It is here where they earn their crust as racing drivers, competing in the IZOD Indycar Series. Indycar has seen better days (e.g. Our Nigel Mansell competed in the series in between Formula One shifts), yet it is still a popular competition and one of the highest grades of motor sport in the world. Dixon and Tagliani are among the best, most highly-respected drivers in the series.
Whether by perk or by purchase, Dixon and Tagliani were at the Olympic Stadium this evening for the athletics, where they were joined by Associated Press journalist, Jenna Fryer. Jenna normally reports on Indycar but for these Games, she has been been following various sports.
Fryer is a notable tweeter and has picked up a good following from sports fans like myself. However, she and the two racing drivers used social media for horrid reasons this evening, leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
We have all read of abuse and negative comments aimed at celebrities and public figures. The abuse poor Tom Daley got earlier in these Games highlights this point perfectly.
Yet when it is celebrities and public figures ridiculing defenceless people, social media just seems so crap.
Tagliani, Dixon and Fryer sat next to an old lady in the Olympic Stadium. What happened - admittedly - is uncertain. It is none of my business. But Tagliani felt the need to post this tweet and image:
To quote Tagliani:
“We put @scottdixon9 beside her to entertain her but she is getting pissed.”
This was then retweeted by Fryer here, with the quote:
I follow Fryer. I found her to be good for Indycar news. However, I took exception to this. Having taken my 77 year old mother to football matches in the past and listened to some under-the-cuff remarks about a “miserable old cow” (this was prior to her double knee operation when she struggled to walk and was in constant pain), I felt for this old lady.
On further exploration around the image I found these tweets:
Fryer: ”80,000 screaming fans and I still found @scottdixon9 @EmmaDaviesDixon @tagliani @BronTeeTag. And the horrible woman seated next to them.”
Tagliani: “how can u get mad @scottdixon9 latest @IndyCar winner such a nice guy @JennaFryer @emmadaviesdixon @bronteetag I think she is in grumpy mood“
People in the public eye tweeting in a negative, inappropriate manner about others NOT in the public eye seems crass. When it is a member of the public who is likely to have no idea that ‘celebrities’ are poking fun at her on a social network, to a combined audience of 150,000 (not including the retweets), it is downright inappropriate.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to poking fun out of someone like this on Twitter.”
In between Rudisha and Bolt, I got this reply from Fryer:
“She was kind of nasty to us.”
“i am laughing @scottdixon9 he’s my friend its my business & can say if someone is mean @LesRosbifs @jennafryer Oh coming wave i’m busy sorry.”
The moment you take the piss out of someone who cannot respond to the 150,000 you’re sharing your business with means it is no longer your business alone, Alex.
I did respond to both, asking if they felt it was OK to publicly ridicule someone who could not/would not reply on Twitter, why take such a course of action, etc. They never responded.
And that is the crux of the matter. This old lady - whether she be sweet little Miss Marple or the Devil - had no knowledge she was having the mickey ripped out of her in front of a global audience.
Yet these public figures - Tagliani and Dixon race for top line Indycar teams, in a category long-deemed second only to Formula One, while Fryer writes for the most reputable news agency in the world - felt they could get away with it. For fun.
Perhaps I am being precious? Perhaps.
However, imagine if it was your mother. And people you respected were ridiculing her on Twitter.
It feels shit.
When the youths at the football match were ridiculing my mother, it was easy to tell them to where to get off. I did so with the backing of many people sitting around us. They soon backed off.
However, this embarrassing of the old lady took place on Twitter. Not in front of a handful of nearby spectators. But in front of a global audience, where she will not know that those next to her in the stadium (likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her?) are publicly ridiculing her, taking her photo, labelling her.
Alex Tagliani and Jenna Fryer: you really have no class.
If your employers/sponsors have any class, you will at least get your knuckles slapped.
*Screenshots of the tweets are available if requested by anyone.
It is the home of cricket. A mythical sports venue that is admired and adored by many in the sport.
And it is hosting the archery competition during London 2012 as this faulous image/tweet from the BBC’s Sonali Shah shows.
We all love an infographic. Well, I do…
Here’s one all about Team GB - it’s rather interesting.
In a nice tribute to all of the Australian gold medallists before them, the 2012 team will be carrying the names of all 240 of them on the lining of their jackets.
The jackets, which they will be wearing during the opening ceremony, do look rather nice!
Reminds me of my old school uniform…
The Daily Telegraph ran a ‘helpful’ photo gallery yesterday on what is not allowed into the Olympic Park.
You can, if you so wish, click on the link here to see it. However, let me spare you the finger use and share with you what they say you cannot bring into the Olympic Park.