Italian for “second,” Leah Secondo's last name is a misnomer—she’s at the top of two professional careers, as a realtor for Michael Saunders & Company and as a sportscaster, and she's no stranger to finishing first.
Secondo began her professional broadcasting career in 1984 at WGGB-TV 40 in Springfield, Massachusetts, becoming the first woman sportscaster hired at a western Massachusetts television station. In 1990, in New Haven, Connecticut, she became the state's first female sportscaster at WTNH-TV 8. She also was a sports freelancer for Sarasota's ABC7 for 15 years in the late '90s.
Now, this year, she’s the first to broadcast three-on-three basketball from Tokyo, a new addition to the Olympics sports lineup. She’ll also broadcast softball and will serve as a sports analyst. Her voice will reverberate around the globe: more than 170 broadcasters will receive the world feed on those sports, including NBC, CBC Canada and Mexico's AMX.
So how did Secondo—an award-winning realtor for Michael Saunders' West Bradenton office—break away amid a red hot real-estate market to head to Tokyo?
It all started seven years ago.
Secondo had hoped to broadcast at the 2012 Olympics in London, but was turned down. However, this March, she received an acceptance email to broadcast in Tokyo.
“I thought my friends were having fun with me since so much time had passed [since 2012],” she says. But when she scrolled down and saw her original application email and resume attached she knew it was real.
After a few Zoom interviews with Olympic Broadcasting Services, based in Madrid, Spain, she was in. “They liked that I've played and announced numerous sports, and that's what made them pursue me," she explains.
Although she says she’s still “pinching herself” that she's in Tokyo, Secondo hasn’t yet been able to dive into the city, where she notes the weather is similar to Bradenton right now. Japanese Covid-19 safety restrictions are stringent, and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the more than 8,000 Olympics broadcasters is still in effect.
“We’ve been regimented from the minute we stepped off the plane," she explains. "I feel very safe, however, and we've all been groomed on what's expected. I typically eat at the broadcast center, which spans about three football fields."
Although showing a house and broadcasting live sports seem like two careers that are worlds apart, Secondo says they share “the competitive aspect of needing to be on top of your game,” she says. “I've been through the financial crash in 2008 with short sales and foreclosures, but I also know how to best serve customers in a seller's market with no inventory.”
Secondo says she's grateful to her Bradenton customers and real estate colleagues who’ve egged her on and are now watching her in Tokyo.
“I'm living the dream. This is my Super Bowl,” she says.