Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery expects ‘crazy drama’
Even when he visualized it, Jon Montgomery never saw himself as host of The Amazing Race Canada. But, on Thursday morning, the Olympic gold medalist best known for chugging a post-victory beer was trotted out at the CTV Upfronts presentation in Toronto to be introduced as just that.
“I always thought I could be on this show with a family member, maybe my wife,” the red-haired, crystal-blue-eyed Montgomery told Postmedia. “It wasn’t anything that I ever set out expecting to do.”
It’s been over three years since the men’s skeleton racer became something of a national icon. His helmet in hand, the Manitoba native strutted down a Vancouver street and into Olympic lore when he guzzled down a pitcher of beer handed to him by a fan after winning gold during the 2010 Vancouver Games.
For a host nation disappointed by a weak showing up to that point, Montgomery became a golden boy fans could not only relate to, but cheer on as one of their own.
“I am basically the dude that ran around with beer,” the now 34-year-old says. “I’m an average Canadian, I like the things average Canadians like, listen to and drink. I was just a fellow that worked hard to accomplish a goal that happened to play out on a world stage so I’m proud at how people perceive me as an Average Joe Canadian, beer-drinking guy because that is what I am.”
Being The Gold Medal Beer Dude allowed Montgomery, a semi-pro for 10 years to become a full-time athlete (he’s currently preparing to defend his title at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia). He also made the occasional foray into broadcast with appearances in support of Red Bull’s extreme sport series, Crushed Ice.
Unbeknownst to Montgomery, when the time came to look for a Canadian host for the inaugural season of The Amazing Race, his name came up.
“I was on tour so what happened behind the scenes I don’t know, but they initially had some thought of me potentially filling this role,” he explains. “To see some idea of what I’d done on camera before a fella in Calgary put together a demo reel while I was away competing and then told me that I had this opportunity to come to Toronto and audition for it.”
Audition passed, the Olympian was given the job and was soon on the road with the cast travelling around the country where eager fans used social networking to track their progress online.
“We did get some attention but people didn’t really know,” the host explains. “If they bothered to ask we’d just tell them we were shooting a travel show.”
With the series already wrapped, Montgomery is now set to return to training for the upcoming Olympic Games.
“I wasn’t thinking about life after sport just yet but it landed in my lap at a perfect opportunity and to have not taken advantage of this opportunity simply because I had training to do for 2014 I think would have been a big mistake on my part,” he says. “Actually the way it worked out, as far as timing is concerned, it couldn’t have been better.”
As for what’s in store when the series premieres July 15 on CTV, the average Canadian says to expect anything but.
“Viewers are going to get crazy drama. What happens on the Canadian show maybe happened once a season on the US [version] but we’re getting it every week at every stop.”