A 'rockin' Olympics for the voice of curling
By Malcolm Johnston
Student: Vic Rauter
Graduated: Earl Haig Secondary, 1973
Best subject: English
Worst subject: Math
Current job: Curling commentator, TSN
If Canadian fans were a tad raucous at the Olympic Curling Centre during the 2010 Games, TSN commentator Vic Rauter may be partly to blame.
For 25 years, Rauter’s signature delivery and infectious energy in the commentator booth have brought fans to the game from across the country and earned him the nickname the “Voice of Canadian Curling” along the way.
But no one could have predicted the energy of the curling crowds at the Olympic venue. Rauter recently returned from the 2010 Brier in Halifax, where a more classic curling crowd was in attendance — plenty of polite applause and hearty encouragements — but none of the vigorous drum-beating, around-the-arena crowd “waves” or spur-of-the-moment “O Canada’s” of the Olympics. During the round robin portion of the Games, the skip of the Danish women’s team broke into tears after missing an important shot in front of the boisterous pro-Canada crowd.
All of it was far from intentional, says Rauter. “You had to realize that there were people going to watch curling who had never seen curling before and just wanted to be a part of the Olympics,” says Rauter. “Once they realized there is this etiquette — so when someone’s throwing, you’re not beeping or yelling or heckling — the place was electric. The curling venue at the Olympic Centre was the hottest place to be.”
And no better person to have the call than TSN’s Rauter. “I try to get excited about it,” says Rauter. “If that stone is coming down and it’s getting close to the guard, I try to ramp it up and try to get excited about the brushers and how they can try to drag it around and if they really bury it well. I mean, the place explodes anyway, so why can’t I explode with it?”
These days, when Rauter’s not calling curling, auto racing or soccer for his network, he’s doing his “homework” — player research, prepping his notes and so on — things he didn’t do a lot of as a student at Earl Haig.
“I was one of those typical guys, when the teacher would say to my parents, ‘If Vic only applied himself.…’ I really, honestly enjoyed school. But I was never great at it.”
As curling commentator, Rauter seems to have found his niche. Says Rauter: “The nicest compliment someone can say to me is ‘We really enjoy your broadcasts,’ and I’ll say, ‘Where do you curl?’ And they’ll say, ‘We don’t.’”