Robin Scott-Elliot: BBC coverage needed Boris bombing into the Olympic pool

View From The Sofa: Olympics, BBC1; World Cup draw Sky Sports news

The biggest surprise about the opening of the London Aquatics Centre, or bathing pool as Boris Johnson no doubt calls it, was that the man himself didn't end up in it. When the Velodrome was unveiled BoJo had followed Norman Tebbit's instruction and got on a bike, but last week there was to be no Johnson in a roomy pair of flowery trunks bombing – he surely enters the water no other way – into the pool with a cry of "Geronimo". He was not to be denied, later seizing the day with a marvellously rambling speech in Trafalgar Square. It was the highlight of the BBC's first dip into 2012.

There is a mayoral election before the Games and whatever your political persuasion the Olympics without Boris would be markedly less entertaining. Every public Olympic step has so far been... What's the word? Dogged? Coloured? Tarnished? Embellished? Actually, the only word is "Borised" by a splash of Johnson.

The look on Jacques Rogge's face as Johnson praised and lambasted Swiss chronologers was of a man beginning to doubt whether he can really speak word-perfect English as he struggles to understand the thoughts of the mayor of one of the world's most important cities. In his native Belgium they make do without government, a point Rogge perhaps mumbled to Sebastian Coe as Boris suggested a "Snap Olympics". Snap is not, Rogge might have added, an Olympic sport. Not yet.

It was in Beijing that Johnson first got stuck into the Olympics. Remember his flag-waving at the handover ceremony? Not for the first time he resembled a character created in a unique collaboration between JK Rowling and the Beano.

Johnson should not be wasted over the next year. Instead of the BBC's Olympic Dreams about earnest young athletes striving to make the event of a lifetime, they should commission "Boris Does..." where the mayor tries out Olympic sports in front of an iconic London landmark. For instance, Boris does artistic gymnastics in the monkey enclosure at London Zoo, or Boris does the marathon round Hampton Court maze. It could be presented by the bouncy Jake Humphreys, who has time on his hands now that the BBC have decided to share Formula One.

Humphreys was in ebullient mood fronting the countdown programme alongside Sophie Raworth. The BBC will no doubt throw the kitchen sink at the Games, although having decided to shift the sports department to Salford before it starts, it will have to be an Olympian heave. It will be interesting to see if they attempt a balanced approach or whether they follow the Australian example of 2000 where a home medal in the kangaroo shearing (a demonstration event) was given greater airtime than a world record in the 200m.

The other greatest show on earth was back in business on Saturday with the draw for the World Cup. Sky Sports News had an Englishman, Scotsman, Welshman, Northern Irishman and Irishman in the studio. But there was nothing to laugh about as they sat for an eternity making polite conversation while the breaking news caption scrolled information such as Nicaragua or Bahamas (which would you prefer?) complete a group in Concacaf, which stands for something long forgotten but remains a shining example of the creative use of initials in sport.

Finally we reached the European draw. Out came Luxembourg. "They have never qualified for the World Cup," intoned the presenter as if announcing a royal death. I am not convinced he knew what was going on, and there wasn't even a Boris in sight.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape