Kenny gets call- up

KING OF SPORT’S OLYMPIC DREAM

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

AT CHAN­NEL 9, Ken Sut­cliffe is called the King of Sport.

At the Lon­don 2012 Olympics, he fi­nally gets to take his place on the Olympics broad­cast­ing throne.

He might have been cov­er­ing sport for more than 40 years, but this is the first time Sut­cliffe will have made it inside the fence for a sum­mer Olympics.

With Nine se­cur­ing broad­cast rights for Lon­don 2012, a po­si­tion held in re­cent times by ri­val Chan­nel 7, Sut­cliffe fi­nally gets his chance inside the con­fines of the Olympic venues.

Mr Sport is fi­nally where he should be: smack bang in the mid­dle of the un­fold­ing drama of a sum­mer Olympics.

It’s taken him 40 years to get inside the fence and Sut­cliffe is ready to soak up ev­ery minute.

‘‘ I was talk­ing to the Aus­tralian swim­ming team a cou­ple of months ago . . . those kids are so driven . . . the years they have put in,’’ he says.

‘‘ I said: ‘ I ad­mire all those things you’ve done. You’ve chased that black dot and you’re go­ing to Lon­don, but I’ll tell you some­thing: you’ve earned that spot. And so have I’.

‘‘ I have been in train­ing for this one for 40 years. I started in the me­dia in 1966.

‘‘ I’m not an ath­lete but I have that burn­ing am­bi­tion: one day we might get there. And here we are.’’

Sut­cliffe has cov­ered sum­mer Olympics be­fore but be­cause Nine was not host broad­caster at those events, like many oth­ers, he worked out­side the fence

I know the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing on the out­side and the inside, and inside is so much bet­ter

– Ken Sut­cliffe

with no ap­proved me­dia ac­cess to Olympic venues, scor­ing in­ter­views with ath­letes where he could.

‘‘ My most mem­o­rable is prob­a­bly the 1984 Los Angeles Sum­mer Olympics when [ weightlifter] Dean Lukin won gold,’’ Sut­cliffe says.

‘‘ Dean was stay­ing at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. He was on one side of a fence with a pad­locked gate and I was on the other. It looked like we were ei­ther side of the bars of a jail.

‘‘ I re­mem­ber think­ing: This is a hard way to cover the Games.’’

For Sydney in 2000, it was more of the same.

‘‘ Sydney hurt, be­cause it’s the home town,’’ Sut­cliffe says.

But he still names Cathy Free­man’s gold in Sydney as one of his favourite Olympic mo­ments.

‘‘ I was so ter­ri­bly proud – and so was ev­ery­body else – for Cathy Free­man, not just that she won, but what she did,’’ he says.

‘‘ She was, for us, the Olympic Games. She car­ried all of that and yet when it got to the track she tuned it all out and was mag­nif­i­cent.’’

Sut­cliffe has cov­ered four win­ter Olympics with Nine as host broad­caster, and sev­eral Com­mon­wealth Games.

‘‘ I know the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing on the out­side and the inside, and inside is so much bet­ter,’’ he grins.

‘‘ Ac­cess is eas­ier. I mean, I know I fought harder when I was out­side the fence – you get trick­ier and use all your cun­ning.

‘‘ You don’t have to be quite as ruth­less inside be­cause it is there on the ta­ble and Nine has paid a lot of money for that right.’’

Sut­cliffe, a 33- year net­work vet­eran at Nine, heads a huge team the net­work will

take to Lon­don to cover the Games. He will host Nine’s live overnight broad­casts over the 16 days of com­pe­ti­tion, head­ing an im­pres­sive team of hosts and com­men­ta­tors, in­clud­ing Karl Ste­fanovic, Leila McKin­non, Eddie McGuire, Mark Ni­cholas, Cameron Wil­liams, Ray War­ren, Gi­aan Rooney, James Tomkins, Kerri Pot­tharst, Robert de Castella, Grant Hack­ett, An­drew Gaze and English gold medal­lists Steve Ovett and Da­ley Thomp­son.

Nine will broad­cast more than 300 hours of free- to- air cov­er­age and will also simul­cast in high def­i­ni­tion on GEM.

Wide World of Sports will de­liver 16.5 hours of con­tin­u­ous live daily cov­er­age with Lon­don Live from 6.30pm to 9am and Lon­don Gold from 9am to 11am.

Lon­don Gold, show­cas­ing the day’s high­lights, will be re­played ev­ery af­ter­noon from 4pm to 6pm.

For Sut­cliffe, who has cov­ered four Win­ter Olympics, hosted four Com­mon­wealth Games for Nine: Bris­bane ( 1982), Auck­land ( 1990), cov­ered two soc­cer World Cups and hosted Wim­ble­don for 20 years and the US Open for more than a decade, Lon­don may well be his ca­reer high­light.

‘‘ I’ve been for­tu­nate that each time I’ve cov­ered some­thing that can’t be em­u­lated, some­thing else comes along,’’ he says.

‘‘ I re­mem­ber go­ing to the soc­cer World Cup in Ger­many in 1996 and think­ing this is the best ever. Then I went on to Wim­ble­don.

‘‘ I thought it didn’t get any bet­ter than cov­er­ing the Amer­ica’s Cup in Fremantle. Ev­ery time I get an­other jewel handed to me. This is a jewel, no doubt about it.’’

He says the key to the Lon­don Olympics is the world just wants some good news.

‘‘ We are sick and tired of the car­bon tax, and we have wars rag­ing and stock mar­kets crash­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘ We have busi­nesses go­ing un­der and peo­ple go­ing broke. The world needs a cou­ple of wins.

‘‘ And with the Olympics, even if your coun­try isn’t win­ning the medal tallies, it’s just the pure, joy­ous es­capism of watch­ing ath­letes ab­so­lutely hav­ing a crack.’’

LON­DON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES WIN’s cov­er­age starts at 5.30am Satur­day with live cov­er­age of the open­ing cer­e­mony. IN THE SPOT­LIGHT: ( Clock­wise from bot­tom left, op­po­site page) Libby Trick­ett, Stephanie Rice, Trick­ett rac­ing, Ken Sut­cliffe, in­set, James Mag­nussen and the Nine team ( Sut­cliffe, Cameron Wil­liams, Mark Ni­cholas, Leila McKin­non and Karl Ste­fanovic).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.