Learning to HOST
TORONTO — Though the first season of was such a ratings success that CTV rushed to renew as printing to the mat, host Jon Montmery can’t help but see one area in ch the show needs to improve as it ds into its sophomore year. he host, he says, needs to be better. Obviously I need lots of work to cone to find my voice and my pace and rhythm and my feel for the show,” ntgomery told The Canadian Press before the teams were to begin ng. ust becoming, I guess, more aware of what role in this production is all about. As I ome more familiar with what people are ting of me, and how I can breathe in more y personality to it, I’ll maybe feel better ut the job that’s been done in the future, as go along. m definitely trying to grow with the show. to think I’ve got it dialled and I’m Mr. t With the Most would be — oh my God, a s overstatement. think,” he added, “that’s when you get placent in life and you don’t continue to w.” eading into the show’s first season, the me-haired 35-year-old was best-known to adians as the skeleton racer who celebratis gold medal victory at the 2010 VancouGames by marching down the street, belng O Canada and swigging beer straight m a pitcher. s host, Montgomery’s supersonic vocal dery — he was an auctioneer, after all — and per demeanour set him in stark contrast m Phil Keoghan’s coolly stoic approach to ing the popular American version of the w. s far as what he specifically wants to work Montgomery feels he might be capable of wing more out of the “mat chats,” othere known as the brief, sometimes emotioncharged interactions between the host and eams finally reaching their goal in each ode. Having a better idea of my role and what’s ected of me, I hope to be able to have some est, legitimate conversations with the rs and find out what’s making them tick,” aid. ontgomery was speaking before the nd Amazing Race Canada — which premieres July 8 on CTV — had actually begun, but he felt he could make certain declarations about the upcoming season with certainty.
For one thing, he promised a “gnarlier” slate of challenges — a threat that qualifies as almost sadistic for those who remember watching agonized teams dig through truckloads of lentils to locate tiny stuffed moose.
And for those who felt somewhat cheated by the first season’s outcome — the Winnipeg pair of Tim Hague Sr. and Jr. triumphing despite having finished last in two separate legs — he was hopeful the show’s second instalment would follow a different story arc.
“The Tims from last year, I don’t think, were an imminent threat,” he said candidly. “I think Tim and Tim, they got lucky. They were almost eliminated twice. They got saved by non-elimination legs. And the only leg they ultimately won was the last one. It’s the only one you need to win but in that breath, I don’t think Tim and Tim were the strongest team (even though) they were the ultimate winners.
“I think this season you’re going to see the strongest team win,” he added. “I’ll put money on that right now.”
Going into the first season, Montgomery was still harbouring Olympic ambition and planned to tailor his training regimen to the show’s demanding travel schedule.
That’s no longer a concern, given that Montgomery decided to retire from skeleton racing after failing to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Though he really prefers not to use the word “retire.”
“I’m 35 — I don’t really consider myself retired. I consider myself an athlete that quit doing athletics or at least competitive sports.”
Well, even “quit” is a strong word, given Montgomery’s fondness for pondering his next athletic move.
“I’ve always mused about how awesome it would be to train for a sport where you can sit down and fire at targets... Maybe pistol shooting is in my future?” he said with a smile. “Maybe if they bring mixed curling into the Olympics, myself and my wife can become avid curlers.
“But I can’t just let the competitive spirit die.”
Originally from Russell, Montgomery and his wife Darla — also a skeleton racer — recently moved from Calgary to Victoria.
And touring about his new home again got Montgomery’s imagination percolating.
“I saw a lawn bowling green. I was like, lawn bowling? I’d love to go lawn bowling. So it’s going to be me and the blue-haired ladies and the white-haired gentlemen in white pants, white shirts.
“I’m going to be out there lawn bowling with the 80-year- olds in Victoria this (year). I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it. That’s going to be my real retirement. A blue leisure suit.”
— The Canadian Press
Tim Hague Sr. and Tim Jr. celebrate winning the first Amazing Race Canada with host Jon Montgomery (left).