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Races, Games, and Olympic Dreams (Hardback)

A Sportscaster's Life

P&S History > Humanities > Biography & Memoirs

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 60 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781985901001
Published: 20th August 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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In sports, not all the long shots who succeed are athletes. In 1984, Tom Hammond, a forty-year-old sportscaster who had primarily worked in Kentucky and the Southeast, got an unlikely opportunity to appear on the NBC Sports telecast of the inaugural Breeders' Cup. Assigned to report from the stall area on what was supposed to be a single broadcast, Hammond performed so well that an NBC executive offered him a chance to call NFL games on the spot. That broadcast launched Hammond's thirty-four-year career with NBC Sports and his rise to the top levels of American television sportscasting. Along with cowriter Mark Story, Hammond pulls back the curtain on how a Kentucky native who started out reading horse racing results on Lexington radio went on to broadcast from thirteen Olympic Games.
While covering Thoroughbred racing for NBC, Hammond broadcast sixteen Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes races and eleven runnings of the Belmont Stakes, including American Pharoah's historic 2015 Triple Crown victory. Hammond offers glimpses into his time as the play-by-play voice for Notre Dame football, calling NBA and NFL games, and his long-running stint announcing Southeastern Conference men's basketball for the league's syndicated TV package. Races, Games, and Olympic Dreams is an intimate and gripping look at Hammond's experiences, including his coverage of Olympic track and field, figure skating, speed skating, ice dancing, diving, and basketball events. Hammond worked with broadcasting luminaries such as Dick Enberg, Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, and Bill Walton, and encountered world-class athletes like Allyson Felix, Michael Jordan, Sarah Hughes, and Peyton Manning. Although his career has spanned the nation and the world, Hammond's roots have always remained firmly planted in the Bluegrass State.

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