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Boise State Announcer Chris Lewis Will Call Table Tennis For NBC Olympics

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If you’re planning to watch the Summer Olympics from Tokyo, Japan this summer, you might hear a familiar voice.

NBC Olympics named Chris Lewis, who is handling Boise State women’s play-by-play duties for the broadcast team for this summer’s games. Lewis has mentioned play-by-play action for a wide variety of sports, including the Boise Hawks, basketball, football and more — but table tennis is something new.

“I’ve learned over the weeks since I got the job,” Lewis said during a recording of the BoiseDev podcast. “In table tennis there is table tennis for men, there are women, teams for men and women and then mixed doubles, so there are five different tournaments going on. I feel like going to work.”

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NBC will be broadcasting what are still called the 2020 Olympics — even though the games will be a year late due to the pandemic. Many sports announcers will broadcast from NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut — adding their voices to a remote feed from Japan.

“They have a remote headquarters for broadcasting and they do a lot of their coverage of the Olympics there. For much of their coverage, Stamford is the hub of it.”

Lewis said some table tennis matches will be broadcast live, some with delays and others wrapped in other programs. Matches are broadcast on NBCSN on cable, but highlights can be broadcast on NBC’s main network, according to the company.

Interesting for everyone

Lewis joins a team that includes everyone from Mike Tiricio to Tony Hawk to Tara Lipinski.

The table tennis tournament spans the entire length of the matches, starting on the day of the opening ceremony and ending with the men’s gold medal match on the last Friday.

“This is one of the most unique assignments I’ve ever had,” he said. “When you’re playing sports, you usually know that the public is relatively die-hard about it. When you name a Boise State sport… you can assume that the public knows what basketball is, the public knows what Boise State is, the public knows what the Mountain West is. There is a certain basic knowledge.”

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But if you’ve never watched a minute of table tennis, Lewis hopes to make it interesting and enjoyable.

“One of the things I’ve been told is to imagine your mom sitting on the couch surfing and she doesn’t know anything about the sport, the athletes, or how the rules work,” he said. “Why should they stick to table tennis? Why should they care about the two or four people competing, or the countries involved? You bring in stories and personal backgrounds. I can’t wait to dive in and tell those stories.”

Lewis will work with Sean O’Neill for the broadcasts.

“He is a former Olympian in the United States, a table tennis player and he is one of the best this country has ever produced. He has also done the last three Olympic cycles. I can trust that he goes into the strategy and the nuance of the game. I’m going to focus on what I know, which is the storylines and storytelling, and getting the audience interested in the individuals competing.”

dream assignment

He said that working on the Olympics has been a highlight of his career so far.

“This is why you dream of doing play-by-play. That’s why you play play-by-play when you’re ten years old and play Madden while your friends are playing so you can get assignments like this.”

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You can listen to the full podcast with Chris. We take a closer look at what to expect in table tennis this summer. We also discussed his Column Idaho Statesman 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and more in a wide-ranging debate. You can listen below, or by searching BoiseDev on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or in the Listen Boise app.

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