it may look like things got a bit ‘death-by-champagne-cork’ at the burton us open, but in reality it’s all fun and games for Jamie Anderson (left) and Spencer O’Brien. Photo: Blotto
As we approach another Winter Olympics – one that boasts a shiny new snowboard discipline to boot – expect the mainstream press to show a bit more interest in our relatively niche corner of the sporting world.
Crib-sheet-wielding journos will try (and mostly fail) to explain the different disciplines, medal prospects will be extensively profiled, and some of the female riders will feature in the inevitable “Pyeong-shwing! | Hotties Of The Olympics” compilation on tabloid titles’ Sidebars of Shame.
In the search for an interesting hook or headline, they’ll most likely hunt for juicy rivalries to detail, and then stoke – but if they do, they’ll end up more disappointed than Evil Hercules.
“the media love a rivalry. A good one can fill column inches, encourage clicks and generate comments – all of which increases the profile of the athletes and their sport”
For the uninitiated, rivalries can serve as fantastic entry-points into sports. Formula One certainly got a shot in the arm in the late 80s and early 90s, when Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were regularly pranging into each other on the track. Interest in tennis saw a similar surge a decade earlier when John McEnroe (a prick, but an entertaining prick nonetheless) challenged the dominance of Bjorn Borg.