Trackside for Games, once again
Kamas resident Carl Roepke is no stranger to the Olympics – he’s already been twice and is headed to Vancouver next week for his third Winter Games experience. Roepke is one of three announcers for the luge, bobsled and skeleton events.
Carl will be working with 17 other crew members as they speak to him through an earpiece while he watches a television monitor of athletes speeding by at 90 miles per hour. It’s his job to announce the play-by-play action as it unfolds.
"I have worked with many of them before and so I know it’s high pressure, it’s the Olympics, but I also have peace within myself because I look over and the production people are right there walking me through this stuff," Carl said.
A racer in the U.S. Luge program, Roepke is a seven-time national champion and currently holds the national championship in the Masters class. He’s been announcing at the Utah Olympic Park since 1997 and has done everything from world championships to World Cups. He has also announced for short-track and long-track speed skating competitions at the Utah Olympic Oval.
Carl met his wife, Michele, while both worked at the UOP. They began dating soon after she left her job for a position as an instructor at Deer Valley Resort. While he worked as an announcer for the 2002 Olympics, she attended as a spectator. They married shortly after.
"I owe my marriage to the park," he said. That’s where we found each other."
In 2005, the couple traveled through Europe and had lunch with the people in charge of the Olympic venues in Turin. In November 2005, both Carl and Michele – who holds a degree in broadcasting and has spent many hours at the mic at KPCW – were invited to announce for a World Cup event, unknowingly as a tryout for the Olympics. They later received an email asking them to announce at the 2006 Olympics and became the first husband-and-wife announcing team. At the time, Michele was three months pregnant with their first child.
"We kind of had an Olympic baby," Carl said.
Because of how well they did during the Olympics, and with Michele’s background working with the Park City Disabled Ski Team, they were asked to stay and announce for the Paralympics.
"They asked me to announce for sled hockey," Carl said. "I had never seen it before. It was an unbelievable experience."
With two children at home and with her job at Deer Valley becoming increasingly busy, Michele opted to stay home during the Vancouver Olympics.
Carl said he has traveled to Vancouver half a dozen times in the last year, talking to the community and getting them involved.
"I hope they truly understand how fortunate they are to have this 2010 bobsled track that is there to stay," he said. "Forever and ever Vancouver is addressed as the Olympic city."
Carl said that struck him during a phone interview for a travel show located in the Eastern U.S.
"They addressed us as ‘Park City the Olympic City,’" he said. "That’s what makes the UOP such a successful post-Olympic venue. Tourists and dozens of people,even here for Sundance, want to relive the Olympic Games."
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