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Thread: Eurosport Commentary Team

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    EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA CaroLiza_fan's Avatar
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    Eurosport Commentary Team

    For the 10 years that I have been watching figure skating, Eurosport has always been my first choice of channel to watch on. Admittedly, the main reason for this was that, until I discovered internet streaming, Eurosport was the ONLY place that I could watch figure skating.

    But the other reason was that I really like Eurosport’s English-language commentary team. They have had the same 3 guys commentating together for about 20 years and, no matter who is paired up with who, they all compliment each other very well.

    Sure, there are little things about each of them that can be annoying, but this is just a minor thing.

    However, over the past few years, Eurosport has been increasing the number of figure skating championships than it shows. This may sound like a good thing, but because Eurosport has the rights to more sports than it used to, the coverage of the figure skating is not as comprehensive as it used to be.

    One big side affect of showing more championships is that it is getting harder for Eurosport to get its figure skating commentators together at the same time! Like, each of them has other commitments:

    Simon Reed has his commitments as a tennis commentator, not to mention his day job of running Eurosport’s commentary department. Oh, and I just found out that Simon stood in as commentator on the last few episodes of “Dancing On Ice”, while the regular commentator Tony Gubba was on his death-bed. So if he gets the job permanently, that’ll be even less time with us.

    To be honest, I don’t know what Nicky Slater’s day job is now that he’s not skating. But, I cannot even begin to imagine the anguish he has been going through in his personal life. I was just surprised that he did come back before the end of this season. But, maybe watching the skating helped take his mind off things.

    Chris Howarth’s day job is running a rink in Chicago, so it is not always possible for him to come home every few weeks to commentate for British Eurosport. But, I like the way that when he can’t make it home for a competition he is pencilled in to commentate on, he gets his former coach, David Clements, to stand in for him. It is good to see that even after all these years, the relationship is still there

    I have already given my opinions on the regular commentators elsewhere on this forum ( http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/sho...l=1#post716913 ) . But, since I just mentioned one of the stand-ins, I will give my verdict on the commentary given by David Clements and Richard Vaughan on the Gala at Junior Worlds.

    Firstly, Richard Vaughan has a lovely voice that I could listen to all day. But, he knows very little about figure skating (as somebody pointed out, he normally commentates on curling, a sport I have no desire to ever watch!) He would frequently ask David a question just as a performance was about to start, and it would take most of the performance for David to explain the answer. The result was that we didn’t get to hear the music properly!!! Grrrrr!!! (As you have probably gathered by now, this is a pet hate of mine!)

    David Clements, on the other hand, knows a lot about figure skating because he’s been there himself. He was a pretty good former singles skater (1959 British Men’s Champion, no less), and has been a coach for many years. But, knowledgeable though he is, you can tell he has been out of the game for a long time.

    The result of Eurosport having a small team that it is becoming more common for them to have one commentator flying solo. Personally, I don’t like it when this happens. I prefer it when we are getting two sets of opinions rather than just the one.

    So, I would like to propose that Eurosport expands its (regular) commentary team. In fact, I would not just expand it by one or two, I would double it to six!!!

    From what I can tell, Eurosport seems to like to pair a journalist with a former competitor in its commentary teams. Below is a list of some examples.

    Figure skating: Simon Reed (journalist); with Chris Howarth or Nicky Slater (former competitors)

    Nordic skiing: David Goldstrom (journalist); with Mike Dixon or Patrick Winterton (former competitors)*

    *Curiously, the stand-in commentator, Steve Day, is a former motorbike racer! But, he does know a lot about ski-jumping.

    MotoGP: Julian Ryder and Toby Moody (journalists); with Randy Mamola (former competitor)*

    *Randy Mamola left the team a few years ago, to become manager of British rider Bradley Smith. He was replaced by Neil Spalding, who is better known now as a journalist, but was a successful Club racer back in the day. But, he never got to GP level.

    Superbikes: Jack Burnicle (journalist); with Jamie Whitham or James Haydon (former competitors)

    Snooker: David Hendon or Mike Smyth (journalists); with Mike Hallett or Joe Johnson (former competitors)

    Women’s football: Tim Caple or Wayne Boyce (journalists); with Sue Smith or Emma Hayes (former competitors)

    You get the drift?

