to get into slating folk for what must be a pretty hard thing to do, I don’t think I could talk sensibly for a few hours about a race; and probably knowing there’s a) not much love for what you’re doing, even if your best and b) not much of an audience at that time in the morning for what is still a pretty niche event.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    I only caught the last couple of laps of both Men’s & Women’s – who were the commentary team for the BBC?
    They were a bit erm dead pan…….

    Warner would be great as he commentates on it all the time.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I disagree – is road cycling coverage ‘dumbed down’? A mountain biker might few use a few technical terms, but that happens in most of the sports covered.

    No but the only people who watch road cycling outside of the Tour de France are people interested in / knowledgeable about road cycling. Therefore, when commentating on Paris-Nice for example (a race that virtually no-one outside of “the cycling community” will know about), you can talk technical stuff as much as you want. Although even then it’s not exactly thrill a minute stuff, personally I like some info about the scenery.

    The Olympics is completely different. People watch it because it’s the Olympics, not because they’re actually interested in or knowledgeable about canoe slalom or handball or horse prancing.

    I was working in the velodrome during London 2012 and it was a completely different crowd to the sort of people you get at a Revolution or a Track World Cup. A lot didn’t have a clue about it, they just wanted to be part of the Games, cheer on the home team and enjoy the atmosphere. As a result the commentary had to be different, it had to go back to basics and state what to a track cycling fan would be simple basic facts.

    Issues with the MTB commentary are that it did neither of those things; it was not detailed enough for MTB fans nor basic / entertaining enough for armchair spectators who’d turned it on going “what sport is on today then?” It was basically just drivel and cliches.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Full Member

    Rob and Bart without doubt.
    Not only are they the tried and tested voices of world cup xco, but Bart as the first ever winner of xco at the Olympics commentating would be perfect for the occasion.

    Premier Icon mrlebowski
    Free Member

    Nick Craig? Oli Beckingsale? Both GB MTB Olympians..

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Full Member

    TBF I think Rob is pretty good at the “dumbing down” when his co-commentator says something that could be considered technical he tends to get them to explain what that means. At Hardline at the weekend he got Reece Wilson to explain what tyre inserts are after Reece mentioned some of the riders were using them.

    I guess the BBC aren’t going to have a specific commentary team for each event outside of the big ones so those they do have will need a broad knowledge of every sport they’re asked to cover.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    I’m not getting why there seems to be so many posts complaining about the MTB at the Olympics. GB won a Gold at it, so why are we now moaning about bits that make no odds to the outcome?

    Premier Icon mtbfix
    Full Member

    I always feel that I have to defend sports commentators because, quite frankly, cycling itself is pretty dull. Especially the more pedally variants. Once you’ve covered the first lap the same things happen over and over.

    Speaking to a female MTB guide a few weeks ago was interesting as she had a very dim view of Rob Warner. It was her opinion that he knows a lot about the male racers but very little about anyone but the top few in the ladies races.

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Full Member

    I didn’t think they were that bad tbh. Yeah they weren’t experts but it didn’t detract from the viewing (unlike when the BBC had the DH world champs at VDS). The Tim Podcock bit was funny but even they had a laugh about that.

    Premier Icon trailtom
    Free Member

    A few comments here about the commentary team on the BBC but it was the same commentary team on Euro sport 2
    I got the feeling they may have been hired by Euro-sport rather then the BBC as Euro-sport (Discovery) are the European-wide rights holder to the Olympic coverage, so the BBC used their commentary team/feed and didn’t even bother to get their own commentary team in for the coverage

    On the BBC website it has a better explanation of the agreement
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/57822560

    Premier Icon nbt
    Full Member

    I only caught the last couple of laps of both Men’s & Women’s – who were the commentary team for the BBC?
    They were a bit erm dead pan…….

