Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Minnesotans find their Olympic dreams behind the scenes

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 3, 2014 - 11:35 AM

The analyst

With practice, John Benton has gotten used to the rhythms of a telecast, such as feeling comfortable in front of the camera and learning how to work in tandem with a play-by-play announcer. It isn’t easy — but then, neither is curling, particularly at the Olympics.

Benton, 44, admitted it might be tough to remain completely objective while working as an analyst for NBC’s broadcasts of the Olympic curling tournament. At the 2010 Winter Games, he was on the ice as a member of the U.S. men’s team skipped by Duluth’s John Shuster. In Sochi, Shuster and teammate Jeff Isaacson will be competing again, while ­Benton describes the action for the American TV audience.

“This will be a whole different side of the game, one I didn’t experience in 2010,’’ said Benton, who also is director of curling operations at Blaine’s Four Seasons Curling Club and a national team coach for USA Curling. “It’s going to be challenging to not be part of the team, but I’m up for it.’’

He is among four Minnesotans to move from the elite-athlete ranks to the broadcast booth at these Olympics. Pete Fenson of Bemidji also will serve as a curling analyst, eight years after winning a bronze medal at the Turin Games. Three-time Olympian and former Gopher Natalie Darwitz of Eagan will be NBC’s studio analyst for women’s hockey, and Chad Salmela of Duluth — a former member of the U.S. biathlon team — will provide commentary on cross-country skiing and biathlon.

Benton had no television experience when NBC asked him to audition for a job as the analyst at last fall’s Olympic trials. His work there won him a spot on one of two broadcast teams for curling in Sochi. The sport, a popular TV presence during the Olympics, will be shown on four NBC-owned networks, and he expects to call two games per day.

After experiencing life as an Olympic athlete four years ago, Benton said he will miss the rush of competition. But like the other Minnesotans who are preparing, supporting and celebrating the athletes in Sochi, he is grateful to be part of the Winter Games in any capacity.

“It’s such an honor, I get a little bit emotional about it,’’ he said. “Just to be able to go to another Olympic Games is really special.’’

 

  • related content

  • Your guide to the Olympics

    Saturday February 1, 2014

    Everything you need to get ready for the Winter Olympics in Sochi: Stories, previews, Minnesota's athletes and a poster that you can print out or turn into wallpaper for your...

  • « it’s a dream come true for me. But I’m also there to do a job, and I’ve trained for this for the last 14 years. »Alicia Hanrahan

  • Alicia Hanrahan of South St. Paul, who will officiate some of the women’s Olympic competition, prepared to officiate a game at the ­Rosemount Community Center last week. Several Minnesotans will be at Sochi doing jobs that lets the athletes shine.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 6
Toronto 0 FINAL
Detroit 3
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Florida 4 FINAL
Dallas 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arizona 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close