    At the moment, Eurosport’s figure skating commentary team consists of:

    Simon Reed(male journalist)
    Chris Howarth (male singles skater)
    Nicky Slater (male ice dancer)

    At the moment, we only have one journalist on the team. If figure skating was made to follow the Eurosport trend, then this would mean that all the weight was falling on Simon’s shoulders. Given the number of competitions Eurosport is covering, that wouldn’t be fair on him. But, of course, Simon’s in charge of commentary, so he won’t let it get to that!

    Although I like the current team, I do think that it could do with some female input. Women look at things differently to men, so it would put a different perspective on things.

    So, I would like to add a female journalist to Eurosport’s figure skating team.

    Also, it is very noticeable that although Men’s singles skating and Ice Dance are catered for in the Eurosport commentary team, Ladies singles skating and Pairs skating are not.

    This may seem a minor thing, but when the commentary team is as small as it currently, you are going to get skaters commentating on disciplines that are not their area of expertise. I’ve said this before elsewhere on this forum, but Chris makes no secret that he doesn’t know much about Ice Dance, yet he still ends up commentating on it. Similarly, when Nicky is commentating on Singles and Pairs skating, he tries to apply things from Ice Dance, and it doesn’t always work.

    So, I would like to see a Ladies skater and a Pairs skater join the boys on Eurosport’s figure skating team.

    The result of my suggestions is a team consisting of:

    a male journalist (i.e. Simon Reed)
    a female journalist
    a male singles skater (i.e. Chris Howarth)
    a female singles skater
    a pairs skater
    an ice dancer (i.e. Nicky Slater)

    With a commentary team of six, there will be a bigger pool from which a commentary team for a particular competition can be drawn from. So, there will be less chance of us being left with one commentator flying solo. Even if two or three from the team can’t make it for a particular competition, we will still have enough commentators to give us a variety of views and opinions.

    The question now is, who would you like to see join Simon, Chris and Nicky in the team?

    Given that Chris sometimes finds it difficult to get back home, it would work best if the additional commentators were based in Britain, or at least in Europe!

    So, get your suggestions in. I already have a few ideas, but I am going to post them in a separate reply, as this message is already very long!!! (But, including lists does tend to have that effect!)

    CaroLiza_fan

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    EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA CaroLiza_fan's Avatar
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    Here are my thoughts on how to expand the Eurosport commentary team.

    Except that we already have ice dance catered for with Nicky, I would have loved Sinead Kerr to become a regular contributor. There was one time that Sinead was injured and they came into the commentary booth as guests, and I remember thinking “You would be good at this…”

    Plus, the Kerrs are Scottish, and there are not enough Scottish commentators on TV!

    The Kerrs were not only Britain’s most successful ice dance team for many years, but they have the benefit of having competed under both the old and the current judging system (unlike, say, Jayne Torvill or Christopher Dean, who would be the other obvious Dance option). But, both Sinead and John are currently based in America, so they would run into the same logistical problems as Chris currently does.

    In fact, I would have loved to have John Kerr as well, except that he already has his hands full with coaching.

    But, somebody who now doesn’t have his hands as full with coaching is John Nicks. He would be a great choice. Firstly, John was a successful Pairs skater with his late sister, Jennifer (they won the World and European Championships once, and the British Championships 6 times). And with John becoming a successful coach to both pairs skaters and singles skaters after his own competitive career ended, he would have an insight into pretty much all aspects of the sport.

    The downside, of course, is that (like Chris and Sinead) John is currently living in America. Now that he is retiring from full-time coaching, John might feel the urge to move back to England. But, if he’s going to continue with Ashley Wagner part-time, then he must be staying in America. And anyway, even though it would just be a case of returning home rather than moving to a foreign country, I still can’t imagine anybody in their eighties wanting to go through the hassle of moving half-way across the world.

    For that matter, would a TV channel want to risk taking on somebody of that age? Like, 44 year-olds are finding it difficult enough to get jobs on British TV, never mind 84 year-olds!

    I can think of one person that would tick a whole pile of boxes: –

    • female
    • is a very good singles skater (Junior World Champion, 4 Continents Champion, Skate America Silver Medallist)
    • has competed under both judging systems
    • at 28 is young enough to get a long career out of it
    • is already a BRILLIANT journalist
    • and on top of all that, is a really nice person!