    The BBC didn’t get the rights to do their own coverage so just bought in host broadcaster coverage, Commentary team was Rochelle Gilmore (who the BBC used to get in for road racing coverage and who I was EXTREMELY glad to see was not part of the BBC olympic road race commentary team) and a saffer (possibly kiwi) guy who I don’t recognise sorry

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    Speaking to a female MTB guide a few weeks ago was interesting as she had a very dim view of Rob Warner. It was her opinion that he knows a lot about the male racers but very little about anyone but the top few in the ladies races.

    I always has Claudio down as the sexist one, but he seems to be getting less and less airtime now.

    In downhill, lets be honest, we are seeing the same 5 or 6 women every race, and they get their 3 minutes of air time. when someone new does come along, like when Ballanche appeared a few years back, or Mikayla Parton recently, he does have an interesting fact or two about them.
    With the men it might be more noticable, the one race of the year when e.g. Ed Masters gets on the live stream, that he could run off a few more sentences.

    With XC, if you arent up at the front of the race, the TV producers dont give you a look in, male or female. Very rare exception of a top rider trying to come back from a crash or mechanical, you have to be schurter or courtney levels of fame for that. They would rather show the rider with a minute lead cruise to victory than a hard fought battle for 3rd-4th place. None of that is Rob’s fault.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    They would rather show the rider with a minute lead cruise to victory than a hard fought battle for 3rd-4th place.

    F1 used to be accused of that too – they’d focus on the 2 cars at the front of the race and the remaining 18 would get no airtime. A rule was brought in at some point to say that all teams needed a minimum quotient of coverage per race.

    The TT this morning had a similar issue, for some reason the camera remained on Ion Izaguirre Insausti as he suffered from cramp and basically parked up. It was just embarrassing. Chris Boardman said as much in the commentary; there’s nothing to say about watching someone sit up, visibly in pain and then pedalling along at 10mph and it was just awkward for all concerned.

    So yeah, sometimes the commentators can only talk about what is actually on the screen and if the producer hasn’t done a decent job in picking out some exciting action, they’re a bit stuffed.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

     It was her opinion that he knows a lot about the male racers but very little about anyone but the top few in the ladies races.

    I think a legitimate critism a few years back. But I think after a race at Mont St Anne in 2017 (I think), where Rachel called out the RB commentators (Rob and Claudio)  for suggesting that she’d only got where she had because of her brothers, and for not pointing out that it was in fact a woman (Rachel) who’d clocked the fastest speed of the weekend through the speed trap at the end of the rough straight

    I think they sorted themselves out pretty sharpish after that. Their knowledge of all the competitors (even juniors) is pretty strong these days

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    The duo commentating this time were absolutely bobbins

    Hopefully Discovery/ BBC will both invest in finding new talent

    The first 10 minutes without commentary in the women’s race was better than the rest

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Apologies for my unbounded ignorance here….

    A few months ago there was a thread about a sweary bloke who does loads of random fun irreverent videos in the woods with his mates. The debate was around whether his swearing was getting a tad excessive. Is he Rob Warner?

    Also, the commentator who did ” how does Danny Hart manage to sit down with balls…” is that Rob Warner?

    Thanks

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Full Member

    The commentary was piss poor. It was even worse in the Women’s than the Men’s.

    Just cliche riddled drivel. If i had a fiver for every time Rochelle had said “She’s such a strong rider” I could bought a sodding Super Calibre.

    The BBC have got Chris Boardman on the commentary team why didn’t they use him?

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Full Member

    It sounded like the South African that commentates on the Cape Epic…. and when he does that I thought it was pretty good. Gerald de Koch. Usually pretty knowledgable.

    Who actually was it for the Olympic XC? It was a bit meh.

    Premier Icon nbt
    Full Member

    Also, the commentator who did ” how does Danny Hart manage to sit down with balls…” is that Rob Warner?

    yes it was

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Rob and Bart without doubt.

    Bart was busy doing the Dutch commentary.

    Rochelle Gilmour was alright co-commentating on the women’s MTB, but they totally failed to spot the moment where PFP allegedly brake-checked Neff and she did the nose-dive off the side of the drop.

