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As snowboarder Jenny Jones claimed Britain’s first ever medal on snow at the Winter Olympics this week, the BBC’s commentary team lent its wholehearted support, even going so far as to cheer when one opponent hit the deck – and receiving more than 300 complaints in the process. Here are some other overenthusiastic moments from sports commentating history.
Argentina v England, the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals: Diego Maradona has put Argentina ahead with his controversial “hand of God” goal and, to rub it in, dribbles past the entire England defence to score a second. Argentine commentator Victor Hugo Morales launches into a frantic soliloquy: “I am going to cry! Oh, my God! How beautiful soccer is! What a goal! Diego! Maradona! I am crying, forgive me please . . . Maradona, with a memorable run, with the most beautiful play of all time . . . cosmic podge, which planet are you from?”
‘I’ve got to stop’
As British racing driver Damon Hill crosses the line on his final lap, winning the Japanese Grand Prix and the 1996 World Driver’s Championship ahead of Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher, the BBC’s Murray Walker calls it a “mighty emotional occasion for a lot of people . . . not the least of whom is myself”. He goes on to conclude his 52-lap commentary with the words: “I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.”
‘Where were the Germans?’
England are 2-1 ahead in the field hockey final at 1988’s Seoul Olympics when Imran Sherwani slaps the ball past the German keeper to clinch gold. The players go crazy, the supporters go crazy, even seasoned BBC sports commentator Barry Davies goes crazy: “Where were the Germans?” he yelps, before adding: “But, frankly, who cares?”
‘Aggers, do stop!’
Cricket pundits Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew succumb to giggles as they analyse Ian Botham’s dismissal for hitting his stumps in 1991. “He just didn’t quite get his leg over,” Agnew says, and for the next two minutes Johnston is helpless with laughter, incapable of speech except for the plea “Aggers, do stop!” Drivers listening in their cars are laughing so much they have to pull over.