By DAVID CROMPTON
Asked if he could attend the BC Athletics awards banquet, it didn’t dawn on Steve King that he might be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
“I thought they might have wanted me to emcee the awards night,” said the modest 64-year-old Penticton resident, revered world-wide as an announcer in the sport of triathlon. “I emceed it before, so it sounded like that was what it was all about.”
King was in Hawaii last weekend doing what he does best – serving as race announcer for the Ultraman World Championship – when his wife, Jean, informed him BC Athletics had called.
“I got back into (Penticton) on Wednesday and then (BC Athletics) told us I was being inducted,” said King, noting the gala event was held at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond. “They flew us down and it was just a wonderful evening. I was thrilled and incredibly honoured.”
King was welcomed into the Hall of Fame for his impressive resume as an athlete, coach, educator, TV announcer, race commentator, guest speaker, builder and author, as well as for his occupational duties as a counsellor.
King has served as an on-site play-by-play announcer for more than 150 different events, including the 1994 Commonwealth Games and 1999 Pan-Am Games.
Locally, he’s known for his splendid work as the race announcer for the Ironman Canada, Peach Classic and other triathlons, road races and cross country ski races.
He was introduced at the awards banquet as an “athlete, poet, lyricist, narrator, author, publisher, educator, guest speaker, counsellor, announcer and builder.”
King said he has another busy year ahead in 2013.
“Lots of announcing,” said the England native. “I love it. I’ll be all over the place.”
He said a big highlight this year will be serving as race announcer for the inaugural Challenge Penticton triathlon in August.
“There is a lot of interest in the event, that’s for sure,” said King. “It will be neat to see how it unfolds with the relays, the wave start and everything. It’s going to be exciting for the entire community.”
Next up on the agenda for King is the Nor-Am cross country skiing competition at Sovereign Lake near Vernon this weekend.
He will also be announcing for the Interior Loppet Series, which includes a race hosted by the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, located just past Apex Mountain Resort.
King’s first triathlon of the year is an event in Shawinigan Lake, B.C. at the end of May. He will also be announcing at a Half-Iron event in Calgary.
Even though the Ironman brand was replaced by the Challenge in Penticton, King said it “won’t preclude him” from announcing Ironman triathlons around the world.
King started his career as an elite athlete, and has completed numerous grueling events such as Ironman, Ultraman and the Badwater Death Valley 135-mile race in the U.S.
However, he has been limited to some walking and biking the last few years due to a lung issue.
“If I can get over it, I would definitely compete again,” said King, adding he would love to eventually be able to take part in the Challenge Penticton event as an athlete. “It’s not over for me by any stretch. I still feel I have a future as an athlete.”