    The problem is she lives in America. Yes, I am of course talking about Jennifer Kirk.

    Jenny would be absolutely perfect. But, given the success she is already having with “The Skating Lesson”, I can’t see her upping sticks and moving to this side of the Atlantic. However, if she is willing to commute just for the competitions, I’m sure Eurosport would jump at the chance to sign her up. Apart from everything else, it would be interesting to hear how different (or similar) the opinions are of somebody from a different country.

    The question is: which category on the list would you put Jenny into – female journalist or female singles skater? Well, I can think of other Ladies skaters, but I can’t think of any other journalists (male or female!). So, to make life easier for myself, she’s a journalist in my list!

    So, who would I pick as the female singles skater? Well, that’s a tough one. Jenna McCorkell would be the obvious choice. After all, she has dominated the British Championships for the past decade, and she is around that age that skaters think of retiring. But the simple thing is that Jenna is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful athletes, so I don’t want her to retire yet!!!

    As for the skaters that Jenna has been competing against, well most of the higher profile ones are still competing, so mightn’t want extra distractions from training. And I don’t really know any of the skaters from before Jenna’s time. So, I might need to look further afield…

    The problem with searching for candidates in Europe is that, although most people nowadays do speak English, you don’t know whether it is good enough to sustain a good commentary.

    I remember a certain Ukrainian skater doing a stint in the RAI commentary box last year while out through injury (no, I don’t know how she ended up with the Italians, either!). And, because she doesn’t speak Italian, the regular commentators were talking to her in English. And she really struggled to answer them. I felt really sorry for her. You couldn’t help but think “Come on, quit torturing the poor girl! She’s upset enough that she’s not out there on the ice, without going through this!”

    Meanwhile, just to balance things up, there is another Ukrainian skater that speaks VERY good English. So, you just don’t know.

    If we are thinking of European skaters that have recently retired, Laura Lepistö is the obvious first choice. And she speaks pretty good English. But, if she was to go into commentating, she would probably prefer to start off with a Finnish language channel.

    So, I’m stuck. Anybody have any ideas on a female singles skater?

    So far, my line-up would be:

    Simon Reed (male journalist)
    Jennifer Kirk (female journalist)
    Chris Howarth (male singles skater)
    ? (female singles skater)
    John Nicks (pairs skater)
    Nicky Slater (ice dancer)

    Can anybody come up with a better line-up?

    CaroLiza_fan

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    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    The best team!!!Nicky and Chris are my favorites

    Karen Barber and Nicky Slater http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR6A_uMU0mI

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    Custom Title BlackPack's Avatar
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    I think Laura Lepisto did do some commentary recently for Finnish TV. For the life of me, I don't remember where I watched it on youtube.

    Jennifer Kirk would be a wonderful candidate, though I wonder if Eurosport would want a Yank. Not a problem for me, but I do wonder if it's a consideration for them.

    I do know that some sports channels (i.e. beIN Sports) don't necessarily have the commentators travel to the locations of the competitions; they merely have the commentators sit in a room and commentate to the satellite broadcasts.

    Traditionally, sports commentary always paired a "journalist" to announce basic facts of the athletes and the general competition, while "color" commentators are there to add "color" due to being former athletes in the sports they are commentating on. I find it fascinating to learn about the British Eurosport commentators' backgrounds; their knowledge and depth of analysis surpass any commentary I've heard on any sport. They really think and reflect on what they're seeing, and I think they are true figure skating commentators, as they have transcended their backgrounds. With other commentators, i.e. (Tara Lipinski, I didn't know it was Tara while watching), you can tell they are former competitors still basing their insights on their subjective competitive experiences and not from a general, but deep knowledge of the sport as a whole. The lack of interesting, insightful analysis is, I suppose, to be expected since some skaters are not particularly educated or analytical people. However, Simon and Chris can debate about a performance meaningfully, despite being a "journalist" and a former competitor.

    Has Eurosport showed a desire to change its team?

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    Is this the British EuroSport team?

    I am admittedly more of a Yuna-figure skating fan more than a general figure skating fan, she captivates me every time I see her skate ... but when I watch videos of her epic performances I constantly find myself preferring the British EuroSport broadcasts. These guys are really good, and I say that as a former sports broadcaster myself. They never talk too much, just the right thing at the right moment, sparsely. The rest is left for the audience to enjoy the performance.

