Tuesday, January 25, 2011

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day Twenty-Two

Day 22: Favorite and Least Favorite Commentator

Dun dun dun. The moment of truth. Who is Toni going to pick. Will she side with the haters and hate on her beloved Scott Hamilton. Will she choose the godlike Dick Button, fearing his insane ramblings will forever haunt her if she doesn't? Will she plead temporary insanity and choose Sandra Besic who is scary beyond all reason?

Answer to all of those: no.

I'm going to cheat and break this down and choose four commentators. Favorite/Least Favorite EXPERT commentator (skater turned talking head) and Favorite/Least Favorite COLOR Commentator (professionally trained talking head).


Kurt Browning, Expert Commentator. He got canned by NBC in his first US showing because he dared to call a 14 year old Michelle Kwan sexy. Actually he was commenting on the program given to the 14 year old, but all NBC officials heard was the word sexy on the topic of a 14 year old girl. Bye, bye Canadian commentator. Fast forward to 2005/06, and ABC was looking for some new blood. Who knows why. I'm just glad they did. Kurt was the first commentator willing to go toe to toe with Dick Button without muddying the job. Dick is a bully, plain and simple, in the booth. I would scream at the TV each week as he belittled Peggy Fleming (who is a mouse when it comes ot Dick. Stand up to teh jerk, girl!) whenever she dared to have her own opinion and not his. When Kurt shared his opinion as to why a skater's program didn't work and Dick interrupted him Kurt politely reminded him that he was talking, and then finished his thought. Eat that Mr. Button.

Terry Gannon, Color Commentator. This was difficult, until recently I would have named Verne Lundquist as my favorite. He was the voice next to Scottie's for many years when CBS had an interest in the sport. Now he's back commentating for golf. Like Lundquist, Gannon takes his job seriously... and in doing so he's seemed to fall in love with teh sport of figure skating. When ABC dropped skating from their lineup, I was devastated. Not because it meant less coverage, but because no more Terry Gannon. I don't watch golf or basketball (his other sports) so I thought that was it for the yumminess that is Terry Gannon. Until this season when I was plesantly surprised to find he was commentating for Universal Sports (though now I don't get US thanks to my move. Depressing!). Hooray for sexy color commentators!

Least Favorite:

Dick Button, Expert commentator. Pretty sure you saw this one coming with my rant on him earlier. I don't find much to like about Dick. Yes, his knowledge of the sport is second to none. Yes, he has been commentating since the beginning. But that doesn't give him the right to belittle his co-commentators, or bully his opinion on the fans. And, now, anymore, he doesn't make any sense. Sometimes I wonder if he isn't all there. I much prefer when he's not in teh booth.

Al Trautwig & Tom Hammond, Color Commentator. Neither one gives a flying fart about skating. They sound bored when they talk, they make some pretty sly slurs about the men. They're a waste of space.


  1. Terry Gannon is such a good commentator. He really came to enjoy the sport over the years, it was plain to see and he was always funny. I really miss him since I don't get Universal Sports either!

  2. Favourites: Rod Black & Barbara Underhill

    Least Favourites: Toller Cranston & Jojo Starbuck (though I did like Jojo's skating)...