An Australian Olympics commentator has had to defend herself against accusations of racism after concluding her analysis of a Chinese skier’s run by saying, “very Chinese. They all look the same. Very hard to tell who’s who.”
— Redv6 (@REDV6) February 15, 2018
The commentator is five-time Olympian Jacqui Cooper. She was immediately questioned and criticized for the comment, especially by those who heard it out of context.
But Cooper clarified that she was not talking about the skiers’ appearances being similar. She was making a genuine point about Yan Ting’s aerial routine, and its similarity to that of other Chinese freestyle skiers:
Just finished the Aerials, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of comments about my remarks re the Chinese. I need to make it clear I was talking about the jump. The Chinese are trained by one coach with one technique, their aim is all to jump the same.
Bring on the final tomorrow night.
— Jacqui Cooper (@JacquiCooperSKI) February 15, 2018
Cooper’s full comment was as follows: “Double-twisting double summersault. Not a massive degree of difficulty. Very nicely done, great control. Very Chinese. They all look the same. Very hard to tell who’s who.”
The Australian TV network, Channel Seven, also released a statement defending Cooper:
“During tonight’s commentary of the women’s aerials, commentator Jacqui Cooper, a former Olympian and world champion, noted that an aerial maneuver was in a technical and style sense, very Chinese. Meaning that the whole of the Chinese aerial team are trained in the same way – and the maneuver referenced was a classic, technically perfect, trademark of that team’s style. At no time was the commentary racist, intended to be racist or offensive.”