“British only,” he quipped.
Olympic PA 101
There is a lot more to PA announcing at the Olympics, particularly for fringe sports, than folks realize. Wearing a headset, Clement sits next to the English announcer, longtime friend Carl Roepke of Park City, Utah, and the Russian announcer (“No idea who it will be,” he said).
Every announcement is timed to the second. The three of them listen to venue producer Peggy Katz for their cues. Native language is heard first, then Roepke and finally Clement. They have 10 seconds to announce the athlete’s name, country and a factoid about said athlete.
“It takes more words to speak in French than it does English,” Clement noted. “Everything is timed down to the second. Usually there are only two announcers (English and French), but since we are in Russia, there will be three.”
In front of each of them are two screens: one with the athlete’s information, one with the latest standings updated to the second. The luge run takes about a minute, then each announcer updates the leader board — again in Russian, English and French — before the next run.
One hundred and thirteen athletes are scheduled to compete in the luge. With teams of four in the bobsleigh (154 athletes), announcing can get tricky. Additionally, 2014 marks the debut of the luge relay. Clement isn’t sure how they’re going to handle that yet, but he is an Olympic veteran.
“The frustrating thing is that since there are three announcers, we cannot organize anything until we get there,” Clement said. “It’s going to be tricky, but we are just going to have to listen to Peggy.”
Clement has some long days ahead of him. The luge and bobsleigh run six days each while the skeleton competition (think luge, only riding on your stomach) runs three days and begins on the final day of the luge.