Sports Media Announcer Nicho Meredith
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Sunday, September 23, 2018
Nicho Meredith’s number one goal as the announcer at the 12-week Adequan® Global Dressage Festival dressage competition series is making spectators, officials and riders comfortable and knowledgeable. In the broadcasting booth with audio/video engineer Don Pye, the two work their magic on all things sound, including moderating music accompaniment to riders competing, working tirelessly during the Friday Night Lights Freestyle evenings, and preparing all the national anthems for the awards ceremonies before all the judges, the owners, the FEI World Ranking riders, sponsors and up to more than 2,500 spectators.
Fluent in six languages and enunciating correctly in eight more languages, Nicho announces in the native accent of the rider, repeating their name in English. Heading into his sixth year at the AGDF, he understands how stressful it can be for a competitor where there are language differences, “It’s important to me,” he explains, “that I make foreign riders and spectators both feel comfortable.” Dressage enthusiasts from the U.S., Canada and foreign countries are familiar with Nicho’s harmonious voice and attribute his broadcasting style to nurturing dressage admirers into a continuing love of the sport.
Becoming a Master of Languages
Native to Great Britain, Nicho was adopted at just ten days old, “My adoptive parents gave me everything I could wish for.” He admitted, “If I was ever to write my autobiography, it would be titled, 'The Luckiest Man I Know.'” He began riding at the age of four and fox hunted with his father, the Field Master, of the Cottesmore Hunt, “I had a great time, spoiled really. In England when hunting, you get chosen to see the fox away. I was always one of the ones who would try to see him away. I had great horses.”
A warm and fun story teller, Nicho shared how he also learned to ride through the United Kingdom’s Pony Club, an organization that educates young people in the highest standards of equestrian achievement in riding, horse care and animal welfare. One year while at the educational summer camp, he was excused because he popped into the girl's tent. The Commissioner, aware that Nicho never really had to groom his own horse because of his familie's ties with the local hunt, passed him his D level due to his highly efficient riding but asked that he not return to the Club for the C levels.
In his mid-teen years, he’d worked to pass his school’s General Certificate of Education’s O-level test that focused on the science field. His disappointment in failing the exam squashed his motivation. Someone gave him a ‘teach yourself Russian’ book and he quickly learned how to read and speak the difficult language, “I was pretty good at it.”
His parents realized he was not destined to be the scientist they had hoped and helped him develop his language acumen by permitting him to enter an exchange program with a French family where their son stayed with his parents and where Nicho stayed with the boy’s parents. In France, he realized not only did he delight in learning the language itself, but he took great pleasure in learning how to properly enunciate every word. “I found that I picked it up unusually quick. Because I’m so nosy and I don’t like not knowing what somebody is saying. It was sort of that which made me want to learn everything I could learn about a language. It really was the curiosity in understanding correctly a language, then learning how to use it. I’m really lucky that each come easy. Then I go on to really learn each accent well. I can mimic the words well. Because I dislike getting things wrong and because I’m a Gemini and math scholar, language is all a part of that mind set.”
Soon, Nicho traveled all over Europe, “I went to school in Europe for five years going to different countries to learn different languages.” He completed his schooling at the University of Salzburg in Austria.
Soon, Nicho entered the British Army where he became skilled at playing polo and was stationed in several countries, including Cyprus, Germany, Northern Ireland and Hong Kong, “I was very fortunate to be able to continue my passion for learning different languages.”
When he was still a teenager, Nicho began announcing at the local horse shows in his native country. His big break came in 1971 with the popular three-day Burghley Horse Trials which led to a 1989 job offer in the United States, “I announced at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.” Nicho is prepared to announce in all disciplines including dressage, show jumping, combined driving, three-day events, steeple chasing, “I used to call the flat races in Aiken.”
Nicho’s extraordinary understanding of so many different languages has enabled him to be an outstanding announcer at different competition locations throughout the United States. He is eager to broadcast at all disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, combined driving, steeple chasing, three-day events and flat races.
RESIDING IN THE U.S.
Residing in Aiken, South Carolina with his longtime girlfriend, dressage rider and trainer Melanie Mitchell, Nicho rides the trails there on Melanie’s retired FEI dressage horse, Romulus. He lives on a 60-acre farm in South Carolina with 25 horses on which he built the barn himself. “When a new horse comes on the property, the moment it settles in to its stall you can see the softening in the eyes. Horses can tell right away that it’s a happy farm. It keeps me busy when I’m there, although I’m more of a carrot-feeding good guy and Melanie’s the chief disciplinarian.”
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (ADGF)
Since the first AGDF in 2012, Nicho has been announcing the series, “I’ve seen a dream come true for Mark Bellissimo. What we have now is what he envisioned. I once announced when Mark was presenting that sometimes we all have dreams and rarely do many of them come true. For Mark, this has come true. He and Michael Stone continue to work tirelessly to promote the sport in this country.” He continued, “This is such a high quality setting and we’re the top quality series in the world, from the footing, the judges and the officials. Each year it evolves into something even more brilliant and it’s amazing to be a part of it all.” Elaborating, Nicho added, “There is such a happy atmosphere here. Some of the top European riders come here and it’s great to have this series be a magnet for quality horses. Dressage is beautiful and the AGDF here in Florida is a perfect place for spectators to learn about the sport.” He asks, “How is it possible not to love it here?”