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SC resident Mark Cousineau will work poolside at Tokyo Olympics
By Zach Cavanagh
San Clemente resident Mark Cousineau will be an in-arena public address announcer for water polo at the Tokyo Olympics when the men’s and women’s tournaments begin on Saturday, July 24.
Cousineau is one of two English-language announcers who will work the tournaments, along with an announcer from Australia, a Japanese-language announcer and a French-language announcer for the medal-round games.
Cousineau’s responsibilities will be different than the usual tournament, but not so out of place from the last year of events, as he will announce to what will be an empty arena at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. There will be no fans at any of the Olympic venues this year, but Cousineau said the organizers still wanted the show to feel and sound like it always has with introductions, lineups and in-game calls.
“It’s going to be kind of weird,” Cousineau said, “but I did the NCAA Finals this year (which also had no fans in attendance), and I have experience with that. It’s a little hard to keep the enthusiasm, but you’re trying to provide a bit of that atmosphere. They want the flow of the game, and everyone to know what’s up.”
Cousineau has been announcing at water polo games for nearly 25 years and has worked his way up every level to earn this Olympic opportunity, a chance that isn’t diminished by the lack of fans or pomp and circumstance.
“It’s still the Olympic experience,” Cousineau said. “All the workers from around the world coming together. It’s the experience of the Olympics. The level of the games, the talent, it doesn’t damper at all.”
In an effort to help his children’s youth water polo clubs and to avoid working the snack bar, Cousineau said he began announcing for his kids’ matches at South Coast Aquatics. He continued that by announcing their matches at San Clemente High School, and he eventually took on the post for the USC water polo matches at the NCAA level.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to announce my kids, and I’ve had to announce them in some big games,” Cousineau said. “Many great games over the years, NCAA championships over the years. Announcing some of these kids as kids, and now they’re Olympians, it’s fun to see.”
Cousineau’s children came into and through the USC program, but when their water polo journeys ended, Cousineau’s continued on. He has continued to work with the USC water polo program, and through that, he made connections into USA Water Polo and FINA—the international federation for aquatic sports.
Cousineau has now worked tournaments in the United States and all over the globe, which prepped him for the opportunity to announce these Olympic games. Cousineau talked with his contacts in FINA to learn the process to become the Olympics announcer and submitted his name. Cousineau was selected in February 2020 before the onset of the pandemic and the one-year delay of the Games.
Cousineau learned they were still good to go in January of 2021 and boarded his plane to Tokyo on Saturday, July 17.
Cousineau will be in Japan through the entirety of the men’s and women’s tournaments that run through the end of the Olympics, with the women’s medal round on Aug. 7 and the men’s medal round on Aug. 8.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.