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    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    Is this the British EuroSport team?

    I am admittedly more of a Yuna-figure skating fan more than a general figure skating fan, she captivates me every time I see her skate ... but when I watch videos of her epic performances I constantly find myself preferring the British EuroSport broadcasts. These guys are really good, and I say that as a former sports broadcaster myself. They never talk too much, just the right thing at the right moment, sparsely. The rest is left for the audience to enjoy the performance.
    And they are not biased, each skater receives support from them

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    EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA CaroLiza_fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    I think Laura Lepisto did do some commentary recently for Finnish TV. For the life of me, I don't remember where I watched it on youtube.
    Mmmm. That is interesting. It's good to hear that Laura is staying involved in the sport in some capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    Jennifer Kirk would be a wonderful candidate, though I wonder if Eurosport would want a Yank. Not a problem for me, but I do wonder if it's a consideration for them.
    Nah, I don't think that would be a problem. Put it like this: Randy Mamola, who I mentioned in MotoGP, is American.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    I do know that some sports channels (i.e. beIN Sports) don't necessarily have the commentators travel to the locations of the competitions; they merely have the commentators sit in a room and commentate to the satellite broadcasts.
    Eurosport do that for some sports, but not for others. For example, the motorbike commentators are always on location, whereas the snooker commentators never are. David Goldstrom tends to commentate on all forms of Nordic skiing, so it depends how many events are being held on the same day as to whether he is on location at any of them or not!

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    Traditionally, sports commentary always paired a "journalist" to announce basic facts of the athletes and the general competition, while "color" commentators are there to add "color" due to being former athletes in the sports they are commentating on. I find it fascinating to learn about the British Eurosport commentators' backgrounds; their knowledge and depth of analysis surpass any commentary I've heard on any sport. They really think and reflect on what they're seeing, and I think they are true figure skating commentators, as they have transcended their backgrounds. With other commentators, i.e. (Tara Lipinski, I didn't know it was Tara while watching), you can tell they are former competitors still basing their insights on their subjective competitive experiences and not from a general, but deep knowledge of the sport as a whole. The lack of interesting, insightful analysis is, I suppose, to be expected since some skaters are not particularly educated or analytical people. However, Simon and Chris can debate about a performance meaningfully, despite being a "journalist" and a former competitor.
    And that's why I love them!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    Is this the British EuroSport team?

    I constantly find myself preferring the British EuroSport broadcasts. These guys are really good, and I say that as a former sports broadcaster myself. They never talk too much, just the right thing at the right moment, sparsely. The rest is left for the audience to enjoy the performance.
    Exactly! My preference is always to look for videos with them commentating as well! Put it like this - the Russian and Italian commentators could learn a lot from them about timing when to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    And they are not biased, each skater receives support from them
    Just like all good commentators should be! Although, Simon can tend to be critical of Patrick Chan, or rather critical of the scores Patrick gets... (I know I'm the one that just mentioned it, but PLEASE don't turn this thread into yet another discussion of "Chanflation")

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    Has Eurosport showed a desire to change its team?
    Oh no, don't worry! This thread is just me thinking that Eurosport needs a bigger team of commentators to cope with the increasing number of competitions they are now showing. (Which is a GOOD thing!!! )

    CaroLiza_fan

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    Custom Title BlackPack's Avatar
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    CaroLiza, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqYLMnyl8VA is Euro 2013. Laura Lepisto is one of the commentators.

    Actually, it would be really exciting to see Jennifer Kirk become a commentator. The Skating Lessons is a great blog, and she is a beautiful writer as well.

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    Jenny Kirk bad idea for Eurosport Commentary Team

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    CaroLiza, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqYLMnyl8VA is Euro 2013. Laura Lepisto is one of the commentators.

