Beijing Winter Olympics: Basil Zempilas recounts Steven Bradbury’s incredible speed skating gold

Headshot of Pierra Willix
Pierra WillixThe West Australian
VideoSteven Bradbury wins gold in extraordinary circumstances.

At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics back in 2002, Basil Zempilas called history as it happened.

He was the man who described Steven Bradbury’s famous “last man standing” victory in the 1000m speed skating where the Aussie defied the odds to win gold in spectacular fashion - his opponents famously tumbling over in front of him.

It’s an event that has stayed with Zempilas two decades later.

“It feels like it was yesterday,” he said.

“It was an extraordinary moment and now that we are coming up to the 20th anniversary, it has been front of mind more so than usual.

“It is a really significant part of Australia’s Olympic history, albeit it was so unusual but I think that is why we love it. It brings a smile to my face every time I see the replay.”


In the 20 years since Bradbury claimed Australia’s first Winter Olympics gold medal, the Channel Seven commentator is now preparing to see the next generation of sports stars step up at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Alongside former Olympian Georgia Parker, who wore the green and gold in field hockey at the 2016 Rio games, the pair will be leading the late night coverage, broadcasting out of Perth.

Basil Zemplias and Georgie Parker will be part of Channel Seven’s Winter OlympicS coverage.
Camera IconBasil Zemplias and Georgie Parker will be part of Channel Seven’s Winter OlympicS coverage. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

With no time difference between here and Beijing, the pair say Perth is in the box seat to enjoy prime time coverage of all the action from the snow and ice.

There will be up to 20 dedicated Olympic channels across Seven and 7plus, broadcasting more than 1600 hours of live content over the 17 days.

“There are lots of medal chances and they will be happening late at night where it not only all looks spectacular, but we have so many Australians going there as pure genuine medal chance,” Parker said.

“It’s probably the strongest Australian Winter Olympics team. Six months ago we had the Tokyo Olympic team breaking records and I think this team could do that to.

“It is a very exciting time for them to be going over there after having fought against the odds of everything ... and it’s a chance for them to live out their dreams and unite the nation.”

Beijing 2022 will screen live and free on Seven and 7plus from February 3.

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