TV star sorry for racial clanger
AUSTRALIAN Olympic legend Kerri Pottharst has issued a public, unreserved apology for making a comment that has offended many viewers of Channel 7's Commonwealth Games beach volleyball coverage.
The beach volleyball gold medal-winner from the Sydney 2000 Olympics dropped a comment that many fans believe was racially insensitive when commenting during Australia's massive win over St Kitts and Nevis on Sunday at Coolangatta Beach.
The 52-year-old sporting icon claimed during the match that the players from the West Indies nation looked like "human lamingtons covered in sand".
Pottharst's comments about St Kitts and Nevis duo St Clair Hodge and Shawn Seabrookes went down like a led balloon with fans on social media, The Herald Sun reports.
"The commentator just said the dark skin from the player mixed with sand made him look like a human lamington GET THAT WOMAN OFF THE AIR," one viewer posted on Twitter.
"Your commentator called a volleyball player a HUMAN LAMINGTON. Seriously?!?!" wrote another.
"Appalling commentary: "Human lamington" used by Channel 7 commentator for a St Kitts and Nevis beach volleyball player."
Pottharst publicly apologised on Sunday night.
"I made a comment I unreservedly apologise for and sincerely regret. It was 100 per cent not meant to offend."
It was the second on-air gaffe for the host broadcaster at a major sporting event this year.
During February's Winter Olympics, former aerial skiing champion Jacqui Cooper came under fire for saying Chinese competitors 'looked the same'.
"They all look the same, it's very hard to tell who's who," she told viewers.
She later clarified her remarks, saying she was referring to their similar style and technique, not their physical attributes.
Earlier, Aussie pair Chris McHugh and Damien Schuman fired a warning shot to Commonwealth Games rivals during their crushing win over St Kitts and Nevis.
Schumann dominated with his serve in a comprehensive first set, but McHugh then smacked one in at 96km an hour - just two shy of the tournament high - in their 21-3 21-10 win.
The result clinches a quarter-final spot for the host nation despite having one more pool match to play against Trinidad and Tobago on Monday before the elimination draw is released later that night.
It was a scorching start from the Australian duo on Sunday, claiming the first 16 points of the match before wrapping up the set in a stunning 14-minute exhibition.
But the host nation took their foot off the pedal in the second, with the healthy Coolangatta beach crowd warmly cheering every point from St Clair Hodge and Shawn Seabrookes.
"Darren served lights out in the first set. He served really tough which is always good for the team, it was something that we're focusing on," McHugh said after the match.
"They were a bit tired today so we managed to get a jump on them early. The second set they showed what they can do but we managed to stay on top."
- with AAP