Bring on the Memories

By on Feb 19, 2018 in @SkatingPj, Olympics, Skating

The Olympic Games. This kind of work isn’t for everyone; but it sure suits me.

There are a lot of moving parts in being an Olympic announcer. It is an enormous privilege. You have to have an open mind and flexible spirit because being a guest worker in someone else’s country means you won’t be working necessarily in the same way you do at home.

Once here, the preparation started in earnest, and the ‘announcing choreography’ required in two languages got figured out. Mr. Ku is my Korean co-announcer. He hadn’t really done skating before but had done a ton of preparation, so it became a case of figuring out who would say what, and when. The small bios that we say during warm-up had to get prepared by me and then translated by Mr. Ku. They had to include enough information to be able to say something a little different each time. There are over 100 entries – so you can imagine that it took some time and effort from both of us.

As an announcer, it can be nerve-wracking if you are working with someone in another language who may not be on the ball and things have to change on the fly (which they sometimes do). Fortunately, this is not the case here and Mr. Ku has been an amazing partner. At the end of the day – getting it right for the skaters and the event is what we are aiming for. I always say you don’t really ‘hear’ good announcing but if the announcing is terrible, you don’t hear anything else!!!

I love my job. I love having the chance to sit and watch skating and the memories that flood my brain as the results unfold. Here are just a couple of examples:

In 2002, Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao won a bronze pair medal in Salt Lake City. They happened to come by the boards during the medal ceremony where I was seated, and I am guessing that as the only familiar face, Xue handed me her medal ceremony bouquet, I thought to hold. She motioned for me to keep it. I was touched. It had been a sad day for our family as my father-in-law had passed away early that morning, and I was so far away from home and my kids. Xue’s generous, gentle and sweet gesture took some of the sting out of that day. I will never forget it.

In 2014, the French announcer at Olympic Medals Plaza in Sochi was not available one evening. I was on call as it was a day off from figure skating, so I went. One of the ceremonies that day was for men’s figure skating. It was a thrill to announce at a medals ceremony that Included, Yuzuru Hanyu, Patrick Chan and Denis Ten who are all young men with whom I have spent a fair amount of time in backstage areas around the world. I have great affection for each of them. You know what I did? In a moment of inspiration, I took the page from my script that had my notes scribbled on it, and their names and got them each to sign it. It took almost a year by the time I ran into each guy again. That piece of paper is one of my favourite mementos and is framed and hanging in my office.

Felt lucky and grateful for the opportunities in equal parts. Bring on the memories.