AA is working together with NBC Sports to provide you with unprecedented insights into this year's London Olympics. Every day, we'll be speaking with a new member of the network's broadcast team. Today, we hear from the most capped player in the history of USA soccer, Cobi Jones, on the challenges in transitioning from the pitch to the broadcast booth.
Q: How are the Olympics unique this time for you as a broadcaster given your vast experience as an athlete for US Scocer?
A: It is unique this time, because I get to see behind the curtain. To see the complete Olympics. All the time and effort by so many different people, on so many levels, to bring this wonderful sporting experience to the world. It really is amazing.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in preparing for calling an Olympic sport and during the event itself?
A: Preparation challenges. I would say getting the pronunciations down of some of the names is pretty challenging. Your mind wants to say what it looks like in your language, but it is usually way off. You have to mentally retrain your brain to stop and take that extra half second to get it right. During the event, it's similar. Remember, soccer is different than a lot of Olympic sports. 22 players on the field at once and the ball moving back and forth among them very quickly. Now you have to get those pronunciations right with the quickness of the play of the game. I always hope there are some simple names in the games. That's why I like Brazil. Usually one name and simple to pronounce.
Q: How is the Olympic environment different in the stadium or venue, versus other soccer events? How are you able to communicate that environment to an audience watching on another continent?
A: The Olympics have always felt new and inspiring to me. It always feels like the beginning of something. Like you are about to witness something amazing. Something that will awe you now, and you'll watch it grow to more in the future. I guess it’s because you see the start of so many careers in so many different sports. I try to explain my wonder and excitement in what I see. But don't get me wrong, I will point out the good and bad. When all is said and done, the Olympics is a competition. Winners and losers, good and bad, highs and lows. That is what makes it so exciting.
Q: What's the most memorable aspect of being a part of the Olympic broadcast?
A: As of right now…. the long hours. Ha ha. The team aspect among the broadcast group is incredible. It's great to see how everyone comes together, for this short period of time, for a common goal. We are excited to put on a great show.
Previous Olympic Q&As
July 27 – Liam McHugh