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Ato: I’m thrilled

Boldon nominated for Sport Emmy

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress,com

Ato Boldon, the former Trinidad and Tobago international sprinter, is one of five persons nominated in the category of “Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Event Analyst” at the 34th Sports Emmy Awards which take place on Tuesday, May 7 at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P Rose Hall in New York City.
The Sports Emmy Awards recognise outstanding achievement in sports programming by conferring annual awards of merit in various categories.
Boldon’s nomination comes for his work at the 2012 London Olympics with the NBC Sports Group where he worked as an analyst. NBC’s London Olympics coverage received a total 19 nominations, including outstanding live event turnaround.
“I am not sure I was the best broadcaster in the USA this year. If I win it will be an upset,” the very outspoken Boldon told the Express by telephone on Sunday. “I was very thrilled to be nominated. But being a sprinter, I am accustomed to things happening faster. I believe I should have gotten a nomination in 2008 because I think I did a far better job back then. The competition might also have been tougher.”
Now 39, Boldon is Trinidad and Tobago’s most decorated athlete, apart from 1976 Montreal Olympic 100m gold medal Hasely Crawford.
During his athletics career, Boldon won four Olympic medals, including 100m silver in Sydney 2000 and four World Championship medals which included 200m gold in Athens in 1997. Only three other men in history — Usain Bolt, Frankie Fredericks and Carl Lewis — have won as many Olympic individual event sprint medals.
But after five years of broadcasting, Boldon now understands why it took so long to receive recognition in the career field he took up following his track days.
“You have to pay your dues. I was told five years ago that you have to have a body of work. There is no room in this business for a Keshorn Walcott who no one knows and comes from nowhere to take the ultimate prize. I am by far the youngest in this category, since I am 40 this year, and the other nominees are all at least over 50. “
Boldon said that in his younger days he never contemplated a broadcasting career, but still had an interest in the field.
“Being young and naive back then, you always feel that track is going to last forever. I never contemplated a broadcast career,” Boldon said. “But I had good management, and even while I was running I took some time to familarise myself with broadcasting. I would actually find myself in the production truck familiarising myself with how a programme was put together.”
Boldon’s first taste of broadcasting came at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain when injury prevented him from competing. He was hired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to do commentary and analysis and proved so popular that he was invited back as a track-side analyst for the BBC’s coverage of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in 2000, from Sacramento, California.
Since then he has worked with US Television network CBS in 2005 as part of their commentary team for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and NBC Sports as an analyst for the 2007 US National Championships.
Boldon also worked with ESPN in 2010, before returning to NBC in 2012 as sprint analyst for the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, on Sunday Boldon announced that his broadcasting ambitions range beyond sports analysis.
“I am a broadcaster first and a sport broadcaster second. I am not going to stay in the track and field box much longer,” Boldon said, while revealing plans to expand his career horizon. “I have already made some big moves. I have made some good contacts in CNN, MSNBC and so on and very soon I will be announcing some new things.”
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