Sunday, 17 February 2008

Gutted, to be honest with you...

Tonight, to employ some lazy metaphoring, Steve Backley skated out of Dancing On Ice. And took my contribution to future ratings with him. I have been totally Team Backley since Week One and will mourn his departure. I think it's probably indicative of athletics' current status as a minority sport that someone as likeable, hot and not totally dreadful at ice skating like Steve Backley can be jettisoned when a lumbering goon like Greg Rusedski glides through to the next round, arms flailing, week after week (to elaborate, for DOI-phobic Strictly fans, let me merely say the words 'Kenny' and 'Logan').

I should explain that Steve Backley and I have history. We shared one heady summer night together in 1990. He broke the world javelin world record. I ate a picnic, clapped a lot, and was thrilled to my 16-year-old core. And took a series of disastrous photos. Look:

Please note The Backley's '90s hair shimmying in the breeze like the coat of a frisky golden retriever chasing a starling. 

Never mind that these days he's probably making a small fortune doing motivational speaking to the sales team at Shell, or whatever. In the unlikely event that athletics makes some kind of primetime comeback, nothing would please me more than seeing Steve in smart-casual attire in the pundit's chair, perhaps as a foil to the peerless and immaculately groomed Michael 'Suck it up' Johnson. I suspect Steve would over-rely on the cliches of competitive sport, but no one would mind because a) if Mark Lawrenson can make a career in broadcasting, then the viewing public can't be all that choosy, and b) everyone would just love him. Men would want to go for a drink with him. Women would want to have an affair with him while their husbands were out having a drink with a retired sportsman. From the DOI crowd shots, it is clear Steve is happily married with small children, and I respect that. But I know that if, say, he was one of my work colleagues, I would definitely be enjoying a harmless but deeply creative crush on him.

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