Olympic Interviewer’s ‘Third Leg’ Blunder Has The Internet In Tears

by : Emily Brown on : 29 Jul 2021 14:33
Olympic Interviewer's 'Third Leg' Blunder Has The Internet In TearsBBC

Of all the things Olympic reporters can comment on, a male athlete’s ‘third leg’ typically isn’t one of them, so naturally, internet users had a field day when sportscaster Clare Balding did exactly that. 

The BBC journalist was interviewing British swimmers Tom Dean and Matthew Richards when the unfortunate blunder took place, with the pair having just secured a victory for Team GB.


Dean and Richards won the third swimming gold medal at Tokyo 2020 along with their teammates James Guy and Duncan Scott in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, which also saw them set a new European record of 6:58.58, but comments about their success were overshadowed during the interview when Balding turned her attention to Richards.

Team GB swimmers celebrate win (PA Images)PA Images

Speaking to the swimmer, the interviewer commented: ‘Matt, you’re 18 years old, it’s your first Olympics, and you swam — honestly, your third leg was just phenomenal.’

Balding was, of course, referring to Richards swimming the third leg of the four-leg relay, however, it was hard to miss the double-entendre that came with the use of the phrase ‘your third leg’ – so much so that even the two Olympic swimmers couldn’t help but crack a smile.


See footage of the interview below:

Social media users wasted no time in picking up on the comment, with one person commenting, ‘Choked on my coke when Claire balding said ‘that third leg was phenomenal’’, while another wrote: ‘Crying at Clare Balding saying ‘when you swam you’re [sic] third leg was phenomenal’’.


Another Twitter user joked: ‘Clare Balding just said to (4x200m freestyle gold medalist) Matt Richards “Matt, your third leg was incredible”… I didn’t think she’d be focusing on that, if I’m honest.’

While at first it seemed like Richards and Dean might burst out laughing, the pair managed to recover and Richards was able to move past thoughts of his ‘third leg’ and comment more seriously on the actual third leg that he took on in the race – a feat which no doubt helped Balding save face after the comment.

The reporter doesn’t appear to have spoken out about the blunder in the wake of the internet’s reaction, but I’m sure it’s an interview she won’t be forgetting any time soon!


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Sport, Olympics, Swimming, Tokyo