For the second time in 12 months, the Seven Network has locked in the services of swimming legend Ian Thorpe for its Olympics commentary team.
Seven has now confirmed Thorpe will join Basil Zempalis, Giaan Rooney, and Nathan Templeton for the network’s coverage of the Olympic swimming action.
Thorpe was originally named as a key member of the network’s commentary team last year, but after the event was postponed by 12 months, his name was missing from the line-up at a launch event last month.
At the time, TV Blackbox reported contract negotiations were still taking place to secure the services of Thorpe.
A network spokesperson has repeatedly declined to answer questions from TV Blackbox regarding Thorpe’s involvement in the commentary team, instead opting to leak the information to News Corp publications today.
Thorpe will join Basil Zempalis and Giaan Rooney in Seven’s Melbourne based Olympic studios for the event, while reporter Nathan Templeton will be live on the pool deck in Japan.
Seven’s Olympic commentary team will also feature cycling golden girl Anna Meares and former champion ironwoman Candice Warner.
Sydney sports presenter Mel McLaughlin has taken on a new role for this year’s Olympic coverage.
In 2020, McLaughlin was selected for the high-profile role of primetime anchor for the network’s coverage alongside Hamish McLachlan. Changes to the coverage in 2021 will see Hamish now joined by Abbey Gelmi in the Melbourne based hosting studio while Mel will get to travel to Toyko to lead the networks news reporting team.
The ‘global doyen’ of cycling commentary Phil Liggett had previously been named as part of Seven’s coverage in 2020 but is no longer listed in the network’s line-up. Liggett has covered 14 Olympic Games and 43 Tours de France.
Queensland based sports presenter Pat Welsh is also no longer involved with the coverage. Welsh has attended six Olympic games with Seven and is well known for his trackside interviews at the athletics.
In 2021, it will now be rising network star and former Stawell gift champion Jason Richardson who will be in attendance at the Tokyo stadium.
Seven has partnered with production house Gravity Media for its coverage of the games. The broadcast will be produced and presented from Melbourne’s Dockland studios.
The commentary team will feature callers including Bruce McAvaney, Basil Zempilas, Greg Clark, John Casey, Brenton Speed and Matt Hill. A full list of Seven’s commentary team can be found below.
Despite strict COVID protocols, TV Blackbox understands Seven will still be sending a team of approximately 40 reporters and crew to Tokyo including Mel McLaughlin, Mark Beretta, Jason Richardson and Nathan Templeton to capture the action at venues and across the city. Seven is prepared for the fact further it may need to further reduce its team in Tokyo should COVID travel restrictions change.
Seven’s 2020 strategy of presenting the games on a temporarily upgraded 7two HD channel has also been cut with the network now opting to broadcast coverage on Seven and 7mate. TV Blackbox understands Olympic coverage will move to 7two during the 6pm news and when the network has AFL commitments.
Digital coverage on streaming platform 7plus will feature 43 channels and two simulcasts, including 36 channels curated by Seven, six pre-created channels direct from Tokyo and one existing Olympic channel.
THE BROADCAST TEAM
Hamish is one of Australia’s best and most experienced broadcasters, having hosted and commentated on a wide range of sports including the Olympic Games, AFL, horse racing, tennis and Commonwealth Games. He will co-host Seven’s prime time coverage of Tokyo each night alongside Abbey Gelmi. Hamish boasts extraordinary Olympic Games knowledge and a passion and enthusiasm for all sporting disciplines.
Abbey has quickly become one of Seven’s most versatile hosts, having presented across the network’s AFL, cricket, horse racing and Brownlow Medal coverage with poise, grace and an infectious enthusiasm. As the granddaughter of Australian middle-distance great Herb Elliott, sport is in Abbey’s blood. She is fulfilling a lifelong dream in joining Seven’s hosting team for her very first Olympic Games coverage.
One of the greats of Australian track and field, Matt represented his country at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the 1998 and 2006 Commonwealth Games and seven World Championships. With 16 years’ experience as a host and reporter, Matt has extensive experience in the sports media, while he also sits on the board of the NSW Institute of Sport. In Tokyo, he will bring his vast sports knowledge and warm personality to Seven’s afternoon coverage as co-host with Edwina Bartholomew.
