RTE's Decision to Snub Historic Athletics Triumph Sparks Anger

June 07, 2024

The European Athletics Championships currently taking place are providing a platform for athletes to showcase their talents in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Paris in July. As you have probably (should) have heard by now, Team Ireland made history by putting in an extraordinary performance in the Mixed 4x400m Relay final, winning gold. However, any euphoria of this momentous occasion was overshadowed by RTE's choice to air a United Rugby Championship match featuring Munster instead of the athletics events, leaving many Irish sports fans feeling shortchanged.

As Ireland's public service broadcaster, RTE holds a responsibility to provide comprehensive coverage of both domestic and international sporting events, including athletics. However, the absence of live television coverage meant that countless Irish sports fans missed out on witnessing a significant moment in Irish athletics history. RTE's decision to prioritise rugby over this historic moment left many questioning the broadcaster's commitment to showcasing diverse sporting achievements. This lack of visibility for athletics diminishes the sport's importance and undermines the achievements of Irish athletes on the international stage.

In the aftermath of RTE's decision, a wave of anger swept through Irish athletics fans on social media. Fans and commentators expressed their disappointment at the missed opportunity to witness history in the making. Many criticised RTE for failing to recognise the significance of the athletics championships and called for greater transparency in the broadcaster's programming decisions.

Criticism directed at RTE on their Instagram channel included:

One user commented: "This was supposed to be on RTE2 but instead there was rugby... why?" 

Whilst another lamented missing the historic victory: "Such a shame this wasn't on TV. What a memory it would have been."

Another user was particularly scathing: "Pity it wasn't televised. A European Gold in Olympic year?! Please have the decency to post an actual video of the full race and support the athletes and organisation."

And finally a Run Republic staff member's gran is quoted as saying: "I was furious that it was not shown. Fantastic run by them all''.

RTE's decision to prioritise a URC rugby match over an international athletics event in an Olympic year highlights the need for greater accountability in the broadcaster's programming choices. Sports fans across Ireland deserve access to a diverse range of sporting events, including both domestic and international athletics competitions. RTE must reassess its priorities and commit to providing comprehensive coverage that reflects the full spectrum of Irish sporting excellence. Moving forward, RTE must listen to the public outcry and reaffirm its commitment to showcasing the international achievements of Irish athletes on the national stage.

Congratulations to Team Ireland's 4x400m mixed relay team on their historic gold medal. 

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