By Danni Zhang
Paul Swangard, a leading international track and field announcer, will be at Swangard Stadium on June 14 to call the on-field action of the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic.
Swangard, a native of Eugene, Ore., is the grandson of Erwin Swangard, for whom the stadium in Burnaby’s Central Park is named.
He has called many major international events, including the Olympic Games and the Boston Marathon, and is known as the voice of Hayward Field, the legendary facility at the University of Oregon in Eugene. It has hosted many Prefontaine Classics and U.S. Olympic trials and will be the site of this year’s World Athletics championships starting July 15.
Swangard recently answered some questions about his work:
Take us inside the announcing booth, what are the challenges in calling track and field?
“I often say that in announcing in the stadium, the biggest challenge that we face is different than any other sports. We are much more like ringmasters at a circus when we’re announcing a track meet because there are four or five things going on at the same time. Our job is to direct the attention of the spectator.
What kind of research do you need to do before a meet?
“We spend a ton of time getting prepared for a meet. To anticipate what could happen and what might not happen. So, knowing all the various (meet) records. You also need to know the personal bests of the individual athletes as well.
“You have to know national records, what the qualifying marks are for the world championships.”
What has been his favorite moment in track and field?
“Medal ceremonies at the Olympic Games. To be able to bring somebody up to the top of the podium and introduce them as an Olympic champion and see that emotion flow from them.”
When you come up to B.C., what is your favorite restaurant?
“I got to go to White Spot.”
Gary Kingston, the Jerome media co-ordinator reported, “The Jerome, Canada’s longest running track and field event, will feature a full field of athletes and fans in the stands this year. The 2020 Jerome was canceled outright because of the Covid pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to just 71 athletes and no spectators inside the stadium. But that meet was still a resounding success with one Canadian record set, one Olympic standard reached, four meet records and 27 personal bests”
World Athletics, the international governing body lead by Olympic Champion, Seb Coe, has classified the Jerome as a World Athletics Continental Tour, Bronze Level. This designation of the Jerome Classic will provide the athletes with the opportunity to collect World Ranking points.
Tickets to the meet are now available online at www.harryjerome.com
For more information contact
Nigel Hole, meet director
Marek Jedrzejek, president Achilles Track and Field Society
Gary Kingston, media co-ordinator