The Sunrise presenter returns for her third Olympic Games coverage with Seven. Edwina will host the afternoon broadcast alongside Matt Shirvington each day of the Games.
Social – Instagram: @edwina_b
Joh represented Australia in swimming at the Auckland Commonwealth Games in 1990, winning bronze in the 100m backstroke, before she went on to become one of the most popular television personalities on Australian screens. Joh has been part of Seven’s coverage of almost all major sporting events, including the past six Olympic Games, tennis and horse racing, as well as hosting top-rating programs Better Homes and
Gardens and House Rules. Joh will also host Seven’s coverage of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 alongside Paralympic gold medallist Annabelle Williams.
A former AFL star with the Western Bulldogs, Luke is regarded as one of the best ruck- forwards of the modern era, winning the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players Association’s MVP in 2002. Since his playing retirement, Luke has carved out a burgeoning career as a radio and TV personality, establishing himself as a key caller with Seven’s AFL commentary team. He will co-host Seven’s morning coverage of Tokyo 2020 each day alongside Johanna Griggs.
The former Australian women’s cricket captain carved out an impressive career as an all- rounder that saw her honoured as Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Lisa has since made an impactful transition to the commentary box with her inside
knowledge of the women’s game at the highest level. Thoughtful and articulate, Lisa brings a fresh perspective to Seven’s late-night coverage alongside Andy Maher.
Describing himself as the “unfunny one” from The Front Bar and “least swashbuckling” member of Seven’s BBL commentary team, Andy is also a highly respected journalist and sports presenter on radio and television. Andy’s extensive media commitments cover a variety of sports, including AFL and cricket. He will co-host Seven’s late-night Tokyo coverage alongside Lisa Sthalekar.
During her swimming career, Annie captained the Australian Paralympic swim team, broke five world records and won numerous medals for Australia, including gold at the Paralympic Games London 2012. Her achievements out of the pool are just as impressive. An accomplished sports broadcaster, international speaker and former corporate lawyer, Annie’s humorous and heart-warming storytelling captivates, entertains and inspires.
Mel leads Seven’s broadcast and 7NEWS contingent on the ground in Tokyo. The highly respected sports anchor and live-to-air broadcaster has covered a host of major international sporting events, including both summer and winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, the FIFA World Cup, cricket and tennis. Mel will be in her absolute element in Tokyo.
Mark, or “Beretts” as he’s more affectionately known, is one of Australia’s best known and most admired sports commentators. He has covered almost every major Australian and international sporting event in an incredible career spanning three decades, including every Olympic Games Seven has covered since 1996, the AFL, Australian Open tennis and Supercars. For the past 17 years, Mark has been a much-loved member of Australia’s #1 breakfast show, Sunrise, keeping viewers up to date with all the latest sport headlines from Australia and around the world, while he is also a 10-time Australian water ski champion.
“Richo” is a Stawell Gift winner who has carved out an impressive broadcasting career with Seven. He has hosted and commentated on various events including the Australian Open, Olympic Games Rio 2016, Spring Racing Carnival, Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
With close to two decades’ experience in sport reporting from events such as the Australian Open tennis, the Ashes in the UK, the World Swimming Championships in Russia and three Commonwealth Games, Nathan will be in Tokyo for his second Olympic Games coverage. Social – Twitter: @nathantemp7; Instagram: nathantemp7
On the world stage, Bruce is one of the greatest sports broadcasters we’ve ever seen. He returns for his 11th Olympics Games coverage for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and to call the athletics. In recognition of his outstanding career, last year Bruce was honoured with the Melbourne Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award. This follows his induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002, and a Medal of the Order of Australia that same year. Bruce’s depth and breadth of sporting knowledge is peerless, while he brings an unbridled passion and enthusiasm to the Olympic Games and track and field.
A three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and winner of 18 Australian Championships at 400m, 800m and 400m hurdles, Tamsyn will join Bruce McAvaney for expert commentary at the athletics.
A long jump finalist at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992 and two-time silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games, Dave has established himself as a renowned Olympics Games broadcaster and will provide expert athletics commentary, along with calling the canoe and kayak events.
