Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, September 18, 2006


From the September 18th issue of the Hamilton Spectator:

A Sportsnet spokesman confirmed Mike Toth called a Russian woman in a U.S. Open tennis highlight package, "Anna-take-your-top-off," explaining he couldn't pronounce her name.

The player was Anna Chakvetadze.

(Karen) Preston, a two-time national figure skating champ, said she was stunned by the comment in a Sept. 4 broadcast and wondered about the negative perception relayed to young viewers in particular.

"I have just been completely disgusted by one of your male commentators this morning," she wrote in an e-mailed complaint to Rogers Sportsnet.

Ah, foreign athletes and their names. It's a non-dying issue in every sport.

I've already written about the great Chen Lu/Lu Chen dilemma of 1997.

And then there was Scott Hamilton's on-air announcement that he couldn't pronounce Viacheslav's Zagarodniuk's name, and thus would be calling him "Zaggy." By the time the Ukrainian Champion finished his competitive career, that's all anyone on any TV network called him.

When Irina Slutskaya burst onto the scene as the surprise winner of the Europeans in 1996, the big question was, "Is it SLOOT-skaya," or "SLUT-skaya." That entire season, she was called "The Little Slut." But at least it was off-camera only.

And then there's Anton Sikharulidze. Before his name became a household word (well, in a mangled sort of way) thanks to Skategate in 2002, I spent the 1998 Olympics coaching Peter Carruthers in how to pronounce it. Ultimately, I just wrote it out phonetically on a little index card and taped it above the TNT camera lens.

But maybe we should have called him Anton "Seeks Whores a Lot, See?" Might have made it easier for the announcers to get it right...


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