The Olympic Games have provided a welcome antidote to the moans and groans of the snooker world.

The Olympics have seen many sports with a lower media profile than snooker come to the fore with inspirational stories of those who have pushed themselves to the limits to achieve their dreams.

Instead of complaining about this, that and everything, these athletes have made sacrifices and worked hard to succeed.

Very soon the (UK) TV schedules will return to the staple mind-numbing cretiny of the likes of TOWIE and the X-Factor. But hopefully the Games will have inspired young kids to take up sport and aim for something higher in life than getting a retweet from a member of JLS.

Sport is genuine reality television which can deliver drama, excitement and magic in equal measure. It can also change lives for the better.

Some snooker players have made a career out of complaining about ‘the system’ but the truth is this: whatever ‘the system’, the best players always get to the top.

Why? Because they are the best players – and they all started at the bottom.

There has never been anyone in the television era quite like Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry.

Nothing was ever enough for these two titans of the baize: turning pro wasn’t enough; winning a tournament wasn’t enough; winning one world title wasn’t enough.

Hendry finally had enough of losing. Davis, who turns 55 later this month, has a new cue on board and is fully committed to continuing.

The Players Tour Championship throws all the pros in at the first round stage and it’s a fight to the finish.

Stephen Maguire edged Jack Lisowski 4-3 on the black to win PTC1 and kicks off the professional rounds of PTC2 against his pal Graeme Dott in Gloucester tomorrow.

Snooker does not require much physical effort but does demand stamina, particularly mental stamina.

It is one of the loneliest sports there is. You are out in the middle for long periods and, at the table, it is all down to you.

Perhaps that is the most frustrating part of the game: the fact that you will have a chance. Indeed, Lisowski had a very good one in the decider against Maguire and missed the yellow from its spot.

The good news these days is that there are many more opportunities and chances to bounce back from disappointment.

Liveworldsnooker.tv and affiliated betting sites have streaming coverage of the PTC.


John F said...

Not quite an Olympics-themed question, but are there any international events that include snooker as one of the medal sports?

I assume the Asian Games could be one, but as for anything else...

Dave H said...

South East Asian Games too. Cue sports are in the World Games but this is an event for sports not in the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

dave are world snooker affiliated with ioc in anyway.Also would love to hear your opinion on whether or not its time for snooker to be part of the olympics .If memory serves me correct i think snooker was down to 3 of which 2 were eventually picked for entry in Athens.

Anonymous said...

why snooker or pool are not olympic sports?

is there is any chanse that snooker could become olympic sport in future?

--Snooker CRO fan--

Dave H said...

Snooker has been recognised as a potential Olympic sport as the IOC has officially recognised the World Confederation of Billiards sports, which is the umbrella organisation for cue sports worldwide.

Various attempts have been made to get snooker in the Games. It used to be in the Paralympics.

Daniel said...

Let's be honest here, there is no way in hell snooker will be an Olympic sport any time soon.

Assuming national associations are limited to 3 participants per country (like in most other Olympic sports), it would be a very weak competition.

GB - Selby, Trump, O'Sullivan?
China - Ding
Australia - Robertson
Ireland - O'Brien, Doherty

Pretty much after that you're scraping the barrel.

Anonymous said...

I think the best way would be to put the snooker shoot out style tournament in the Olympics/ Commonwealth games. I know it is not the purist form but it is way to get new fans interested in snooker. Normal snooker rules may be too long for new fans in a world where attention span of viewers is short.

jamie brannon said...

Snooker will need to get more of a spread of players around the world before it should be going anywhere near the Olympics.

I don't agree that the schedules will be returning to mind numbing cretiny. If you move outside the ITV mainstream, you will find excellent television being made by both the BBC and Channel 4. You will find excellent drama, documentary and comedy shows on these channels. Not forgetting Channel 4 have the Paralympics coming up. The mainstream television is pretty poor, but that is only a small percentage of the TV being made.

Anonymous said...

