BBC sports presenter suffers nervous breakdown after ‘pronunciation ordeal’
Sports News: An unnamed BBC sports presenter is receiving ‘major psychological assessment and assitance’ after a punishing series of athletes’ names left him jittery and bewildered.
The presenter pulled what what colleagues are calling ‘the mother of all short straws’ when one particular segment meant he had to pronounce Abdelhafid Benchabla, Maja Włoszczowska, Li Xiaoxia, Meb Keflezighi, Sajjad Anoushiravani and Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar one after another.
“I just saw them all come up on the autocue,” he reportedly told nurses as he was led away from the red sofa. “My mind went blank. All I could think was ‘Oh dear God – why me?'”
“While to the viewers at home it was as if he just stumbled, to the individual in question it was a personal Vietnam,” says Doctor Mike Spatchlock of the mental health charity MIND.
“All sports presenters get training when it comes to the pronunciation of foreign athletes names, but it’s only at an event like the Olympics that they are really tested. On this occasion the pressure was just too much, and he has utterly collapsed.”
Even Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his sympathies: : “I know only too well what a nightmare silly names can be. I for one have simply refused to attempt them anymore – I don’t care what part of Umbongo-umbongo land you’re from – if you’re a girl you’re called Pippa, if you’re boy you’re called Pip. ‘What’s that Pip? Need some guns? George – old Pip here needs some guns.’ You see? Everything will run much more smoothly.”
“For his own sake and for that of his family we are trying to keep the presenter’s name out of the media,” said a BBC spokesperson.
“Partly because he can’t even pronounce it himself any more. He can’t pronounce the name of his wife or his kids. We’re going to have to go back to basics on this guy.”
Story: Jasper Gibson