TRI247
Search
shop

My triathlon highlight of the year: Birmingham 2022

Why the Birmingham Commonwealth Games topped the 2022 charts for our Chief Correspondent John Levison

Chief Correspondent
Last updated -
SHOP

Happy New Year everybody!

After a little downtime over Christmas after an exceptionally busy year in triathlon, we are gearing up here at TRI247 Towers for what will no doubt be another fantastic season of swim-bike-run action across a wide range of distances and formats.

Over the festive period we brought you our 2022 Year in Review series (check it out HERE – the full series is cross-linked at the bottom of all 11 articles). There, we took a range of topics and picked out some of the athletes, events, races, dramas, finishes and more that had stuck in our consciousness during the season.

Before fully closing the door on 2022 however, I thought I’d share my own personal highlight of the triathlon year. The great thing about this sport is that you can enjoy it in so many different ways, but when I look back on 2022, this will remain my most treasured triathlon memory of the year.

Advertisement

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

On a personal level, the Sutton Park triathlon events in late July stand out as my clear triathlon highlight of 2022. A Major Games on home soil is a special thing, and as someone who has lived this sport for more than 30 years now, having the opportunity to work on the event is as close as it gets to a busman’s holiday. Truly, there is literally nothing in the world that I would rather have done that week. How many people get that opportunity?

As part of a fantastic sports presentation team at the venue, I was the lead announcer within the park. Working alongside Paralympic Games gold medallist, Lauren Steadman, in the commentary box and our on-the-ground presenter, Dan Bardell, we were the ‘front of house’. Our roles are to add to the full experience for spectators within the grandstands and surrounds, with commentary, insights, information, entertainment segments and delivering the (extensive) ‘protocol’ that happens behind the scenes that few will ever see.

Think medal ceremonies ‘just happen’ for example? When you are the first medal event on the first day of competition, that moment is rehearsed for hours in the previous days!

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - John Levison, Lauren Steadman, Dan Bardell
John, Lauren and Dan

Teamwork

All of our on-site work also has to be coordinated with the global broadcast requirements, local organising committee and World Triathlon, with strict deadlines through the Run of Show. That’s an extensive and detailed plan that has been both worked on for months – and yet that might have to change at five seconds notice, if unforeseen events happen. That analogy about swans trying to be graceful above the water, while a lot of (unseen) hard work is going on under the water, rings true.

While we were the faces and/or voices, there is a much bigger team behind us, working on all aspects of audio, video, logistics, planning, floor managing, technology and more. This was all fantastically managed by Tim Morgan, who by good fortune I’ve had the pleasure to work with at many events now in London and Leeds.

Commonwealth Games Sports Presentation room
Behind the scenes at Birmingham 2022

The Sutton Park venue looked incredible, with even long-time locals arriving and saying ‘wow, I don’t recognise the place’. The racing was exciting (Hayden Wilde penalty, Team Wales silver, Dave Ellis finally getting that gold medal – to name just three), and the positivity of the team I was working with was brilliant.

The event was also I feel a showcase, far beyond the sports presentation elements I was involved in, of the depth of talent, skills and commitment that exists in ‘our’ sport in the UK. At every turn, in every area, from the Event Director down to the on-course volunteers, were friends and faces that I’ve seen at events for literally decades.

Commonwealth Games 2022 swim start

I’ll be honest, for many of those faces I don’t know their names, but certainly recognise their experience. At literally every turn, seeing people that you know would give every sinew of effort they had to make the overall event delivery as good as it could be under difficult circumstances, was hugely comforting and genuinely filled me with pride, to be a part of it. They delivered in style.

Legacy

Part of the legacy of Birmingham 2022 was to provide opportunities in the events industry to young, local talent and provide a springboard at an early stage in their career. Our team for example included young camera operators and an assistant floor manager, who were working alongside more experienced event industry professionals. It was truly a joy to be a part of and every one of them did their selection proud. They have, I suspect, also greatly enhanced their future career prospects.

Reflecting back, I was offered an unexpected opportunity back in 2010 to work on the commentary at the World Triathlon Series in London. It was something I’d never really considered, and never thought would be anything more than a one-off at the time. That opportunity has since led to some incredible events over the following 13 years, life experiences that truly money can’t buy. I’ve worked at World and European Championships, a European Games, two Commonwealth Games, World Series events, hosted awards dinners, Olympic team announcements, live broadcasts and more, both in the UK and overseas.

I can only wish the same success to the great team who took their opportunity this summer in Birmingham with their future careers.

Commonwealth Games Sports Presentation room

And so that, in brief, is why the Commonwealth Games of Birmingham 2022 is my personal triathlon memory of the year. Here’s to making more memories in 2023.

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.

THE SBRX Show

In episode 1 of our new SBRX Show we sit down with ultra runners and coaches Kim and Jayson Cavill to get their take on the Barkley Marathons and triathlon & trail running gear reviews, training tips and more
Discover more
Sumarpo vanguard vs Zone 3 Vanquish X triathlon wetsuits
ZONE3 Vanquish X wetsuit vs Sumarpo Vanguard wetsuit – how do these triathlon wetsuits match up?
Essential Beginner's Triathlon Gear & KIt
Triathlon gear for beginners: essential kit for getting started
open water swimming Sumarpo wetsuit
How to improve swimming endurance – PRO tips to help you swim further in open water
sumarpo triathlon swimming wetsuit
Wetsuit buying guide – How to choose the best wetsuit for triathlon, open water swimming, SwimRun and cold water
Aviles Duathlon
What is a duathlon? Beginner’s guide to distances, training plans and kit
latest News
Gustav Iden Kona athlete sign in 2022 photo credit Donald Miralle for IRONMAN
Gustav Iden shares heartfelt message after major milestone on the journey back to the top
Sam Long celebrates at the San Francisco T100.
Sam Long targeting two major T100 races after season break to resolve personal problems
Challenge Geraardsbergen 2023 - Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade
British triathlon star Joe Skipper looking to save season with big results Down Under
Braden Currie wins IRONMAN Cairns 2019
Long course triathlon legend looking to kickstart season on happy hunting grounds in Cairns
lionel sanders wins oceanside 2024 [Photo credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN]
Lionel Sanders set for triathlon return after being announced on start list for event he loves
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

SBRX
RUN247
GET RACE READY - SHOP WITH SBRX
Share to...