Freestyle On TV: The ESPN Sportscenter Segment

ESPN covered the FPA World Championships as part of its 50 States/50 Days tour. Washington State was represented by freestyle. Yeah, that’s right. Little old us!

ESPN Teasers (3.5mb avi file – right click to save)

ESPN Segment (9.1mb avi file, right click to save)

On Tuesday, the ESPN producers decided they wanted to focus their story around Dave Lewis and Arthur Coddington (that’s me!) as the defending Pairs champions. This surprised me since I figured the tournament would just be background action for Sportscenter and the worlds competitors wouldn’t really get to show freestyle to the world.

The opposite was true. They filmed some b-roll and the Arthur/Dave segment on Thursday, then broadcast Sportscenter live from the competition field on Friday. Word was that the producers were very happy with the footage they got. Though no freestyle was visible during the live news broadcasts, the prerecorded piece aired several times, including teasers.

Shelley Smith interviewed Bill Wright, Dan Magallanes, Dave and me. The audio guy wrote down all our names, then the editors proceeded to misspell Dan’s last name. No fair!!!

For the interview, we sat by Greenlake on a little patch of fake grass, with reflectors softening the light on our tender faces and microphones snaked underneath our shirts. We had to halt production at one point because a duck walked behind Dave Lewis. Bill Wright faced the toughest interview since Shelley Smith is a childhood friend of his. We never heard Bill’s answer about what he was doing in the closet at Shelley’s house that day…

Dave gave the best soundbite of the piece, calling freestyle “the best thing ever.” When Dave told Shelley that his favorite catch was the double spinning barrel gitis, we all looked at each other and chuckled – now Dave would have to actually catch one of them. The pressure was on, but Dave actually had no trouble grabbing his favorite catch for the cameras, and ESPN ended up using the catch for the teasers to the piece.