Tom Durkin has called the past 30 Triple Crown races on NBC, but we’ll no longer be hearing his voice on the races because he’s decided to step down. The news was announced Tuesday afternoon and Durkin says he’s stepping down because of stress.
“It’s just the stress got to be too much,” Durkin said. “When you’re walking around with a pit in your stomach for three months a year, just a general bad feeling and nervousness. You look up stress in the dictionary or online, and I’m a classic case of it. Sometimes you have to look out for your professional life; more importantly, you have to look out for your personal life. This is a bad professional decision and a good personal one.”
As someone who’s broadcast on a national level (albeit for a much smaller audience), I can tell you the amount of hate mail and criticism received is tough to bear. I understand where Durkin is coming from and it signifies how bad this was for him to give up such a prestigious position.
If you have no idea where the stress would come from, just watch this video and you’ll understand. Think of broadcasting a major event like the Kentucky Derby as an athlete preparing for the Olympics. You train the whole year for just a two-minute long race and the whole country knows it if you fail. That’s a tough gig no matter how you view it.