Ce n’est pas possible – c’est un Anglais!
On April 12, 1961, Major Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, orbiting the earth in Vostok 1 at 7,125 mph.
On December 13, 1981, at Val Gardena, Konrad Bartelski missed being the fastest skier on the planet by11 hundredths of a second. Ski Sunday viewers went into orbit. So did the French commentator who shouted: "Ce n’est pas possible – c’est un Anglais!" It can’t be – it’s an Englishman!
Today it’s creative, quality television programming that motivates Konrad Bartelski.
But skiing is still in his blood.
In 1983, after skiing for Britain in three Winter Olympics, he retired from the World Cup circuit. But not from skiing.
He quickly plunged into a new career: as a sports commentator.
Even before his retirement from top-flight skiing, he was doing colour commentary for Ski Sunday, the programme on which he had already become an icon.
He then moved seamlessly to a number of presentation and commentary roles on both TV and radio, including the Ford Ski Report (SKY) Olympic Grandstand, Carlton World Cup Ski Extra, Great Escapes (SKY) , Ski Reports for GLR and Classic FM, and Radio 5 Live’s "Off-piste".
He has written for numerous publications, including The Guardian, Daily Mail, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, The Times, Ski and Board and Fall-Line magazines.
For 10 years he was a director of Badger Sports, a Winter Sports distributor with a £1.25 million turnover.
Bartelski, married to Shauna, with a grown up daughter, Sophie, is also a staunch charity worker: Since 1997 he has been President of Back-Up, a charity for the disabled, including a number of disabled skiers. He is a former Chairman. He is also Chairman of the Selectors of the British Ski and Snowboard Federation, and a fund-raiser for Christies’ British Ski Team Appeal Auction.
He speaks fluent German. And Dutch (Not surprisingly since he was educated in Holland). His French "improves after two glasses of wine".
In the late 1990s he worked for Trans World International (TWI) as an Assistant Producer, working on The Black Run, a BBC Choice Digital wide-screen winter sports holiday entertainment programme, The Open Century, a documentary about the centenary of the Open Golf Championship (presented by Ian Wooldridge), a UCI Grundig World Cup Mountain Bike documentary, and Reflections of Winter – a series of documentaries about the official Olympic Winter Games Films in the 1960s and 1970s. Other projects included documentaries on Billie Jean King, The World of Wimbledon and features for "The Road to Nagano" about the 1998 Winter Olympics.
It was during this pre-Winter Olympic series that Konrad formed a successful relationship with his producer, Jamie Baker. On his very first shoot with Baker in Vail, Colorado, Bartelski interviewed the pain-ridden downhill skier Picabo Street, after she had had her knee re-built in surgery. It was to be one of his most moving interviews. On her hospital bed, in tears of pain, Picabo Street announced to him that she would return to win an Olympic gold medal.
A year later Bartelski and Baker would be in Nagano to see her achieve this incredible feat. Bartelski was by now filing features back for the Channel 4 weekly programme Trans World Sport.
Between 1999 and 2001, Bartelski concentrated on golf features, getting a Laureaus Sports award for the coverage of a celebrity golf day.
In April 2001, Konrad worked as a producer at Octagon CSI, working on numerous projects from high speed Touring Car Championships to the rather slower FIDE Chess Grand Prix.
In 2003 he was to be reunited with Jamie Baker, who invited him to join a new TV Channel called ESPN Classic Sport, broadcasting in France and Italy. In his first year Bartelski made a major impact as a channel producer and he has been promoted to the title of "Head of In-House Production". Bartelski is now in his element, playing an expansive role in the development of ESPN’s brand in Europe, and, he hopes, soon, the UK.
But while television has become his new passion, Bartelski’s great love remains the mountains and his skis. He is a regular star – and race coach – at the annual Swiss International Air Lines City Ski Championships in association with Momentum Ski at Courmayeur, Italy.
During recent winters, he has worked as a co-commentator for Channel 4’s World Cup coverage, and also organises regular skiing adventures in the Alps. Bartelski and his skis are still very much an item!