Mike Villani, aka “The Voice of APD,” is headed back to the Olympics. He will serve as a guest correspondent for the Daily Pilot newspaper in Newport Beach. Look for links here. Below is his first dispatch.
By Mike Villani
I don’t know a Biellmann spin from a Bracket turn, none-the-less, I’m heading to Vancouver, Canada as the English venue announcer for figure skating during the Winter Olympics starting on the 12th of this month.
Following on the heels of my two previous career-highlight Olympic experiences in Greece in 2004 and China in 2008, this assignment may prove to be the most challenging, as I don’t know the first thing about figure skating other than I love watching it on TV.
It all started upon my return from China. I had heard that American producer Christy Nicolay was the Vice President of Sport Production and Victory Ceremonies for VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Christy had hired me as the announcer for Indoor Volleyball in Athens, so I gave her a call.
She said she would love to have me on her staff but had been instructed to hire only Canadians. Well, that changed about a year ago when the Canadians realized there weren’t enough qualified countrymen to fill all the announcing positions.
Figure skating will take place at the Pacific Coliseum, former home of the Vancouver Canucks, in downtown Vancouver. I’ll be working with legendary figure skating coach and announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, PJ Kwong who was with me in Athens and Beijing. She’s a dear friend who will do the French announcing and a majority of the English during the actual competition.
As most of my announcements are scripted and with PJ’s help guiding me through the intricacies of the sport I’m not too worried the fans will know I’m a rookie at this very popular Olympic venue.
So this Friday morning, very early to make a 7 am flight from LAX, Freestyle Skiing announcer Chris Ernst (or Uncle E as he’s known when broadcasting for ESPN) a resident of Mission Viejo, will swing by and pick me up as I make my way to an all new Olympic experience…and as I’ve done in the past will keep you updated as I again report from The Games.