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Sochi: BBC Says 'Excitement Got the Better' of Commentators

Sochi Olympics women's freestyle skiing slopestyle - H 2014
AP Photo/Sergei Grits

The U.K. public broadcaster got complaints when its announce team celebrated the first-ever British Winter Olympics medal on snow.

The BBC has acknowledged that its Sochi Winter Games announce team got somewhat overexcited when Britain won its first-ever Olympic medal in a snow event this weekend.

More than 300 viewers complained that the U.K. public broadcaster's commentators on the BBC Two network turned into cheerleaders and even cited the wrong medal, according to the Guardian.

The complaints focused on the BBC's coverage of Jenny Jones' bronze medal win in the snowboarding slopestyle event on Sunday.

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Viewer complaints cited the hosts' incorrect initial comment that Jones had won gold. Others called the announce team "puerile and hyperactive," according to the Guardian.

The BBC said in a statement that the bronze medal marked a "truly historic occasion," and its announce team was "understandably very excited." It acknowledged though that "on occasion, this excitement got the better of them, and this is something we will work on for future events."

The Winter Olympics in Sochi has drawn strong viewership for BBC Two, which even beat ITV in the weekend ratings.

Jones' bronze medal win has been one of the most watched moments of BBC Two's coverage to-date, peaking with 3 million viewers.

The Guardian quoted the BBC's head of TV sport, Philip Bernie, as saying: "We have never won a medal on snow, and those involved have known [Jones] for a long time. It's a very passionate sport. It's a young sport and young people don't sit and watch it po-faced, they watch it with great excitement."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai