University of Birmingham student, Joe Townsend wins the chance to commentate in front of 46,000 spectators at the 2012 Hours to Go: Evening of Athletics and Entertainment evening event at the Stadium
Joe Townsend, a BA Hons Politics student from University of Birmingham, won the inaugural Become the Commentator competition today at the Olympic Stadium. The Universities Week competition was held within the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships (OAC), a London 2012 test event as part of the London Prepares series.
Joe competed against fellow student finalists Ben Snowball and Thomas Gayle studying an MA in Journalism and a Diploma in Teaching and Life Long Learning from University of Sheffield and University of Warwick respectively. The three finalists put their skills to the test when they commentated on the women’s 1500m heats in the morning, alongside the official Stadium commentator, Adrian Chrismas, to win the chance of commentating live at the ‘2012 Hours to Go: Evening of Athletics and Entertainment’ evening event at the Stadium.
Upon winning, Joe declared “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Become the Commentator competition. It was an amazing experience to commentate in front of 6,000 spectators this morning and I can’t wait to do it again this evening in front of 46,000 people. I didn’t think that anything would beat the excitement of actually racing in the Olympic Stadium but I think that this evening’s opportunity might actually do it. I want to develop a career in sports broadcasting when I graduate so I’ve really appreciated this once in a lifetime experience.”
The three finalists were selected from the dozens of competition entrants from across all UK higher education institutions. Judges included broadcast commentators Paul Dickenson and John Inverdale as well as representatives from the NUS, BUCS and LOCOG. A compilation of the finalists’ entry highlights is available at www.youtube.com/univeristiesweek2012 alongside other entrants.
Prior to their Olympic Stadium commentating debut the finalists received intensive coaching from the LOCOG Sports Presentation team and BBC Olympic commentating legend Paul Dickenson.
Impressed with the quality of commentary, Paul Dickenson said “It was such a difficult decision to pick a winner as all three finalists were of an excellent standard. To commentate live on a race in front of 6,000 spectators requires an element of confidence and knowledge about sport which all three demonstrated. We selected Joe as the winner because he provided the audience with an extra level of insight and understanding into the race tactics and competitors’ performances suggesting a natural ability to commentate under pressure. This will be tested further this evening when he commentates on the relay but I am confident he will continue to excel.”
Karen Rothery, Chief Executive Officer, British Universities & Colleges Sports, said: “The Become the Commentator competition has been a great chance to engage a wide range of students in the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships and Universities Week. For the three lucky finalists, I hope this has inspired them to continue on their journey in sports journalism.”
The BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships and Become the Commentator competition are part of Universities Week 2012, which will recognise and celebrate the contribution that universities make – and have always made – to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the sports industry in the UK. The Week is part of a celebration of UK universities’ world-class status, their support for students and the huge contribution they make to society as a whole.
Taking place in the Olympic Stadium from 04 - 07 May, the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships will see up to 1,500 students from all over the UK competing for glory across 15 disciplines in four days.
For further information about this event, visit the BUCS website: www.bucs.org.uk