RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
AM1250 radio personality Michelle Sawatzky, who parlayed her mid-90s Olympic volleyball career into southeast Manitoba radio success, has just secured a gold medal for Canada in the inaugural Radio Broadcasting competition.
“After all the blood, sweat, and tears, it’s such an honour to finally win a medal,” says Sawatzky. “Radio Broadcasting is a new event this year. Basically they ask you to read really hard-to-pronounce names without flubbing, to read funeral announcements without crying, and to sound cheery and chipper at 5 in the morning even when you’re in a really bad mood.”
Also in the competition were shock jock Howard Stern, far-right political commentator Rush Limbaugh, and former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi, but all of them were disqualified for a variety of inexplicable reasons that the Olympic committee were unwilling to disclose. Even so, the competition this year was fierce, says Sawatzky.
“It was a test of sleep-deprivation, really. They make you stay up past midnight and wake you up at four. Then, without practice, you’re given a list of names, mostly from Eastern Europe and the ‘Stans and you’re expected to rattle them off without error. Maintaining composure while reading the funeral announcements, however, is the most arduous task, because the Olympic judges comb the archives for the most heart-wrenching tales of life and death…mostly about little kids and puppies.”
Despite the odds, Sawatzky came out on top and added to Canada’s long tally of medals. An inspirational Canadian Tire commercial featuring Sawatzky is already in the works.
(Photo credit: by France1978/CC)