Carillo To Serve As Olympic Anchor
Carillo To Serve As Olympic Anchor
By Alberto Amalfi
Since wrapping up the Wimbledon fortnight as tennis analyst for NBC and ESPN, Mary Carillo has been committed to a rigorous training regimen consisting of almost daily rifle, archery and badminton work. No, the 1977 French Open mixed doubles champion isn't planning to open a shooting gallery, preparing for deer season or contemplating a career as the teaching pro at a retirement community.
The woman who has been one of the most distinctive and respected voices in tennis commentary is getting ready for a new role: her debut as Olympic anchor for Bravo network's coverage of the Athens Summer Olympic Games. In an effort to master many sports prior to the August 13th launch of the Games, Carillo has been glued to the TV watching shots fly on tape.
"I've got a couple of kids at home and these tapes just keep coming of all these (events) — rifle and archery and badminton," Carillo told Mike Hughes of the Gannett News Service. "(My kids) keep saying 'What do you know about archery?' My answer to them is 'Just a little more than you do',"
Though Carillo will make her hosting debut, she is an Olympic veteran who covered tennis for NBC's Olympic coverage in 1996 and 2000 before the network sent her to the 2002 Winter Olympics. Even her past experience as John McEnroe's mixed doubles partner could not prepare Carillo for some of the events she covered. Her introduction to skeleton sled racing prompted Carillo to ponder the sanity of participants.
"It's a steerless, brakeless sled, head-first over 100 miles an hour for a mile-and-a half on ice," Carillo told Gannett. "I'm thinking, 'What are you, crazy? Does your mother know what you're doing?' "
Over the 17 days of the Athens Games (August 13-29th), combined coverage on six NBC-owned networks — NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo and Telemundo — will average more than 70 hours per day, which is more total hours than was produced in total for each Olympics until the 1976 Montreal Games delivered 76.5 hours, according to NBC.
Bravo network will telecast the tennis competition of the Athens Olympic Games. Available in 76 million households, Bravo will carry a total of 122 hours of Olympic coverage over 14 days, beginning Saturday, August 14th. The cable network known for its popular series' "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" and "Inside The Actor's Studio" will offer coverage of a wide range of sports including tennis, equestrian, sailing, track cycling, archery, badminton, judo, synchronized swimming, handball and table tennis. Network officials believes tennis suits Bravo's upscale viewer demographic.
The eight-day Olympic tennis tournament will be staged at the Olympic Tennis Center of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, August 15th-22nd. A total of ten courts will be used for the competition: the center court (8,000 seats), court 1 (4,000 seats), court 2 (2,000 seats) and courts 3-9 (200 seats). All courts feature the Deco Turf II hard-court surface similar to the surface used at the U.S. Open, which starts on August 30th. The total of men and women athletes competing will be 172.
For the first time by a U.S. broadcaster at a Summer Olympics, NBC will provide high definition coverage. NBC's separate, unique HDTV coverage on NBC's digital affiliates will provide HDTV coverage on delay of six sports from the only main Olympic venues provided in high definition by the Olympic host broadcaster. Those sports include swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field, medal rounds of basketball and the men's soccer gold medal final.
Carillo's appearance on NBC's opening-ceremony coverage on HDTV has created some family concern.
"(My sister) found out I was going to be on HDTV and she said I couldn't possibly. I don't have the makeup for it," Carillo told Gannett. "I didn't realize there was a whole pore issue. I don't need this. I'm an aging mother of two."