Mediapack’s Managing Director, Helen Reeves is out in Rio, working as part of the BBC’s commentary team at the Olympic Games. Helen is working alongside Patrick Winterton, commentating on both the Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint events.
Helen is herself an Olympian and to date is Britain’s only female Olympic canoeing medallist. She won Bronze in the K1 category in Athens 2004.
This is her third consecutive games in the commentary box, having picked up the mic in Beijing, after retiring post Athens and she has also worked for the BBC on World Championship coverage, including the 2015 World Championships at the Olympic White Water Centre at Lee Valley in London.
While Olympic competitions are relatively short, days can be long with pre race preparation and post race analysis being essential to stay on top of your game during a broadcast. Facts and figures are as much a part of sports commentary as correctly calling the live action and while it might seem like commentators talk spontaneously throughout, there has always been a huge amount of background work which feeds the live commentary.
Helen is also on call to go down to Olympic Park from the venue in the event of Britain winning a Canoeing medal, which is exactly what she did following Joe Clarke’s historic win in the Men’s K1 event – Britain’s first ever individual Gold in Olympic Canoe Slalom competition. Helen appeared alongside Clare Balding and Mark Chapman to discuss the young paddler’s achievement on the evening broadcast the same day.
While Helen’s experience as an Olympic canoeist is the key reason why she’s part of the BBC commentary team, her media experience and background as a Media Manager really adds to the package. Understanding how major international sports broadcasting works is vital and being able to operate in what is a high pressure news environment is essential.
It means that she can not only deliver the technical explanation of what’s happening on the water but she also delivers the right kind of comment and information and is in tune with the media’s needs, so that the content she provides enhances their product and doesn’t just fill a gap in the main commentary.
It’s this experience that Helen also brings into play in her work within Mediapack – helping clients shape their own output and take advantage of the huge opportunities still available with the mainstream media.
Helen will be posting a ‘day in the life’ article when she returns from Rio, detailing an average day and she will also be revealing some of her behind the scenes experiences.