Five-ring Circus

We Rank the Todds!

NBC’s Todd Harris and Todd Richards, ranked.

12 Jan 2002:  Todd Richards of Encinitas, California, USA, soars in the halfpipe during the qualifying round of the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colorado.   DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Todd Richards used to be a professional snowboarder. Does that make him the best Todd??? Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Olympic snowboarding events are over now, and I, for one, am sad to see them go. I spent a lot of time watching snowboarding over the past couple weeks, which means I spent a lot of time in the virtual company of two men named Todd. NBC’s snowboarding coverage in Pyeongchang was anchored by Todd Harris and Todd Richards. Todd Harris does play by play. Todd Richards does color commentary. They’re both good commentators—as Vulture’s Jen Chaney recently noted, they’ve got a very good sense of when to explain the action and when to let it speak for itself—and they’re both totally Todd. But which Todd is the best Todd? Don’t worry—I’ve got a system for this.


Value added:


Todd Harris: As a longtime professional sportscaster, Harris knows his way around a broadcast booth.

Todd Richards: As a longtime professional snowboarder, Richards knows his way around a halfpipe.

Verdict: Harris is a good broadcaster, but there are probably a thousand broadcasters who could step in and take his place. As everyone who watched Bode Miller’s awful Alpine skiing commentary this year knows, it’s a lot harder to find ex-athletes who are good on the air. Advantage: Richards!


Todd Harris: Harris isn’t there for insight; he’s there to keep the broadcast on track. He summarized the men’s halfpipe event like this: “Across the board, maybe the heaviest contest we’ve ever seen.” This is true, but it’s also something I could have said.


Todd Richards: Richards is very good at putting the various events into perspective, and he’s not afraid to criticize the judges if he feels they deserve it. Here he is after American snowboarder Kelly Clark earned a surprisingly low score on her final run in the women’s halfpipe: “I’ve seen every run come down this thing. I know what these riders need to do. But for some reason, the judges don’t want to reward Kelly. These bottom two hits, the amount of style, the amount of execution on those? Never mind the 1080 and the combo on top. I am baffled.”


Verdict: Richards knows his stuff. Advantage: Richards!


Todd Harris: Harris shines in this area, as you would expect from a professional broadcaster. When Lindsey Jacobellis yet again failed to medal in snowboard cross, Harris summarized the outcome thusly: “For Lindsey Jacobellis, the fourth time is not the charm.” Good stuff, Todd Harris!


Todd Richards: While announcing the men’s big air competition the other day, he compared American snowboarder Chris Corning to a “human Cuisinart.”


Verdict: “Human Cuisinart” is a confusing visual image. Advantage: Harris!


Todd Harris: Harris also announces freestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics, track and field at the Summer Games, and a slew of other sports the rest of the year.

Todd Richards: Richards once made a series of snowboarding videos for Quiksilver called “Todcast Tuesdays.”

Verdict: Richards gets docked points for not also making Todcasts for the other days of the week. Advantage: Harris!

Celebrity cred:

Todd Harris: Was once photographed with Snoop Dogg.

Todd Richards: Was once photographed with his son at the “Activision Stand Up for Skate Parks” event at Tony Hawk’s house.


Verdict: Todd Richards’ son seems cool, but I think even Richards would agree that his son is no Snoop Dogg. Advantage: Harris!


Life accomplishments:

Todd Harris: Announced the World’s Strongest Man contest and appears on an online list of famous Mormons.

Todd Richards: Competed in snowboarding at the 1998 Olympics and medaled seven times at the Winter X Games.

Verdict: Talk to me when you win the World’s Strongest Man contest, Todd Harris. Advantage: Richards!


Todd Harris: Harris is definitely a Todd, but he could also be a Brian or a Kevin or a Brant.

Todd Richards: No other name would do for Richards. This guy is 100 percent Todd.

Verdict: 100 percent Todd beats 75 percent Todd. Advantage: Richards!

Final rankings:

Gold: Todd Richards (4 points)

Silver: Todd Harris (3 points)

Bronze: Tie between all other Todds (0 points)

Congratulations, Todd Richards!

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Get to Know a New Olympic Event: Big Air Snowboarding

Kyle Mack Won Big Air Silver With a “Bloody Dracula.” What’s a Bloody Dracula?

Olympics Jerk Watch: the Sporteaucrats Who Risked Snowboarders’ Lives