    Actually, it would be really exciting to see Jennifer Kirk become a commentator. The Skating Lessons is a great blog, and she is a beautiful writer as well.
    Like so many figure skating supporters, I lOVE Eurosport with Nicky, Simon & the gang because their commentary is so insightful, uplifting and positive; they always find something unique and complimentary about every skater's program. IMO it would be a terrible idea to include Jenny Kirk in that team. The Kerrs - excellent idea - or what about gracious & knowledgeable Canadian/American Tanith Belbin? Jenny Kirk's focus, along with her deranged blogger boy side-kick who she uses as a mouth piece, promote nasty innuendo and toxic gossip; their main focus seems to be to knock skaters down. Quite the antithesis of Eurosport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Diva View Post
    Like so many figure skating supporters, I lOVE Eurosport with Nicky, Simon & the gang because their commentary is so insightful, uplifting and positive; they always find something unique and complimentary about every skater's program. IMO it would be a terrible idea to include Jenny Kirk in that team. The Kerrs - excellent idea - or what about gracious & knowledgeable Canadian/American Tanith Belbin? Jenny Kirk's focus, along with her deranged blogger boy side-kick who she uses as a mouth piece, promote nasty innuendo and toxic gossip; their main focus seems to be to knock skaters down. Quite the antithesis of Eurosport.
    You've obviously not been watching most of what TSL puts out. In the interviews they let the athletes/coaches/etc. speak their piece, and are very respectful. I do love how Dave gets this bad rap as some evil FS Blogger. First, its obvious that they (Jenny and Dave) know their stuff. Second, Dave's "snark" has calmed down A LOT in the past year or two, as his journalistic endeavors have started to succeed. Third, you obviously don't watch TSL all that much, because Jenny isn't Dave's sidekick, nor is Dave, Jenny's. They're pretty much equal partners.

    I mean seriously, at least throw some insults at them that can stick. Yes, on their "This and That" segments, SOMETIMES, they could get a tad carried away, but it's not like they're blatant making up things about people. This stuff IS apart of Figure Skating, and they are commenting on it. They're not making anything of it up. If you don't like their opinions, fine, but they haven't said anything patently false. So, let's get back on topic, please.

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    LOL - I am on topic: why JK is not a suitable candidate for a Eurosport commentator. Tough if you don't like my opinion about Jenny K's blog. It's shared by a ton of people I know who are skaters & coaches. I've watched the blog once & it reminded me of reading a trashy mag like the Star. Since TSL has no hard EVIDENCE for many of their opinions of course they are false - they're just gossip & hearsay. Obviously you are a fan, I'm not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Diva View Post
    LOL - I am on topic: why JK is not a suitable candidate for a Eurosport commentator.
    Well, now that we're on the topic of who we don't want as a Eurosport commentator, I would just like to say that I wouldn't want to watch Kurt Browning commentate on anything that is ice dancing-related on any channel. His comments were either absent (which is fine) or largely negative (not-so-fine) when it was time for Davis/White to perform. I get rooting for your country and all, but the way he talked about Davis/White was quite pretentious to me.

    If you don't like D/W, Kurt, please, just shut up and talk about how great V/M are when they are actually performing. Or skate to "Singin' in the Rain" and we'll all forget about how much of a jerk you can be.

    (Go British Eurosport!) :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    I think Laura Lepisto did do some commentary recently for Finnish TV. For the life of me, I don't remember where I watched it on youtube.

    Jennifer Kirk would be a wonderful candidate, though I wonder if Eurosport would want a Yank. Not a problem for me, but I do wonder if it's a consideration for them.
    Yes, Laura has done some FS commentary and I sure hope that she would leave it for Anu-Liisa Uotila who is a fantastic commentator and earlier has done all the disciplines. Laura needs to train her voice and learn how to express things before doing any more commentary. Uotila would be an excellent role model for all that!!!

    I don´t think that Kirk or that guy would be any assets for Eurosport, .

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    The funny thing is I do agree with you all, though, that I don't think Jenny would be a good fit for the Eurosport commentary team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaana View Post
    Yes, Laura has done some FS commentary and I sure hope that she would leave it for Anu-Liisa Uotila who is a fantastic commentator and earlier has done all the disciplines. Laura needs to train her voice and learn how to express things before doing any more commentary. Uotila would be an excellent role model for all that!!!
    Yes Uotila has some nice qualities, but in some areas she's painful to listen to. Typical example is when Oda once went Oda (did three 3t's in one LP instead of 4t and two 3t's), Uotila praised him for being smart and playing it safe and then couldn't understand why he got such low scores. That happens regularly.

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