Olympic athletes are all about the "moment," the one performance when it all comes together on the biggest stage. Blow it and you wait a minimum of four years for another chance. Some never get a second opportunity.

Most of us cannot identify with pressure like that. We're not Patrick Kinas.

A Pontiac native, Kinas will not be competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Yet, as with the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Kinas' task will be to nail those signature moments from the radio booth.

Westwood One/NBC Radio seeks audio of such events that will stand up 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

An example?

Michael Phelps' final gold medal win at Rio. Kinas was on hand for that, alongside analyst Dara Torres. The call is live. There are no second chances to get it right.

"There's so much behind it and you want to wrap it up and have it be timeless," Kinas said. "There's a lot of pressure to do that and there's artistry to doing that. You just have to trust the training you've had and a lot of it is your gut instincts.

"Every new event is a new call, which is a new opportunity for you to speak to the audience and tell them how big of a moment this was."

Just do it in about 15, 20 seconds.

Nail it and you have a sound bite for generations. Mess it up and you don't get rehired for another Olympics.

While Kinas will tell you he made mistakes in Rio, his work was plenty good to put him on a plane Saturday morning for South Korea.

He and Olympic historian David Wallechinsky will provide radio coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies. Kinas also will handle play by play for one of the Olympics' highest-profile events, figure skating, as well as short track speed skating.

"It's a blast," Kinas said. "It's high pressure, high stakes. But it's beyond a bucket list event. In our industry you have a million dreams. A blueprint for getting to call the Olympic games ... it's beyond all of them."

Tuesday, Kinas was at his home in North Carolina researching and reviewing information on the upcoming Olympics, specifically the events he will be covering.

His regular job is as play by play announcer for the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. He also is contracted with ESPN and does other events for Westwood One, most recently the East-West Shrine Game that included Illinois State's Dalton Keene and Davontae Harris.

Seeing them took him back to his roots. His father, Bob, still lives in Pontiac. His mother, Carol, worked for the Pontiac Leader for many years and later at newspapers in Ottawa and suburban Chicago. His brother, Doug, lives in the Peoria area. 

Thus, Kinas said, "Central Illinois is our footprint."

A 1988 Pontiac High School graduate, he earned an undergraduate degree at Millikin and went to Northwestern for graduate school.

His first taste of broadcasting came at the Pontiac Holiday Basketball Tournament. He was 14.

His first television appearance came on SportsChannel Chicago working the IHSA state swimming championships. Years later, that experience helped land him the swimming assignment in Rio.

"I nearly drown a couple of times as a kid and I didn't learn to swim until I was 15," Kinas said. "I had five months to become as knowledgeable as I could (for the Olympics). I just kind of absorbed the knowledge and watched a lot of video and talked to a lot of people."

His approach has been the same for figure skating and speed skating, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. 

Much of his work will be done before he leaves his home, where he and his wife, Kathryn, are "parents" to five pets.

"You just keep your nose to the grindstone and prepare the way you normally would, whether it's a Pontiac High School basketball game or the opening ceremonies at the Olympics," he said.

"Preparation is what it's all about. If I get on the plane Saturday and feel I've prepared as much as I needed to, I'll be fine."

With that, it was time to get back at it. After saying goodbye, Kinas planned to shoo the dog from his lap and immerse himself in Pyeongchang.

The "moments" will be here soon.

He wants to nail every one.

Follow Randy Kindred on Twitter: @pg_kindred



Sports Editor

Sports Editor for The Pantagraph.

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