Bob Roll provides bicycle racing commentary on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) in the United States. He's not the most eloquent or best dressed of sports commentators, but he brings a certain level of enthusiasm and a deep experience of the European peloton that even other former cyclists don't bring. He went to Europe in the 80's, at a time when few other American's were making the jump across the Atlantic. On top of that, he embedded himself into the cycling-mad Italian culture and learned a deep respect for the way of cycling in that area. He takes this knowledge and his pure love of the sport onto the airwaves. Some think his enthusiasm goes a bit too far, but I very much appreciate his quirky delivery and personalized knowledge of the sport.
The other primary commentators, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, are excellent resources too. Phil has been promoting and commentating for 30+ years, and he has a deep knowledge of the sport and the cyclists throughout the peloton. Paul Sherwen was a professional cyclist and worked with the Motorola team organization before getting into commentating. Together, they work so well that there are drinking games for when one of them tosses a familiar quote: Â“cat amongst the pigeonsÂ” being one of my favorites.
OLN have used a number of other cyclists to greater or lesser success. TheyÂ’ve got an arrangement with Frankie Andreu, who is now doing stateside team management for US Postal. He was an excellent road captain, but his commentating and interview skills need some work.
In business, we frequently want to ignore the oddball or grizzled oldtimers as out of the loop or just plain odd. And we canÂ’t simply Â“mineÂ” them for information because they either wonÂ’t or canÂ’t tell us everything anyway. Embed them into the projects and teams that need their experience, and be prepared for the odd pronouncement and long stories. Sit back and enjoy.
[Orginally written on Sunday, but baby and technology got in the way.]