Week 108 (24 – 30 October 2015)
Former sprinter and Olympic medallist Ato Boldon hosted the ANOC Awards 2015 in Washington D.C. this week, comfortably treading the fine line between entertaining the audience – and allowing others to steal the show.
This year may only have been the second edition of the ANOC Awards – which is the baby of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) – but they are already taking on a strong identity. And Boldon was crucial to developing this identity on Thursday night, bringing a slickness to proceedings and mixing it with a relaxed and friendly tone.
The result was that the stars of the show: the athletes, felt relaxed and confident next to Boldon on stage, allowing them to enjoy themselves rather than feel outside their comfort zone amongst the glitz and glamour of the DAR Constitution Hall.
Boldon was eminently entertaining and regularly went off script, at one point quipping about being a "minor medallist" with only three Olympic bronze medals and a silver medal to his name.
Yet he also conducted the set pieces of the night with a decorum appropriate for the occasion. One which ended with speeches from both IOC President Thomas Bach and ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
Boldon's relaxed style was perfectly aligned with ANOC's intentions for the awards to be a celebration for NOCs – a small way for ANOC to recognise their members' often unheralded work. But the 41-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago may also have cast the template for future editions of the ANOC Awards by showing that the "for athletes, by athletes" approach for this event is an award winner itself.