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Thursday 22 March 2018

Kirsty at large: The hug that ignited my Olympic flame

Big splash: Divers Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow in the pool
Big splash: Divers Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow in the pool
Suited and Booted: Daithí Ó Sé. Photo: Brian Mc Evoy
Heat in the kitchen: GBBO host Mary Berry
Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviane with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2014
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

I have a confession to make. I am guilty of objectifying Olympic athletes.

Yes, your honour, I hold my hands up. I am that horribly shallow person who stares at an Olympian's broad shoulders while pretending to care about field hockey and fencing.

It was me who faked an interest in pole vaulting so I could watch men in Lycra shorts crash on to spring mats.

I blame the diving. Or more specifically, Dan Goodfellow and Tom Daley's bronze medal mega-hug. What a truly beautiful sporting moment.

It's been difficult to focus on anything since to be honest. The other night while watching the 3M men's diving final (and eating an ice cream-flavoured chocolate mini Swiss roll) something caught my eye.

"What," I asked the rest of the newsroom. "What are those things protruding from the side of that man's body?"

"Oblique muscles," I was told.

Reader, I have never seen those muscles on an Irish man. Ever.

One of my male colleagues was quick to point out that if he had so shamelessly stared at the torso of a female athlete there would be uproar. "Ssshhhhussh," I responded. "Jack Laugher is taking a shower."

Of course, he is right. There is a double standard here. I am aghast when leaked photos of female celebs circulate online or when male sports commentators focus all their attention on what female athletes are wearing.

It's an invasion of privacy and demeaning and yada yada yada.

But, like every woman I know, I went out of my way to see the pictures of Orlando Bloom paddle-boarding naked.

And when Justin Bieber threw off his pants - thus reigniting his and Orlando's long-standing feud - I wanted to know ALL about it.

And is that so bad? In relation to Rio - these athletes have spent years honing and toning their bodies to be jumping, running and diving machines.

It doesn't negate their achievements if we stop and appreciate their strapping physiques.

Is it really such a sin to stare in awe at an eight pack or wish that two semi-naked men hug once again?

We're only human after all.

And if we can't watch divers towel themselves dry or male celebrities wage online naked warfare, is this world even worth living in?

Strike a pose - the sacred art of the Rose of Tralee photocall

Suited and Booted: Daithí Ó Sé. Photo: Brian Mc Evoy

Suited and Booted: Daithí Ó Sé

The Irish photocall is an art form like no other.

Over the years, Irish models have perfected this skill: they've posed with potato peelings shoved down their bikini bottoms (National Potato Day 2014), pretended to eat kebabs on Jervis Street (National Kebab Day 2011), and straddled bales of hay while seductively holding cans of marrowfat peas (the 2012 search for Ireland's most eligible bachelor farmer).

They have also been pictured with an assortment of props including - but not limited to - scratch cards, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread, wheelbarrows, SSIAs forms, Star Bars, cows, giant letters and GAA jerseys.

While the popularity of the photo call has waned in recent years, the annual Rose of Tralee photocall shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, I'm happy to report it is very much alive and kicking.

This week journalists gathered at Montrose to observe some of the sacred Rose of Tralee photocall traditions.

It began with all 65 roses chasing host Daithí Ó Sé around RTÉ while screaming their heads off. In return, Daithí lifted them up and twirled them around.

The Roses were then instructed to throw their shoes in to the air, a woman performed Edelweiss on a mandolin guitar while another pretended to meditate. Daithí did star jumps and lay on the ground playing with a dozen red balloons and a man with a megaphone instructed Roses to "keep the sashes straight".

Afterwards, Roses were brought over to reporter and given a brief introduction.

"This is London Rose Emma Murphy-O'Connor - she sat in on the Lying Eyes trial."

"This is Wicklow Rose Jane Harrison - she has lost 11 stone."

Other introductions could have done with a bit more work. "This is the Roscommon Rose and she enjoys taking showers."

There was a lot of talk about poetry being banned but most viewed it as a positive thing. "I'm making a breakfast roll on stage for Daithí," the Sligo Rose said proudly.

Then they all hoped aboard the Rose of Tralee magical mystery tour bus with Ó Sé at the helm. "The Rose of Tralee is like Winning Streak with none of the money," Ó Sé said.

Cupcake controversy a storm in a Volvic bottle

Heat in the kitchen: GBBO host Mary Berry

Heat in the kitchen: GBBO host Mary Berry

Better watch yourself. Icing cupcakes and flogging fizzy orange is a political minefield.

This week people got very angry with producers of the Great British Bake Off for issuing pictures of gendered cupcakes. That's blue and pink cupcakes, in case you're wondering.

Twitter flew into a rage - the way Twitter tends to.

"I thought #GBBO was one programme where the shape of your genitals was irrelevant. I was wrong," one bloke commented.

Fast-forward a few days and news broke that drinks company Volvic had pulled an ad campaign for orange-flavoured water in Scotland and Ireland for "fear of offending Catholics".

Apparently, the slogan "Orange and Proud" could be considered supportive of the Orange Order. It was deemed too provocative.

I suspect no one is really and truly offended by these colour-coding marketing ploys. Instead, I think we're all just desperate to showcase our outstanding moral fibre. We want everyone to know we're good souls so we huff and puff loudly.

But giving out about the shade of a cupcake isn't going make you the next Mother Teresa - so slow your roll. And have a jam doughnut.


Putin and Hickey (INT_ED5_S01) (Read-Only).jpg
Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviane with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2014

Where to begin? If ever there was a photo guaranteed to come back to haunt you it’s this one. Pretty much everything about this snap of Pat Hickey pumping fists with Russian President Vladimir Putin is wrong.

Say what?

‘The facts are there. And history proves it. We had Noah’s Ark’

Danny Healy-Rae explains how the biblical story of Noah supports his claim that climate change is nothing but hot air. It’s hard to argue with logic like this.



Performing at Electric Picnic – get your 80s’ headbands and leg warmers ready.

Brown Bread

Finally getting the recognition it deserves. Plus, it’s what spurred the O’Donovan brothers on to win silver.


Patronising ‘chin-up’ Leaving Cert tweets

No one wants to hear how you turned your life around after getting 67 points in the state exams a decade ago. So pipe down.

Sandal soakage

Unpredictable weather and open-toe shoes do not a happy marriage make.

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