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Hammond Deals With The Pressure Of The Olympics

Posted: Aug 6, 2012 4:21 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: Aug 6, 2012 5:01 PM

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When it comes to the Olympics, Tom Hammond's voice has been heard by billions.

The former LEX 18 Sports Director is once again doing track and field for NBC. When he takes a minute to reflect, even he's surprised that this is his 10th Olympics.

"Nervous is not the right thing," say Hammond. "Excited. Excited to be involved in it. It's crushingly hard work really, but when it's all over you say how great that was."

Doing what the classy Hammond does isn't easy. That's only part of the equation. You also have to deal with the pressure.

"And to withstand the pressure. You mentioned the ten seconds of a race, the 100 meters. There is no margin for error and if you start thinking that the whole world is watching and this is going to be over in ten seconds and there is going to be that much separating them at the finish, you can drive yourself crazy."

Tom is modest. Always has been. You can make 100 great calls, but if you blow one, it gets played forever.

"I always try to think that 100 years from now when they listen to this call that they will say alright, that was good. You don't just want to blow it. So there is pressure. And dealing with the pressure it helps having dealt with so many Olympics, but that's part of it too, the hard work and the pressure of each event."

When it comes to calling track, Tom is the best. The training was in Lexington at Keeneland. Horses and track? It makes a lot of sense.

"Watching a race, whether it's a two legged race or a four legged race is kind of the same. You see someone making a move, or you see someone fading and just all those things that can happen in a race, yes seeing all those horse races and being able to eye the finish. I think seeing all those horse races helps.

"And also when I started doing track and field I noticed nobody was really puttting excitement into the calls. It was more of a matter of fact, the track way. So I tried to bring a little horse racing to the track world by putting some excitement into the calls."

Topics: Tom Hammond, NBC Sports, Olympics