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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 11:52 GMT

Bob Ballard

Bob Ballard will cover the ice hockey tournament at Salt Lake City - a prospect he is looking forward to.

Now the BBC 's main ice hockey commentator, after taking over from Barry Davies, Bob Ballard's broadcasting career spans 20 years.

He began at local radio station Medway which became Radio Kent, where he spent five years before moving to York.

Later, followed a four-and-a-half year stint at Sheffield, before Bob moved to Radio Five Live in 1997.

As well as ice hockey, Bob has cover major basketball and swimming events.

He was the BBC's swimming correspondent at the Sydney Olympics and has also covered the Commonwealth Games as well as the British National championships.

Let-down

Bob is looking forward to the ice hockey tournament in Salt Lake City, but is hoping for a better final than four years ago in Nagano - which he also covered.

The Czech Republic edged out Russia 1-0 in a dour encounter, and Bob remembers: "In Japan, four years ago, the level of competition was fantastic all the way up to the final.

"But sadly, the conclusion of the tournament did not live up to expectations.

"It is a great event - the equivalent of football's World Cup - and all the best players in the world will be there.

"As long as the draw allows, I am backing Canada and the United States to contest the final.

"It's just a shame Great Britain failed to qualify and will not will not be there to compete."


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