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John Inverdale sparks another controversy

John Inverdale sparks another controversy

Following Andy Murray’s gold medal triumph at the Rio 2016 Olympics on Sunday, the BBC Radio 5 Live presenter was quick to congratulate the Scot. Inverdale also wasted no time in pointing out that Murray was the “first person ever to have won two Olympic tennis gold medals”. But Murray was quick to put Inverdale in his place.

Inverdale, interviewing Murray after he defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, said: “You’re the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That’s an extraordinary feat, isn’t it?”

But the Scot shot back: “Well, to defend the singles title … I think Venus and Serena [Williams] have won about four each but hadn’t defended a singles title before.”

The exchange led a number of people on Twitter to thank the 29-year-old for “reminding” Inverdale about women’s existence.

While there was no shortage of praise for Murray there was no shortage of criticism of Inverdale either as people on social media recounted a previous sexism blunder involving Inverdale. In 2013, Inverdale sent a personal apology to tennis player Marion Bartoli after saying he wondered if her father ever told her “you are never going to be a looker”.

After Bartoli won the Wimbledon title, Inverdale remarked: “I wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, ‘listen, you are never going to be a looker’.

“You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you’re never going to be 5ft 11, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that.”

This year Inverdale again raised hackles on social media after he compared Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios to a “character from the Jungle Book”.

“I think the word is lumber. Nick Kyrgious lumbers off like a character from the Jungle Book,” said Inverdale as the player, beaten in straight sets by Murray, made his exit from Centre Court

Earlier this weekend, Inverdale also managed to get off-side with five-time Olympic medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, with whom he is co-presenting coverage of the rowing. Tension had been brewing between the pair, with Redgrave walking off the set live on-air on Thursday after pulling a face at Inverdale. The spat continued the following day when Redgrave appeared to deliberately shake a wet umbrella over Inverdale.

John Inverdale has been presenting the rowing coverage in Rio with Sir Steve Redgrave
John Inverdale has been presenting the rowing coverage in Rio with Sir Steve Redgrave

However, over the weekend their relationship hit a new low with Redgrave interrupting Inverdale interviewing the gold medal winner in the single sculls, New Zealand’s Mahé Drysdale. Redgrave had stopped Drysdale briefly to congratulate him as he got off his boat, when Inverdale moved in to interview the rower.

Interestingly, Inverdale blamed his Bartoli blunder – for which he received 700 complaints – on a bout of hayfever. This led to him being dropped from the coverage of the 2014 tournament by BBC bosses. It remains to be seen what repercussion this latest on-air gaffe would hold for the BBC commentator.



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