A snooker event incorporating the rules of Power Snooker might be the answer.
The competitors should be required to all use identical graphite cues and this should ensure the great pool players have an equal chance.
This would wipe the cocky smiles off main tour players who believe they are gods gift to the game.
I predict medallists might include competitors from Belarus, Slovakia & Japan.
No Tweeting from disgruntled Primadonnas would be allowed and punching the cushion rail would result in instant disquaification.
Then we might for once witness a proper sport rather than the melodramatic bubble in which many British snooker players exist.

John F said...

Anonymous 2:44 - given the time constraints placed on some of the Olympic events, Shootout rules might be the way to go, I can't see the IOC being impressed at a series of three-hour grinds leading to a huge backlog of matches.

Tennis already does this for events like doubles with the 10-point third set, and many other events (e.g. wrestling, taekwondo) have "golden point" rules in place, so snooker wouldn't be alone in using a tweaked format.

This could also help level the playing field a bit, since lower-level players have a better chance of knocking off the top names over 1 frame - didn't Bond win the first Shootout ranked in the 40s?

A Shootout format could also ultimately help with the biggest issue snooker currently has, in that there aren't enough countries at a high standard for the sport to be competitive, especially with the home nations combined as Team GB.

Anonymous said...

Haha for pool players to have an equal chance, the pockets would have to be doubled in size and the cushions would have to be made as same as the pool tables where shots hit into the cushion half way down always drop

Anonymous said...

Jamie, we've been through this. The BBC does not offer more discernable quality than any of the other free to air channels. The proof is in the pudding: if it were the case that the BBC provided a superior service, then the licence fee would not be compulsory, since we would all choose to pay for such high quality TV. The fact that the channel is not commercially sustainable speaks for itself. HBO doesn't require legislation to provide financing for its existence i.e. it survives by providing a superior service that its customers are prepared to pay for, and it should be the same for the BBC, except we all know that no-one apart from the Eastenders fans would be prepared for the endless flow of crap that it puts our way.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, GB isnt English.

Obviously John Higgins would be in there before any of your GB picks, being that hes better than all 3 of them....

and he doesnt ask for oral sex at press conferences too. bonus

Anonymous said...

Agree with John F and Anon 2.44 the snooker shoot out rule will allow players from smaller nations to compete at a more level playing field. As it is unlikely that the IOC will allow normal snooker that will be dominated by GB players as most of the top 16 are from the UK

Daniel said...

Anonymous 7.12

I just went with the current rankings, plus world champion.

But the point I was trying to make was, only half a dozen of the top 16 would be eligible for qualification, which wouldn't be very attractive.

Another thing the IOC seem big on, is gender equality. Other Individual Olympic sports such as Table Tennis and Badminton seem to make it pay for women to have a professional career.

Snooker is some way behind in this regard.

Anonymous said...

What's TOWIE?

kildare cueman said...

Non tour players playing best of 3 with a 25 second shot clock would work in the Olympics I think.

The amateur game is represented by dozens of countries.

Anonymous said...

oh daniel, you cant fairly just go by rankings when it suits you (and cut them at a point to add the current WC, cos you love him)

tut tut.

jamie brannon said...

It is a point about the general state of UK television being of a high quality, not a specific point about the BBC.

However, the BBC and Channel 4 are the main standard bearers, so had to mention that.

As I said before, if you don't judge television from what gets the biggest viewing figures, you will find there is a superb programming being made.

Anonymous said...

You're having a larf Jamie; the quality of programming on Sky leaves the other channels standing. Fair enough you have to pay for it, but pound for pound in terms of what you actually watch, it is so far ahead of the antiquated BBC that this isn't actually a debate. Only someone divorced from reality could argue the case for the BBC.

Anonymous said...

oh daniel, you cant fairly just go by rankings when it suits you (and cut them at a point to add the current WC, cos you love him)

Why not, since this is actually what the WSA does? Remember that whole debacle in 2005 when Ian McCulloch got royally shafted because Shaun Murphy won the wc, so the WSA booted McCulloch out of the top 16 so they could seed Murphy into the events? I can understand giving the world champ a wildcard, but actively stripping another player of his seeding to do it highlights snooker's perennial struggle with the lack of professionalism at management level.

jamie brannon said...

Or Rupert Murdoch's love child. Sky do some good stuff, much better than ITV, but not in the same bracket as BBC and Channel 4, although the odd exception.