Barry Davies steps down as BBC hockey commentator

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Veteran sports broadcaster Barry Davies has announced that he is to step down as the BBC’s hockey commentator.

Davies, 75, made his hockey commentary debut at the 1972 Munich Olympics and has covered the sport for the corporation at each Games ever since, including numerous Commonwealth Games and World Championships.

He was behind the microphone for the BBC during the hockey competitions at last summer’s London Olympics, which included Great Britain’s women team winning bronze and with it the country’s first hockey medal for 20 years.

In a statement issued via England Hockey, Davies said: “Forty-one years have gone by since I first commentated on hockey – at the Munich Olympics, as deputy to Peter West.

“A year on from London 2012, in the company of Mel Clewlow and Sean Kerly, I have decided my role in the sport should be that of a spectator – arguably more important.

“The journey has been a lot of fun, with much British and English success, and I should like to thank the many people who helped me along the way.

“I leave ‘the box’ with a whole host of memories and I dearly hope that 2014 will see gold at last for Kate [Walsh] and her team.”

London 2012 was Davies’ twelfth successive Summer Olympics in succession dating back to the 1968 Mexico City Games, breaking David Coleman’s previous record for the number of Summer Games covered a UK sports broadcaster.

His most memorable moment behind the microphone at a hockey competition came at the 1998 Seoul Olympics when Great Britain’s men secured a remarkable gold medal against West Germany in the final.

When Imran Sherwani scored Britain’s third goal in the match, Davies delivered one of the most famous pieces of BBC sports commentary of all time, saying: “Where were the Germans? But frankly, who cares?”

Sherwani grabbed two goals in that game with Sean Kerly – who became a commentary partner alongside Davies – scoring the other to hand Great Britain a famous 3-1 victory.

Commenting on his unusually biased outburst, Davies told the BBC Sport website in 2012: “The third goal effectively settled the match for Great Britain and the first thought I had was ‘Crikey, where were the German defenders?'”

“Nobody seemed to do anything to stop Sherwani from scoring. But as I was saying that I thought, ‘Well, who cares? Great Britain are going to win this!'”

“It was simply a thought put into a few sentences and I had no idea it would cause the stir it did. It is often mentioned to me, even now.

“The first complaint against any commentator is that he is biased – certainly in club sports – but when it is your country you are obviously hoping that they win.”

Although perhaps best known for his four decades of football commentary, Davies’ is also recognised as a sports commentating all-rounder, having covered a wide variety of events during his long and distinguished career with the BBC.

He has commentated on tennis, rowing, badminton, ice hockey, figure skating, gymnastics, hockey, cycling, beach volleyball and athletics.

Davies was also the voice of the BBC’s coverage of Olympics opening and closing ceremonies at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

One Comment

  1. For me Barry is the greatest commentator of my lifetime. A rich voice, wonderful turn of phrase and so incredibly versatile. I genuinely look forward to hearing the words “with your commentator Barry Davies” because you knew he would tell it like it is. I sincerely hope we haven’t heard the last of Barry on UK TV. I am hoping he still does Wimbledon. If we have, then enjoy a well earned retirement Barry.

    I would love to be able to send him an e mail to thank him etc but don’t have a contact.

    PS – His autobiography is a very good read.

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