Tag Archives: Olympics

A fond farewell to the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics have begun their slow fade into history, and I offer here limited and selective observations. I stress limited and selective because that’s what my experience was with the 2010 Vancouver games. When NBC decided to delay virtually everything to us Americans on the West Coast, I wrote off watching most of the events.

If I couldn’t watch live, I wouldn’t watch.

Had I the scratch, I’d have flown or driven to Vancouver and tried to sit among the hockey- and curling-crazed Canadians, such as this puck-hatted lass.

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So outside of a few minutes of watching some skiing on a Saturday afternoon and the gold medal hockey game on Sunday, I watched nothing on NBC. Not a minute of speedskating or luge or bobsled. None of the tape-delayed dude-in-sweater-by-fireplace chit chat. Not one of the sappy I’m-doing-this-for-my-deformed-brother-in-law profiles.

I did catch parts of several hockey games on NBC’s cable cousin, MSNBC, but I went more often to the Web for live coverage.

I watched a little of one of the Czech games on what may have been a Japanese or Estonian site (seriously, I cannot remember) and I even swallowed down the bile a couple of times to check in on the NBC Web site.

The Web experience was generally excellent, comparable to television but better. I could sneak off to another browser window and research an answer to a question, fire off a tweet on what I was seeing or do whatever else sparked the interest of my short attention span.

The future — the present, actually — of live coverage is on the Web.

God help us if NBC has the contract to broadcast the next set of games from London in 2012.


The beauty of the Olympics, in photos

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The Olympics, summer or winter, are among the most fantastic events for photos. The settings are beautiful, culturally rich cities in foreign lands, and the competitors are dressed in their national colors. The events themselves are full of motion and emotion, an unbeatable combination.

I remember being awestruck as the first digital color pictures were transmitted from Albertville, France, in 1992. I was Associated Press bureau chief in Seattle, and I went back into the photo department to check the images as they streamed into our LeafDesk photo computer. The images were stunning in their color and clarity.

Digital imaging has revolutionized photography. Just as the availability of mass-made Kodaks turned millions of people into shutterbugs at the beginning of the 20th century, the mass availability of digital cameras has transformed our world in the early 21st century.

Today’s earthquake in Chile is a prime example, as thousands of images are pouring onto the Internet showing the destruction from that mighty quake.

I’ve posted above a Getty Images shot of the USA bobsled team racing down the course in Vancouver the other day. It’s just one of many sensational images emanating from the winter games, ample proof of the magnificent gift to the world that is digital photography.

USA hockey team shocks Canada

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Yes, the costume  mountie hat above is a lot classier than the silly red, white and blue topper the American is wearing.

But what matters is the final score: USA 5, Canada 3.


As I’ve noted before, I’m a big fan of Martin Brodeur. But he had an off night tonight against the Americans, letting in a first-minute goal and three more. To add to Canada’s frustrating loss, Team USA slipped in an open-net goal after Brodeur had skated off as the Canadians desperately tried to take the game into overtime.

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Of this night, Ryan Miller will always be able to note proudly that he outplayed one of hockey’s legendary goalies. And he added his own chapter to the legends of American Olympic hockey.

The grand sport of curling, and a hat for those who love it

For a brief few days every four years, Americans are reminded that the wacky sport of curling can bring the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. If it weren’t for the Winter Olympics, most Americans wouldn’t even know the sport exists, except for the hardy few in the upper Midwest and other cold-weather states who play the game.

I’m relatively familiar with curling by virtue of getting Canadian network television on our cable system when we lived in Seattle. Although I can’t say I was a regular viewer, on several weekends of constant rain I beat the gloom by watching curling matches from Canada. 

For us baseball- and football-crazed Americans, curling is such an odd sport. It’s slow, plodding (OK, baseball critics, point taken) and played by portly guys who likely spend their summers on beer-league softball teams.

With some amusement, I followed an ad on Facebook this morning to curlinghats.com, which offers curling hats in red, yellow and blue. I don’t quite have the funds at the moment, but eventually I’ll have to get one of these, if only to serve as a companion to my Wisconsin cheese head.

No standout caps at the Olympics, at least so far

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I was so irritated with NBC’s delay of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics from Vancouver that I didn’t bother to watch. But I felt it my duty to look for the top caps worn by the athletes. So I cruised through the scores of opening ceremony photos on picapp.com this morning to see if any of the teams’ tuques caught my fancy. My search wasn’t exhaustive, and I didn’t find any particular hat that knocked me out.

So here’s a salute to the RCMP with their wide-brimmed hats, shown as an honor guard brings the Canadian flag into the arena.

p.s.: I’ve really grown to appreciate the service picapp provides here on WordPress. What a wonderful assortment of images we have to choose from for our blogs, all without worry of copyright infringement.

Sacramento NBC affiliate gets a tin medal for delaying opening Olympics ceremony

With the Winter Olympics taking place in Pacific time, we residents of the West Coast could at last look forward to television coverage in real time. So it was with astonishment and incredulity I learned this evening that the Sacramento NBC affiliate, KCRA TV, would delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies from Vancouver.

I left work around 6 p.m. and phoned one of my brothers who lives in Eastern time. He couldn’t be disturbed as he had settled in to watch the ceremony, which was about to begin. Once I got home I started checking Twitter and began reading comments about what people were seeing.

But on Channel 3 from Sacramento, we were stuck with the usual nightly newscast followed – unspeakably – at 7 p.m. by an inane live broadcast from Squaw Valley where the games had been held 50 years before. The station kept running ads over and over about how the ceremony would begin at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time — an outright lie. But that’s when KCRA decided to begin the broadcast.

In a huff, I fired off a number of tweets and let my displeasure be known on my Facebook status. I called the station and left a message of complaint. Finally, around 8 o’clock, I switched on KCRA to watch the ceremony.

What did I get?

Bob Costas and Matt Lauer prattling on about how magnificent the Beijing opening ceremony was two years ago, and somebody interviewing American snowboarder Shaun White. Then I learned that in “about half an hour” the athletes would be coming in to B.C. Place for the ceremony.

As we used to say in New Jersey, un-frickin’-believable.

In a world in which millions of people are connected instantaneously by live chat, by streaming video, by intercontinental telephone service, it is unconscionable for a network affiliate to delay a broadcast — especially when it’s happening in the same time zone.

Pretty cool Canadian Olympic cap, eh?

As the whole world watches the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, I couldn’t help but trot out one of my most unusual caps. This is a Canadian Olympic team cap from the 2000 summer games in Sidney.

The photo hardly does justice to the cap, one of the most unusual and stylish in my collection. The crown is shallow, and the bill is so tightly wrapped that its underside is springy to the touch. The Olympic logo is on the right side, and on the left is the brand mark for the Canadian fashion house Roots.

So why am I displaying this Canadian cap on an American flag? This cap was given to me by my good friend Scott White of The Canadian Press. The photo honors our cross-border friendship — and that’s right in keeping with the Olympic spirit.