Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 1st April 2021
Punters on-site and tuning into the Powercor Stawell Gift livestream at the weekend may hear a familiar voice – that of legendary horse racing caller Matthew Hill. Matt is well known for calling horse races like the Melbourne Cup, but he’s equally at home “providing the soundtrack to many great athletic moments,” including two Olympic Games.
“I’m very excited about calling the Stawell Gift. I believe that Australia in its short history has developed some magnificent sporting traditions and Stawell at Easter is one of them,” said Matt who is a fan of the Gift from way back.
“For many years I’ve watched the starter in the big white coat call the athletes to their marks and the sense of history and occasion has always grabbed me. It has been on the bucket list for many years. The athletics community is very passionate and mixed with the great action on the track and the rural nature of the event, I can’t wait to be in amongst it.”
Matt believes it is the tradition of the Powercor Stawell Gift that is appealing to the athletes as well as the preparation they put into the win. “Races can be won or lost in a matter of seconds, it’s intense, it’s pressurised and it’s the top event in the sport of professional foot running. Most athletes get one good opportunity at winning the Gift and for me that’s compelling.
“The athleticism and self-belief must match in 11 seconds. 11 seconds between one of the great achievements in an athlete’s life or disappointment. How couldn’t you be gripped by that?”
Paying tribute to his predecessors Matt insists he’s “only the next in a long line including names such as Bruce McAvaney and Peter Donegan who have moved from the gee gees to the humans.”
“In many ways the call is the same, the athletes wear colours which is appealing for a race caller. The athletics call can be a little more personal too as opposed to just calling horses names at a rapid pace.”
Matt has called Track and Field events at the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 South East Asian Games, and the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics.
“My career highlight was broadcasting Mo Farrah’s double in London for Australian radio along with the deeds of Usain Bolt. The stadium when Mo won the 10,000 was remarkable. It goes down as a famous moment in world sport and to be behind the microphone for that eclipses a lot of events that I’ve done.”
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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