    Premier Icon Schweiz
    Full Member

    Bart was busy doing the Dutch commentary

    I thought Bart was managing the Dutch team? Claudio Caluori was on the photos with the Swiss XC ladies so I assume he had a role in their setup on the day.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    There is only credible cycling commentator and his name is… Carlton Kirby. You might think he knows nothing about xc mountain biking, but then he knows very little about road cycling either and that has never stopped him. He’s the obvious choice.

    Premier Icon Martinhuutch
    Full Member

    They’d have to drug Warner to bring his level of excitement down to BBC-acceptable. Part of the joy of Olympic commentary is the utter rubbish spouted about pretty much every niche sport. I cannot wait for the Climbing to start. 🙂

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    Their knowledge of all the competitors (even juniors) is pretty strong these days

    Is that knowledge or stuff recited of a stats/info feed when the rider’s on track? some of it’s going to go in as they say it, I’m sure.

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    There is only credible cycling commentator and his name is… Carlton Kirby. You might think he knows nothing about xc mountain biking, but then he knows very little about road cycling either and that has never stopped him. He’s the obvious choice.

    Others may disagree…

    Rochelle Gilmour was alright co-commentating on the women’s MTB,

    You have a really low bar for “alright”

    Premier Icon Chipps
    Full Member

    One issue is the massive commercialisation machine that is the Olympics. In 2012, I tried to get a press pass, only to be told that those went to big broadcasters and pool photographers. So it’s all aimed at, say, The Telegraph, who’ll either get press passes to cover every sport, or if it’s a big media organisation, they might have someone to cover all of the cycling, from track to MTB. Niche publications get no look-in because they’ll only deliver a (very expert) view to a small audience. What the Olympics Corp wants is for the mass media to spread an OK view of the whole event to everyone on earth.

    Saying that, though, I remember one co-commentator at the Atlanta Olympics in ’96 was Nicky Crowther, editor at the time (or perhaps just ex-editor) of MBi magazine. That was some far more insightful commentary…

    Premier Icon overend
    Full Member

    For whatever reason Claudio switched from UK Eurosport commentary to the German Eurosport commentary team, according to the RB text at the beginning of the WC DH.

    Premier Icon finster
    Free Member

    Defo Not Alex scott… former professional female footballer now BBC sport called Tom a cross county mountain biker ….not country…. easy mistake or no clue you decide?

    Premier Icon Milton
    Full Member

    Martin Ashton would have been a great addition for a whole host of reasons. He’s a talented, knowledgable and engaging broadcaster.

    Premier Icon Speeder
    Full Member

    Anyone can fumble the auto-cue so I wouldn’t give Alex Scott grief for that but the pair commentating on the racing were dire. No specialist knowledge in evidence and dull to boot. minimum effort spent and very disappointing.

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Interesting that the BBC had their own team for the road/TT but didn’t bother (and took the Eurosport feed) for the MTB. It would be interesting to see the respective viewing figures for the different events.

    As for who should do it… um, Martyn Ashton and Tracy Moseley.

    Premier Icon thebrick
    Free Member

    I cannot wait for the Climbing to start.

    #1
    “Climbing up these wall is tough work. Both hand and feet come into play, it’s all about hands and feet.”
    #2. Yes Barry magnificent.
    #1
    ” Wide span. Really helpful in this extrem sport where you no only have to battle the physical challenge or climbing, but the mental fear of falling.”
    #2
    “They are tide in though aren’t they Barry?”
    #1.
    “Yes they do, very safe and they have extra small shoes that allow the climbers to stick the wall”
    #2. Magnificent Barry. Absolutely magnificent.

    Premier Icon heebyjeeby
    Full Member

    Personally I think Minaar should try and eek another couple of years out of his downhill career but use the time to brush up on his xc knowledge as it was a bit lacking 😀

    Premier Icon heebyjeeby
    Full Member

    Double post 🙈

    Premier Icon John
    Full Member

    It does need to be dumbed down a bit for the olympics due to the broader range of viewers.

    That doesn’t always happen though. The skateboarding wasn’t in the least dumbed down. As my 8yo put it in response to a stream of mostly unfamiliar words: “what the heck?”

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