Basil has been a commentator with Seven’s Olympic Games coverage since 2000, including his famous call of Steven Bradbury’s unbelievable come-from-behind win and Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002. Basil will again be a valued member of Seven’s commentary team when he dives into his sixth summer Games as the lead swimming commentator.
A gold medallist at the Olympic Games Athens 2004, two-time silver medallist at Sydney 2000 and former captain of Australia’s swim team, Giaan’s passion and commitment to the sport shines through in her expert commentary.
A champion and true sportswoman, Anna is one of Australia’s favourite sports stars. She is a four-time Olympian, having won a total of six Olympic medals including two gold in Athens and London, an 11-time world champion across four different disciplines and a five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Anna was the flag bearer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where she was also the Australian Olympic Team Captain. Anna brings unrivalled insight to the cycling competition. Social – Twitter: @AnnaMeares; Instagram: annameares
An Australian basketball legend, Andrew led the Boomers to five Olympic Games and was the Australian flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000. On the 21st anniversary of that unforgettable moment, Andrew joins Seven’s broadcast team to provide expert commentary of the basketball.
The youngest ever Australian ironwoman to turn professional, at just 14, Candice went on to become a state ironwoman champion and won 20 national and three world championship medals in surf lifesaving and ironwoman events. Candice will draw on her experiences in elite sport when she joins Seven’s team to commentate on the men’s and women’s triathlon and marathon swimming.
One of Australia’s best-known commentators and journalists with more than three decades’ experience broadcasting at home and abroad, John has covered multiple Olympic Games, four basketball world championships, AFL, NBL, WNBL and SANFL. He will commentate the men’s basketball matches alongside Andrew Gaze.
One of Australia’s basketball greats, Rachael was a key member of the Opals teams that won bronze at Atlanta 1996 and silver medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. A dual WNBL MVP and part of five WNBL championship teams, she also played in the WNBA with Detroit Shock. Rachael will call the women’s basketball, with Team Australia an undeniable medal chance.
An outstanding Australian cyclist and sports broadcaster, Scott won gold in the Madison at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 in one of the most remarkable stories every told. His accomplishment alongside Brett Aitken is the stuff of legend and he will be ready to carry that knowledge and emotion into his Tokyo commentary.
Social – Instagram: scottmcgrory
One of Australia’s Olympic heroes as a member of the iconic “Oarsome Foursome”, Nick has won nearly every individual and team honour in rowing, including two Olympic gold medals, in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. At the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony, Nick was invited to carry the International Olympic Flag. Nick leads the rowing and canoeing calls for Tokyo 2020.
Became a darling of the Australian public when she and Natalie Cook won gold in the women’s beach volleyball in Sydney 2000, with the star duo having won the bronze medal four years earlier in Atlanta. Kerri joins Seven’s team to cast her expert eye over all the action in this year’s beach volleyball.
Matt is a leading Australian race caller and sports broadcaster. Recognised throughout the industry for his flair, commitment and accuracy, he has honed his art over many years calling a myriad of sports from horse racing to greyhound racing, tennis, AFL, the Olympic Games and more. In Tokyo, Matt will call the rowing, canoeing and kayaking.
Russell is an Olympic gold medallist having won the double trap shooting in Atlanta 1996, along with silver in Sydney 2000. Russell will deliver expert commentary on the shooting in this year’s coverage, helping viewers to understand the intellectual and psychological skill required in this demanding sport.
Social – Instagram: russellmarkgold
One of the best women’s water polo players to have graced the pool for Australia, Debbie’s the only Australian female water polo player to have won gold at World Cup, World Championship and Olympic level. She’ll provide expert commentary and analysis on our water polo teams as they vie for gold in Tokyo.
The voice of rugby in Australia, Greg’s stellar calling career has spanned more than 20 years, over 200 Test matches and countless Super Rugby classics. Greg will bring his trademark accuracy and entertaining commentary style to the Rugby Sevens in Tokyo. Social – Twitter: greg_clarkie; Instagram: greg_clarkie
Brenton is one of Australia’s most well-rounded sport commentators, having called athletics, rowing, football and swimming. In Tokyo, he will call football, beach volleyball, tennis and basketball. Social – Twitter: @BrentonSpeed; Instagram: speedbrenton