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 ( ) . 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!)