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Volunteer Olympic Speed Skating trials announcer faces biggest crowd yet

Glendale man volunteers for 15 years
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Posted at 7:53 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 20:58:09-05

If you’re headed out to the Pettit National Ice Center this week, there’s one voice you’re guaranteed to remember. 

Jeff Brand of Glendale has been the main announcer at the Pettit Center since 2002. He does it all for free for the love of the sport. 

“We get them to clap and really cheer and propel these athletes to the best performances possible,” he said. 

Despite his ice skating background, this volunteer gig was never in Brand’s plans.  

“It actually was by accident,” he said. “I was volunteered to do this and it was the very first meet I ever did.” 

Brand fell in love with the adrenaline rush after announcing national and world events at the Pettit Center, but he knew his biggest performance yet would come this week at the Olympic Trials in front of 1,200 fans. 

“I become very animated and you can tell in my voice and you can tell by my gestures,” he said. 

Not only does Brand get the crowd on their feet, he provides in-depth commentary on the athletes. He covers everything from their hometowns and hobbies to their greatest accomplishments both on and off the ice. He also explains how difficult it can be to compete at the highest level of the sport. 

“They’re actually going around 34 miles per hour, so just to give a perspective of how fast these skaters are going and how long they can sustain that speed,” he said. 

Brand is taking it all in each night of his first Olympic Trials, all while hoping the Olympic Committee selects the Pettit Center for future events so this isn’t his last. 

“The facility is in fantastic shape, super friendly, everyone is having a great time. I don’t see that as being an issue at all,” he said.