Commentator makes Olympics hard to bear

MARK WATSON: After his bout with Jesse Ryder.
MARK WATSON: After his bout with Jesse Ryder.

Just when I was starting to warm a little to the Olympics, patriotically caught up in the gold rush from the rowing regatta, it all came tumbling down.

Once again, I'm struggling. And I blame one man - Mark Watson.

Mark Who? you are probably asking, like so many TV viewers.

He's the twat doing the commentating on all the major track and field stuff, the events that tweak the imagination of even those like myself who aren't enamoured by this sporting overdose of greed rather than glory.

Apparently Watson has run a few triathlons in his time. Good on him. But the way he carries on you'd think he'd won an Olympic gold medal.

And that's just the point. If we are going to have someone throwing their expertise down our throats at the Olympics then, for goodness sake, make it an Olympian rather than a wannabe.

Watson's real two-minutes of "fame" came in the boxing ring when he was smashed by cricketer Jesse Ryder, who had plenty of motivation fed to him by Watson's constant criticisms on his equally tedious radio slots.

I reckon we should be getting Jesse on a plane to London now to finish the job and get this guy off the air!

Actually, it was interesting in the leadup to that fight when Prime Minister John Key was interviewed on Watson's own radio station and got asked if he knew who Mark Watson was? Key's response was classic: "Is he (golfer) Bubba's brother?"

The PM hit it on the head, just as good old Jesse did a few days later.

Watson's first-person commentating is mostly embarrassing. It often makes you cringe and it was at its worst during the monster job that is the marathon.

We got to hear everything from his runs with Kimberly Smith, to his cup of tea with Arthur Lydiard, to his holidays as a 10-year-old.

He's stepping out of his role, over-doing it, trying too hard. The sort of stuff he is throwing up - how many times can he use the term lactic acid? - is what the comments person at his side is meant to be offering.

And, like so many commentators, he's guilty of talking over the top of what we, the viewers, are actually watching. Actions speak louder than words most of the time and thank goodness the TV remote has a mute button when Watson is at the mike.

It's disappointing that Watson has come in to replace a true professional like Brendan Telfer, who knows his role as a commentator, choosing his moments to talk rather than constantly babble.

"Elementary, my dear Watson," is an easy line to steal from Sherlock Holmes.

But perhaps the most relevant words offered by the famous fictional London detective that apply to our own Watson, come from the 1891 short story, The Adventure of the Red-Headed League: "I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes."

Please tell me that you agree.

Fairfax Media