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It Wasn't Always Smooth, but Gudel Is Primed Now

July 12, 1996

The best female sports anchor in Los Angeles? That would be Prime Sports' Leslie Gudel. Of course, she's the only one.

You examine Gudel's biography and it looks as if it all happened pretty easily.

San Marino High. . . . UCLA. . . . Member of the rowing crew. . . . Worked for father's real estate company. . . . Bought a three-unit apartment building in Glendale. . . . Married a premed student. . . . Did internship at Prime. . . . Went to Pocatello, Idaho, for nine months to get experience. . . . Returned to Prime as a "Press Box" anchor and reporter in January 1995. Gained respect and now, at 30, has it made.

Well, life doesn't go that smoothly. There have been plenty of rough spots along the way for Gudel.

She actually grew up in San Gabriel, near the San Marino border, in a middle-class family, the oldest of three girls.

Gudel wasn't much of a student, barely graduating from high school. She had a 2.1 grade-point average, but she got an F, or the equivalent, in citizenship. The problem was, she didn't go to class.

"I just had no direction in my life," she said. "It wasn't my parents' fault, it was me."

She didn't even graduate with her high school class but eventually got into Pasadena City College.

Things began to turn around there, mainly because of Rachel Parker, the mother of a boyfriend.

"She was working on her PhD in sociology at UCLA at the time, and she is the one who gave me the academic guidance I needed," Gudel said.

Her grades at PCC were good enough for her to get into UCLA. She joined the crew team her second year there.

"That was the most important thing I ever did," Gudel said. "I wasn't a star or anything like that, but this gave me a chance to show everyone that for once I could start something and finish it.

"It taught me about hitting walls, breaking them down and never letting anyone tell you can't do something."

She graduated from UCLA in 1989 at 23. On July 11, 1992, she married her boyfriend of four years, Simon Outhwaite, now a practicing physician, and accompanied him when he went to Washington, D.C., for medical school at George Washington.

Nine months later, the marriage ended.

"We're still good friends," Gudel said. "I called him [Thursday] morning to wish him happy anniversary. It would have been our fourth anniversary."

After the breakup, Gudel returned to Southern California and worked as a real estate broker, making good money.

But she quit that job after doing an internship at Prime to work at a television station in Pocatello for a yearly salary of $14,000.

Then it was back to Prime.

"It's all worked out, mainly because of the help and support of so many," she said. "Glen Walker got me the internship. [Executive Producer] Tom Reilly and Alan Massengale in particular have helped me so much, and my father and stepmother [Al and Jo Gudel] always stood behind me."

Gudel concedes, however, that she has a long way to go and is working hard to improve her voice.

"It's obnoxious," she said. "I've been working with a voice coach. I just wish it wasn't so piercing. When I was living in a dorm at UCLA, people said they could hear me coming all the way down the hall."

These days, though, Gudel is being noticed for other things. Now people see her and say, "Hey, that's the woman from Prime Sports."

*

Recommended viewing: Three Olympic-related shows next week stand out.

The first is HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," which has its debut Monday at 10 p.m. One segment takes a hard look at International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Another is a two-hour Sports Illustrated special on NBC Wednesday at 9 p.m. There are some fascinating stories, among them one about the breakup of the Yugoslav basketball team because of the Serb-Croatian civil war.

"There is another story, one we can't even talk about, that will be a real eye-opener," said Bob Costas, who serves as host of the special.

Locally, Channel 4 has produced a one-hour special on Southern California Olympians that will be shown next Friday at 9:30 p.m., after the opening ceremonies and a half-hour news break.

TV-Radio Notes

NBC will televise the Isuzu celebrity golf tournament from Edgewood in South Lake Tahoe Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon, after ESPN carries today's round at 4:30 p.m. What's different this time is that John Brodie, who plays on the Senior PGA Tour, is being allowed to play. NBC, which used to employ Brodie as a football commentator, never invited him before because he was too good. But the celebrity players have gotten better. In this year's field is boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who carries an 11 handicap. Joel Meyers will anchor the coverage in place of Dick Enberg, who is in Atlanta preparing for the Olympics.

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