Five from WA join team bringing thrills from London
Nine's Olympic comentary team for London 2012 Ken Sutcliffe, Mark Nicholas, Cameron Williams (rear), Leila McKinnon, Karl Stefanovic.

You could almost have heard the cheers from space when Nine's journalists learnt their network had landed the rights to the London 2012 Olympics.

"It's just so exciting," Weekend Today host Leila McKinnon said by phone from the Sydney International airport minutes before leaving for London.

Seven has held the broadcast rights to the previous five Olympics and this year McKinnon is part of a team of about 100 presenters from across the nation descending on London to cover the global sporting event

McKinnon, Ken Sutcliffe, Karl Stefanovic, Mark Nicholas and Cameron Williams will lead Nine's daily broadcast, backed by expert sporting commentators. Ben Fordham and Alicia Loxley will present regular updates.

The 39-year-old McKinnon will present with Williams each morning from 4 to 7 as well as co-host the opening and closing ceremonies with Eddie McGuire and Sutcliffe.

It's been a gig McKinnon has been working towards for more than five years.

"I've had the ideal progression from reading the news during the Commonwealth Games to co-hosting the winter Games to summer Games in London," she said.

And it has come just in the nick of time for McKinnon, who is due to give birth in October to her first child with Nine chief executive David Gyngell.

"I'll just make it home," she said. "Every specialist or doctor I went to I checked and I had a big sigh of relief when they all said it's fine to fly then."

Also champing at the bit to get to the Games is Nine Perth sports commentator Mark Readings. He is one of the five WA-based commentators and will be joined in the gymnastics commentary box by Liz Chetkovich. Rechelle Hawkes and David Christison will also fly the flag for WA, calling the hockey, while Michael Thomson returns to Nine to commentate the wrestling.

"There's a nice little Perth crew going over," Readings said.

Readings, having never commentated on gymnastics before, has spent the past few months studying the sport with the help of Chetkovich.

While he won't have expert knowledge to rely on, it's the human aspect of the games he hopes to bring into people's lounge rooms.

"Of all these reality TV shows that are on right now, this is the best reality TV," he said. "These are people's lives that they've dedicated. They put their heart and soul into it."

The West Australian

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