Monday, August 18, 2008

China TV to Tan Zongliang (a bronze winner): Terrible job

It may have been worse than Jim Gray interviewing Pete Rose. Or worse than Andrea Joyce's interview of gymnast Alicia Sacramone, who nearly cried because of the relentless tough questions. Or worse than Jim Rome calling Jim Everett "Chris."

Here's Ian Gallagher's report for the Daily Mail in a story headlined: "A mere bronze? How the medal fanatics of Chinese state TV humiliated poor Tan, the pistol crackshot." His report deals with the treatment of China's Tan Zongliang, who won bronze medal in the men's 50m pistol competition.

      Tan’s televised grilling was gruesome stuff. Even his countrymen have complained.

      "In your first shot you only got 7.9 points. What is the reason for this?" demanded the CCTV reporter in a tone usually reserved for those who unfurl Free Tibet banners in public.

      "I was maybe a little bit anxious," offered Tan. But he quickly added: "Overall my performance was fine." Oh dear. Wrong answer.

      "But you came into the finals leading on points," noted the reporter icily. "The result really is a shame. Feel bad?"

      Tan: "It’s not so bad. I did try my best."

      Reporter: "This is the closest you have been to a gold medal. How do you feel?"

      And so it went on until, having been asked four times how he felt, the penny dropped.

      Tan lowered his head and delivered what was expected. Only grovelling contrition could save him now.

      "I have been doing this sport for 23 years. I have been nurtured by my country in that time. I have let my country down."

      At last it was over. Tan – hectored, harried and humiliated – was allowed to trudge off.
Not sure how China TV feels after the news that Tan Zongliang's medal was upgraded to a silver on Friday when a North Korean shooter was expelled from the Beijing Olympics after failing a doping test.

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