Off the Mark....I can't figure it out

PUBLISHED: 11:53 17 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:42 28 May 2010

LET me set the scene for you. I have finished work, I settle down in front of the television and I look forward to watching some quality sliding from the Winter Olympics. However, imagine my disappointment when the entire evening s coverage on the BBC is

LET me set the scene for you. I have finished work, I settle down in front of the television and I look forward to watching some quality sliding from the Winter Olympics.

However, imagine my disappointment when the entire evening's coverage on the BBC is set aside for . . . figure skating.

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the skill involved and yes, a quadruple toe loop is impressive (particularly as I can't even stand up on skates) - but figure skating is not a sport.

It is not a sport for the same reason that ballroom dancing is not a sport. It is all about dance movement and musical interpretation rather than sporting talent.

I tried to get interested in this week's BBC coverage, but I couldn't. I was half expecting Philip Schofield to pop up on the television and start the "booing the nasty, unpopular judge because he had given a bad mark" pantomime routine.

WELL, I have to say that I am relieved Sean Brown is safe and well after straying off course in the 320-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra in Canada.

I knew something wasn't quite right when the internet updates of Sean's progress were not amended following his departure from the first checkpoint at Sir North Country Ranch.

Every other competitor in the race was either shown as moving through the checkpoints or retired, but Sean remained unaccounted for.

In an attempt to track him down I tried to contact the race organisers and I spoke to Sean's parents, Pat and Maura Brown, from March, who had heard nothing of his progress.

I was starting to regret the jokes I had made in the past about Sean being chased by bears when, finally, on Wednesday, we received the good news that he was safe and well.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I was able to break the good news to Pat and Maura, who probably wish Sean would stick to darts.

MARK BERRY

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