Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yesterday I posted a sports gaffe by Harry Carpenter.

Sports commentators are particularly prone to verbal gaffes, sometimes because of the excitement of play, sometimes because of the need to fill quiet moments with commentary and sometimes simply because what was said didn’t come out right, although it is usually clear as to what was intended to be conveyed.

Such gaffes have their own name, Colemanballs, coined by Private Eye magazine and named after BBC broadcaster David Coleman, who was renowned for such bloopers. The "balls" part of the term  is a shortening of “balls up”.

Here are some Colemanballs by David Coleman himself:

"And there goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class. "

"We estimate, and this isn't an estimation, that Greta Waitz is 80 seconds behind."

"He is accelerating all the time. That last lap was run in 64 seconds and the one before in 62."

"And the line up for the final of the Women's 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman."

"The Republic of China, back in the Olympic Games for the first time."

"That's the fastest time ever run, but it's not as fast as the world record."

Bonus extra:

The following Colemanball is a famous classic by BBC commentator Brian Johnston. It occurred during a 1976 Test match at The Oval when the West Indies’ Michael Holding was bowling to England’s Peter Willey:

“The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey.”

More Colemanballs in future posts.

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