Q&A: NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey on his Tokyo Olympics experience and IndyCar’s youth movement

Q&A: NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey on his Tokyo Olympics experience and IndyCar’s youth movement

Leigh Diffey is one of the most recognizable voices in all of motorsports, a well-earned distinction for the NBC Sports broadcaster who has called just about everything there is on wheels, including IndyCar, Formula One, sports cars, motorcycles and even NASCAR.

But while Diffey has covered many a big race in the world of motorsports, he just completed his most high-profile assignment yet. For the first time, the native Australian was the voice of NBC Sports’ track and field coverage at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. For Diffey, whose Olympic broadcasting resume includes summer (rowing at the Rio Summer Games) and winter sports (bobsled, skeleton and luge at the Sochi and Pyeongchang Winter Games), being the lead play-by-play broadcaster for track and field meant he was covering one of the most prominent sports at the Olympics, with events aired in a marquee prime-time broadcast window for a national television audience.

Not surprisingly, Diffey received widespread praise for his work during the Tokyo Olympics, including The Athletic’s media reporter, Richard Deitsch, who proclaimed Diffey was “a tremendous addition as a race-caller.”

As Diffey resumes his regular duties at NBC Sports as the voice of its IndyCar Series coverage, The Athletic chatted with Diffey about his experience calling track and field, how he adjusted to being in Tokyo amid a pandemic, how his background in motorsports helped prepare him for this assignment and his impressions of what’s unfolded in IndyCar this season.

Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Your background as a broadcaster is in motorsports, but you’ve called various events in the Olympics yet never track and field.

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