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If you were among the millions of Canadians watching the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, you may have caught Camosun College Chargers men’s volleyball head coach - Charles Parkinson providing live commentary on the volleyball events for CBC. Camosun College recently sat down with Coach Parkinson to learn about his Olympic experience.

Coach Parkinson

How were you hired/picked by CBC to do the commentating? How did that come about? Do you do this on a regular basis with other volleyball events?

I auditioned for CBC in 1990 for Canada’s initial participation on the World League. I have done beach and indoor matches ever sinceand have worked for CBC, TSN and Outdoor Life Network. I have called matches for the BBC and Australian television as well. Beijing was my 4th Olympics as a broadcaster, having done Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens previously. I have also done the Canada Games, several Pan Am Games, World Championships and World Cup events as well as the FIVB Beach Tour.

How did you enjoy Beijing?

Beijing was a very special Olympic Games. The Chinese people were very appreciative, very supportive and very involved. I heard that almost 500,000 volunteers were used and I believe it. The scale of this Olympics was off the charts andI doubt will ever be replicated. The size of the venues was mind-boggling, as was the architecture.

Similarly the size of Beijing is overwhelming. The buildings are massive, the streets huge, and there is green everywhere. Driving is incredible in the city. It is not surprising that international drivers licenses are not recognized. Crossing the street can be a life and death experience, and we learned that the trick to survival is to stay close to a local and go when they go and stop when they stop!

What was the highlight of your experience there?

As with most Olympics, there is no single highlight for me. Seeing the USA Men’s Volleyball Team rebound from the tragic murder of their Head Coach’s father in law to win the gold medal was very special and very moving. Watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh cement their position as perhaps the best women’s beach teamever was simply remarkable when you consider the pressure that they were under from the world media. Obviously, accomplishments in the pool and on the track, especially in the sprints, were particularly inspirational. Finally, what I found particularly moving was how humbling the Olympics experience is. Redeem team basketball stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Jason Kidd were like kids when they came to watch beach volleyball and when they won their gold, Roger Federer cried when he finally won doubles, Jackie Chan sang and played throughout the Olympics, stardom temporarily suspended. It is a very special experience, the Olympics, and one which truly does bring the people of the world closer together if just for a brief moment.

Did the Olympic level plays give you any ideas/inspiration for your teams this year?

What it did was confirm for me that we are on the right track with the style of play that we instituted last year. While we do not have the sizeor power of the best teams in the world, at Camosun we now play a very similar type of game. What we have to do is implement a few more options into our offense and refine, refine, refine so that our execution is flawless.

What are you looking forward to with your Chargers this year?

We will have 12 players this season, something that we have not had for many years. I am looking forward to the competitive spirit that this will create within our training sessions and the way it will translate to play during our matches. All our athletes will be skilled enough to contribute on the floor and I look forward to bringing out the best in their capabilities.

Fans can catch Coach Parkinson and his team hit the floor on Friday, October 24 as the Chargers volleyball teams play their season openers in their new home facility, the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) on Camosun College’s Interurban campus. Check the Chargers website for news, games, tournaments and other exciting events!

Last updated: February 23, 2009 11:15 am

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