Sports columnist's bizarre swipe at 'unprofessional' Bruce McAvaney

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Bruce McAvaney, pictured here in commentary for Channel 7.
Bruce McAvaney is calling the Tokyo Olympics from back home in Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

An Australian sports columnist has been panned for one of the all-time bad takes after criticising Bruce McAvaney's call of Patrick Tiernan's heroic finish in the 10,000m at the Olympics.

Tiernan captivated the country with his gutsy effort to cross the finish line after twice collapsing in the home straight on Friday.

'PRETTY OBVIOUS': Ugly details emerge about Jamaican sprint queens

'CAN'T BELIEVE IT': Aussie sprint star shocks in 100m stunner

The 26-year-old looked to be well placed for a top-10 finish in the gruelling race, but hit the wall in confronting scenes on the final lap.

In extraordinary scenes that endeared him with the Australian public, Tiernan picked himself up and refused to quit, crossing the finish line on wobbly legs before receiving medical attention.

In a bizarre twist to the inspirational story, iconic Channel 7 commentator McAvaney copped some baffling criticism for his call of Tiernan's heroics.

Former sports columnist Patrick Smith took to Twitter to claim McAvaney had ignored Tiernan.

“Possibly worst, most unprofessional call of Bruce McAvaney’s rightly celebrated career," Smith tweeted.

"He all but ignored the Olympian heroics of exhausted Australian Pat Tiernan who ran himself into the ground - three times - in the 10,000m. 

"Bruce, your call was anything but special.”

Patrick Tiernan, pictured here collapsing in the final straight of the 10,000m race.
Patrick Tiernan collapsed in the final straight of the 10,000m race. Image: Getty/Channel 7

Smith's tweet sparked immediate backlash, with many pointing out that McAvaney mentioned Tiernan multiple times and commended his bravery.

“Pat Tiernan’s giving it a really, really good go, isn’t he?” McAvaney said. “He’s had a magnificent run.”

Others made mention of the fact that McAvaney is commentating off a TV screen in Australia due to Covid restrictions preventing him from travelling to Tokyo.

“Strange take. Bruce referenced him repeatedly during the race,” AFL great Kane Cornes responded. 

“Tiernan got partly lost on the camera shot coming down the last 100. Remember he’s calling off a TV screen. Hardly unprofessional.”

Others described Smith's comments as "ridiculous" and "shocking".

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Patrick Tiernan responds after Australia goes wild

Tiernan received medical attention after the race and had to be taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair.

"It's the Olympics and I've been waiting for five years for it," Tiernan said after being given the all-clear.

"It was about 180 to go that I collapsed the first time. You don't stop when you've got 180 metres to go.

"I didn't think I was completely done at that point, so I got up.

"It happened again and I knew I was in trouble. I was so close that you have to will yourself across the line and finish that race.

"I knew it was something I could do and also needed to do."

Tiernan was hailed a hero after completing the race in 19th place in a season's best time of 28 minutes 35.06 seconds.

"It's not the sort of publicity I want and I was hoping I'd be getting after this race," he conceded.

"It doesn't feel anything heroic to me. I just fell a little short of where I wanted to be and haven't had a chance to process any of that.

"I'll decompress over the next couple of days, but I'm glad it's struck a chord with a few people."

with AAP

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting