Senior staff writer
Channel 13 broadcaster Carlos Diaz of Greenwood is going to the Winter Olympics.
Diaz will be part of WTHR Channel 13’s coverage team with veteran sportscaster Dave Calabro along with a cameraman and a producer. Most of the equipment for the telecasts already has been shipped to South Korea. The on-air personalities will be in and around PyeongChang, South Korea.
“That’s right, here’s your headline: A Southsider is going to South Korea,” beamed a happy Diaz earlier this month. “It is truly an honor to be at the Olympics and represent the station that I grew up watching.
“I came back to Indianapolis to raise a family on the Southside and to do local stories. Now I am going halfway around the world,” said Diaz. He and wife Olga have two children, Dacio. 2, and Delya, 5 months.
The 1989 Greenwood High School graduate returned to the Southside last year as a reporter on “Sunrise” at Channel 13 to do local stories. He has anchored the news desk for noon and weekend news telecasts too.
The way he wound up with the Olympics assignment solidified his belief that Channel 13 truly is a “family” station.
“They asked me; they didn’t tell me,” Diaz said in some wonderment. “They asked me how I would feel about going to South Korea and to go discuss it with my wife and to let them know what we thought. My wife really appreciated that. It proved to me that Channel 13 values family.”
He revealed that those conversations originated when his wife was seven months pregnant with Delya. This will be the first time Diaz has covered the Olympics. He has covered numerous events for national cable networks, including presidential inaugurations, the Emmys, Super Bowls and 30-day post 9/11 coverage.
He has talked with Calabro and Channel 13 columnist Bob Kravitz about their experiences in covering previous Olympics.
“It’s like being in the eye of a hurricane,” Diaz said. “Most workdays will be around 18 hours because of getting to the venues. I may get a day off. It will be challenging only because I will be away from my family for a month. I’ll be Skyping a lot.”
Diaz said he will be doing mostly lifestyle and behind-the-scenes features of the South Koreans, while Calabro’s coverage will be of athletes with Hoosier connections.
The DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone), less than 40 miles from PyeongChang, will be among the first places he visits. “It has been described as one of the scariest places on Earth,” Diaz said. “That will be my baptism by fire.”
Diaz’s wife gave him several pair of thermal long underwear as a Christmas gift. He has Olympics outerwear from NBC and Channel 13.
He will be on air on “Sunrise” from 5-7 a.m., as usual, while Calabro will be on air for 6 and 11 p.m. sports broadcasts.
“I want to be there and have fun and bring the people of Indiana to the Winter Olympics,” Diaz said. “I will be telling what it’s like to be a Hoosier in South Korea.”
Due to the time difference of 14 hours, their daily routines will be reversed. Diaz laughed, “Dave will have to live my life because he will be up at the crack of dawn; I’ll be burning the midnight oil like he does here.”
The PyeongChang Olympics are being predicted as perhaps the coldest on record. Winter winds originate in Siberia, roar through the Manchurian Plain, then across North Korean mountains and into South Korea.
“When that wind comes into town from the mountains, they say that you will feel it in your bones,” said Diaz, who agreed that the ambient and wind-chill temps in central Indiana in late December and early January have helped him prepare for the Olympics.
Diaz has had local sports reporting stints with WZPL-FM and WNDE-FM. He got his national reporting start with “Sports Center” on ESPN. He also has provided coverage of entertainment, news and sports events for E! Entertainment Television, Fox News, TBS and MSNBC.
He compares the intensity of covering the Olympics to the Super Bowl with one exception: Super Bowl coverage lasts only one week; Olympics coverage will be for one month.
Opening ceremonies are Feb. 8 with competitive events through Feb. 25.