There are events in athletics and running history which, when spoken about, people will remember where they were and how they experienced that special moment in time. Not only is it the unforgettable performances of the athletes which engrave those memories in our minds, but it is also the voices of those announcers and commentators calling the races or field events which stick with us.
For England Athletics announcers Rosie Tinbergen and Harrison Mayne, it is dreams of an Olympic final which drive them to become the best they can be.
We recently caught up with Rosie and Harrison at our England Senior and Under-20 Combined Events Championships to find out more about their announcing journey and who they look up to most in the field.
We have all heard of Steve Cram and Katherine Merry in the world of athletics commentary, but exactly how do athletics fans start out?
“I have been competing in athletics since I was quite young,” explained Rosie – a member of St. Mary’s University AC.
“It is a real passion of mine and suddenly I found that it was all I wanted to talk about. I started to chat to different people and make connections, picking up any opportunities available to me. Suddenly I was building my own pathway and commentating at events like today with England Athletics.”
“I started in a different way through social media,” added Harrison.
“I was approached to announce at a charity event and from there have been asked more and more to work at events or on livestreams.”
Having a background in sport
For any athletics fan, being able to speak about your sport to hundreds of engaged fans may seem like the dream. Both still training and competing for their clubs and universities, we asked whether being an athlete gives them an edge in their commentary which Rosie confirmed.
“It makes it authentic to be a current or past athlete and commentating as you can appreciate the feelings that the athletes are going through at every stage of their competition. You can be more relatable and you can share this with the audience.”
“It can be hard to balance training to a high level and pursuing commentary as the events often clash with weekend training or races,” explains Loughborough student athlete Harrison. “But what you do find is when you come to events you can make useful connections. It is a great opportunity to stay within the sport and immerse yourself away from the personal competitive side. A lot of work goes into the preparation for the championships as we go through each event, each athlete and note down their PBs or achievements in advance but to be able to keep the crowd engaged and build up to a climax in the athlete’s story is really rewarding.”
Idols and aspirations
We are lucky in the world of sport to have so many recognisable and inspiring voices to look up to, as Rosie and Harrison name but a few:
“Steve Cram is a huge name, his commentary is always fantastic, as is Geoff Wightman from the in-stadium announcing point of view."
"In wider sport, Peter Drury the football commentator is great, I love some of his work. It is useful to learn a little from a lot of people, but the main thing is to keep to your own style - if you try to be someone else then it doesn’t really work.”
Looking up to the likes of Steve Cram who has successfully commentated on those moments in history is an impressive target for both Harrison and Rosie, but what would be their diamond opportunity in the future?
“It has got to be commentating on the 100m final at the Olympics,” expressed Harrison. “To be able to attach yourself to such a special moment and be the voice of the stadium would be really special.”
“On the international stage there are also events like the Europeans or World Championships,” added Rosie.
“Commentating at any top-level event in athletics or wider sport would be so exciting and momentous – it’s something I really strive for.”
Want to find out more?
If you want to find out more about how you could get involved with our championships or giving announcing a go, get in touch with Competitions Manager, Nichola Skedgel: call 07825 403136 or email email@example.com