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Retired academic shoots for Olympic success

Posted on 01/08/2012

As well as playing host to hundreds of athletes as the official 2012 Games Rowing and Sprint Village, staff and students – both past and present – from Royal Holloway, University of London have had the honour of providing their own contributions.

Alun Lewis, a retired academic at Royal Holloway, University of London was chosen as the venue announcer at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich for the Rifle and Pistol target shooting events.

Until last year, Alan worked as a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication in the Department of Earth Sciences. He retired last July but has since been contracted to cover the Olympic and Paralympics Games as the official commentator for the events.

Before Alun joined Royal Holloway, he was both active in radio and television broadcast including 20 years as a BBC Radio Four presenter. This is however, the first time he has turned his hand to live sports commentary.

Alun’s role involves providing a commentary on the 10 finals for the various Rifle and Pistol events. This involves welcoming the spectators, giving them information about the venue as well as the knowledge of target shooting as an Olympic sport.

With 4,000 spectators and medal announcements in English and French, Alun had the privilege of announcing the first medal winners of the whole Olympic Games on Saturday morning.

“The hardest thing is staying calm and collected when faced with a list of un-pronounceable names but I can cope with the English and French ones!” Alun said.

Not only is Alun a commentator but since the age of 12, has been a target shooter himself. Alun competed at a national level and once won his own silver medal in the Welsh national championships. Not only this, but it is his second Olympics as a volunteer, previously working as the deputy head of the media centre for the Bob Sleigh and Luge at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.

"Taking part in the Olympics in any capacity is a huge experience - and an honour. I treasure my first volunteer’s medal from the French Games in 1992 and can still remember those days as if they were yesterday,” Alun said.

“It is great to be able to represent my sport in this way. It’s been so exciting to be part of the huge team that is trying to make the London Games the best yet.”


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