Monday, January 25, 2010

ice skating commentator formula

I think announcers for ice skating competitions are the greatest.

The skater finds her place on the ice and the music starts; this is when the announcers tell a personal story about the skater--"Bob, she's been fighting off a pesky cough these last few days so we'll see if that affects her skating." Or, "Now, you know she's been wanting to skate here at the Nationals ever since she watched Michelle Kwan at the Olympics. She told me she just loved seeing the combination of grace and strength."

Then the skater gets into her routine and the announcers get a little more technical. "The reason she's all over the place tonight is that nervousness she's fighting. But maybe there's nothing to be nervous about....tonight!" as she prepares for and executes a triple lutz or double axle.

By this point they are invested; you can almost see them clenching their seats, leaning forward as if to give their extra energy to the skater. For some time they remain silent. As the viewer we trust this is because there are no words to say, not because the announcer really has no idea what a triple lutz or double axle are.

As the skater ends, though, the announcers pick up their technical talk. "We have to remember she saved that jump for the last half of her program, which adds ten-percent to her points. After her short program, though, will this skate be enough to put her in the top three?"

The skater strikes her final pose, chest rising and falling as if she were asthmatic, and we hear predictions and speculation for how the judges will score.

What's not to like about such a simple formula and the enthusiasm with which those announcers follow it?

1 comment:

  1. dad says: I like it when they say, ooh she caught a glitch in the ice :) word made famous by Dick Button