Duluth’s Chad Salmela was part of the NBC crew assigned to call the women’s team sprint in cross-country skiing early Wednesday. It’s a safe bet this crew didn’t think their assignment would end up as the call ’heard round the world for these Olympics.
But after a gazillion replays on television, Twitter, Facebook and around the web, Salmela’s full-throated call of a gold medal finish is the voice of these Games — so far, anyway.
In Pyeongchang, Jessie Diggins, of Afton, and Kikkan Randall won American’s first-ever first gold medal in cross-country skiing. And Salmela applied the appropriate amount of energy to the finish.
Interestingly, the call was made from America. NBC has announcers call some of the Olympic sports, including cross-country skiing, biathalon, some curling and more, from its International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. So Salmela and Schlanger were not at the finish line watching the drama play out, but that didn’t stop them from cranking up the volume for the historic finish.
Steve Schlanger: “So close for the U.S. on so many occasions. ... Now moving up on the inside. Into second place.”
Chad Salmela: “They’re all completely gassed! They’ve given it everything on the klaebo bakken. Stina Nilsson leading Jessie Diggins into the final turn. Can Diggins answer?”
Steve: “As the roars rattled around the cross-country stadium in Pyeongchang, Sweden, the U.S. and Norway come into the light!”
Chad: “HERE COMES DIGGINS! HERE COMES DIGGINS!”
Steve: “On the outside, Diggins — making the play, around Sweden! Jessie Diggins to the line ...”
Chad: “YES! YES! YES! YES!”
Steve: “And it is Jessie Diggins ...”
Steve: “ ... delivering a landmark moment that will be etched in U.S. Olympic history! The first-ever cross-country gold medal for the U.S.”