Photos: (Top) Ferdinand in the white sunglasses rowing for Temple University. (Second) Ferdinand announcing the 2012 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta on ESPN 3. (Third) Ferdinand shaking hands with his coach, Dr. Gavin White. (Fourth) Celebrating a win with teammates.
(Part of an informal blog series on the people who make Sonic Foundry tick. See more stories here.)
This weekend is the 75th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate rowing event in the world. In addition to the more than 4,000 athletes attending from 129 schools, there will scores of spectators and several sportscasters – some professional, others… well…
“Am I nervous? Last year, yes. But as soon as they said, ‘We’re going live’ it all disappeared because you start talking,” said Ferdinand Bergen, a sales engineer who’s been with Sonic Foundry for four years.
Ferdinand will be commentating the regatta for the second year in a row, invited back to sit alongside Ducis Rodgers, sports director of Channel 6 Action News, the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia. A rower for 26 years, Ferdinand’s job tomorrow will be providing color and analysis of the event, which will be streamed live on ESPN 3.
“We’ll talk about what comprises a successful crew. We’ll talk about the impact of the weather, the wind, how fast the river is moving. We teach everyone how the sport goes. I was a successful rower and a successful coach, so I’m very comfortable talking about the sport in all levels,” he said.
Rowing is literally in his blood. His parents were both rowers and met through the sport. He rowed in high school and college, and his wife was the captain of the women’s rowing team at Temple. Since his parents have deep roots in the rowing community, his mother has had the honor of presenting Ferdinand with every medal he’s ever won in Philadelphia.
Speaking of medals, it should be noted that Ferdinand has a special relationship not only with the sport, but also with this race. He’s won the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta four times in two classes, and still holds the course record for fastest final time in 2001.
“I get a little misty when I watch the races because I don’t really row anymore,” Ferdinand said. “I get nostalgic because it meant so much to me growing up. It’s really neat to share the sport with a lot of different people over the interwebs as well as in the Philadelphia area.”