Roepke to provide familiar voice |

Roepke to provide familiar voice

Clockwise from top left: Michele Roepke, Carl Roepke III, Augie Roepke and Carl Root Roepke IV pose for a picture at the Utah Olympic Park bobsled track. Adam Spencer/The Park Record

When you’re halfway around the world, things can be a little lonely. Homesickness can start to set in when faced with unfamiliar environments.

But, for the U.S. bobsled, skeleton and luge athletes, a familiar voice will keep them feeling at home during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Carl Roepke III, who is the track announcer for the three sports at the Utah Olympic Park, will be heading to Sochi to perform the same job at the Russian Olympic facilities.

For local athletes like skeleton rider Noelle Pikus-Pace and bobsledder Steven Holcomb, hearing Roepke’s voice is a great way to calm down before the biggest races of their lives.

"To talk to the athletes after, when it’s quiet up at the top, and hear them say, ‘It was nice to hear your voice,’ it’s great," Roepke said. "It brings home to them when they’re racing abroad."

Bringing that slice of home to athletes is something Roepke has been doing for more than a decade now. After announcing his first Olympics right here in Park City in 2002, Roepke has announced the 2006 Torino Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also announced the shooting events at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.

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For Roepke and his wife, Michele, the Olympics, and the Utah Olympic Park in particular, hold a special place in their hearts.

"We were working here when we met," Michele said.

Since meeting at the park, the Roepkes have had the fortune of being able to announce many events together and shared a special moment at the Torino Olympics.

"Michele and I were invited to be the English-speaking announcers for Torino for the 20th Winter Olympic Games," Carl Roepke said. "It was the first time in Olympic history that a husband and wife team had been chosen to be announcers together. It’s one thing to have a husband and wife team be in different venues and things, but to be side-by-side was kind of Olympic history."

Though Michele won’t be attending the Sochi Games, due to family obligations, Roepke said he is excited to announce another Olympics.

"I think for me, and I’ll speak for Michele, too, our biggest passion is the Olympics," he said.

So, even with ever-increasing security concerns in the Russian resort town, Roepke never considered not going.

"We both know that security will be as tight as it can be," he said. "I’ll just stay in my venue and not venture out of where I’m supposed to stay."

At the track, Roepke will share the announcing booth with a Russian announcer and a French announcer. They’ll each have about 30 seconds between sleds to set the scene for spectators.

Though Roepke said he loves being able to have a place in some of the biggest moments in athletes’ lives, he recognizes that he can’t get caught up in the moment.

"I don’t want to see the athletes’ expressions," he said. "I don’t want to see the tears in their eyes as they hold their flowers and their medals and they’re waving to the world, because I’ll get too worked up. I just keep my head down and listen to what the producers are saying into my headset."

But, just feeling all the emotion going on around him is special enough.

"It’s pretty neat," he said. "It’s really special because I’ve been doing this a long time and these athletes didn’t achieve this yesterday they’ve been working on it a long, long time."

So, he’ll do his job and hope the athletes take care of the rest.

"To see those athletes walking up the track in preparation for their Olympic runs, as I’m getting ready to announce that’s my Olympic dream," he said. "They have one to go win a gold. Mine is to represent the park and Park City. We all have jobs to do."