Still run­ning fast and hard

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

Matt Shirv­ing­ton

‘‘ I got a call from Chan­nel 7 about Danc­ing With the Stars. I was liv­ing in Lon­don at the time so I thought, ‘ OK, free trip to Aus­tralia and a bit of down time’.’’

Seven then gave him a pre­sent­ing role on Be­yond To­mor­row.

‘‘ Off that, Brian Walsh at Fox­tel gave me a call and gave me a gig on Sky News read­ing sport.

‘‘ I haven’t tried to fake my way through it and I’ve been re­ally trans­par­ent with my learn­ing on there and have been crit­i­cised heav­ily. ‘‘ I stuck with it. There were many times I didn’t want to go in be­cause it was dif­fi­cult. It wasn’t just the read­ing part of it, that is al­most sec­ondary to the pro­duc­tion. Any­thing that goes to air is my choice. I have to com­pile the bul­letin, then get up and read it, and at times ad-lib as we go.’’

He will have a key role in Fox­tel’s Olympic cov­er­age along­side Eddie McGuire.

‘‘ There is a fun­da­men­tal el­e­ment that you take from your ca­reer as an ath­lete and that’s work ethic,’’ Shirv­ing­ton says.

‘‘ The harder you work in train­ing as an ath­lete the bet­ter the re­sult. Broad­cast­ing is the same.

‘‘ That has been pre­par­ing me for this (Olympics). I’ll do a stu­dio gig with Eddie dur­ing Games time, which is 6pm to 11pm here (Aus­tralian time).

‘‘ We’ll be di­rect­ing peo­ple to the best and great­est events. I feel blessed. There have been thou­sands of ath­letes come through who I be­lieve could do this job and I’ve just been lucky enough to do it.’’

It’s in stark con­trast to the tragic story of for­mer Aus­tralian sprint cham­pion Daniel Bat­man, who last month was killed in a car crash near Dar­win.

Bat­man was on­ce­mar­ried to fel­low sprinter and Hock­ey­roo Nova Peris and the cou­ple have two chil­dren.

‘‘ He was so tal­ented — I’ve known him since he was 16 or 17,’’ a deeply sad­dened Shirv­ing­ton says.

‘‘ He’d get him­self in mis­chief and trou­ble . . . but that was just Daniel. He wanted to leave his mark.’’ Open­ing Cer­e­mony, Fox Sports, Satur­day, 5.30am

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