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In Praise of the CBC

February 9, 2014 Leave a comment

cbcolympics

The Winter Olympics are here. And, thank god, Canada’s CBC is broadcasting them. No need to wait for NBC’s evening tape-delayed evening prime time coverage. No need to have events broken into little pieces to allow for frequent ad breaks. The CBC shows events live, as is.

I came to appreciate their coverage years ago. To my dismay, the CBC didn’t have the contract for the 2010 Winter Olympics. As I wrote four years ago,

Yes, NBC’s coverage is inane. But it’s always inane. Why would this time be different? One reason might be that with each passing Olympics, availability of information increases, so their penchant for tape delaying and dramatizing gets sillier and sillier. The real problem for us, though, is that our usual antidote to NBC is gone. When we got sick of it, we would just switch to CBC. We’d get to see the major events live. We’d get a little less drama, though they did follow the NBCs script (or, really, Roone Arledge’s ABC script from long ago, to give credit where it’s due) of up close and personal background stories. Alas, the CBC did not win the contract for Canadian television coverage for this Olympics. Cable network TSN did, and they’re not available as part of our cable package. We are reduced to watching on NBC or not watching at all.

What a relief that they have the coverage this year.

I had ignored the buildup last week, so I hadn’t even thought about how we would follow events. We were out at a dinner Friday night, so Gail set the DVR to record NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremonies. Last night I began to worry about how I would watch today’s men’s downhill, one of (to my mind) the two signature events of the Olympics along with its women’s counterpart. I checked the schedule for today’s events and saw that it was the first one, starting at just a couple of hours later at 11:00 PM local time here. Waiting for tonight’s NBC coverage was unimaginable.

That’s when I remembered to check the CBC website for their schedule. There it was, the downhill, due to be shown live from 11:00 PM to 1:30 AM Pacific Standard Time. I could even watch it as it happened, if I could stay awake. Or record it and watch first thing this morning.

We turned on the pre-race coverage last night, but couldn’t stay awake. This morning, I dared not open my iPad and look at any news. Downstairs I went, turning on the TV and watching the recording straight through. Perfect.

My pal Russ is up at Whistler now. (A little quieter than four years ago, when Ollympic skiing took place outside his door.) I wrote last night to share my excitement about watching the downhill. He responded, “the Canadian coverage is extraordinary. Starting with the opening ceremonies commercial free and live.”

Darn, why didn’t we think to record the opening ceremonies on CBC rather than NBC? I better check tomorrow’s schedule and figure out what essential events to record overnight.

My one complaint: why did the IOC schedule the Winter Olympics at the same time as Westminster? I have dogs to watch tomorrow and Tuesday. A Wednesday start would have been better.

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Categories: Skiing, Sports

Lindsey the Great

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

A lot happened in sports today. To name a few, Rafa Nadal beat Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro to bring Spain their their David Cup in four years; Tiger Woods won a tournament for the first time in over two years (though not a regular tour event, and with a field limited to 16 players); the BCS college football bowl pairings were announced; the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants on a game-ending field goal to win their twelfth game of the season against no losses. But what seized my imagination was Lindsey Vonn’s third win in three days at Lake Louise.

Just three days after announcing that she and her husband Thomas are divorcing, Vonn won Friday’s downhill by the huge margin of 1.95 seconds over Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather. Yesterday, she won another downhill, this time by 1.65 seconds over Marie Marchand-Arvier of France. And today, in the super-G, she completed the weekend sweep, edging the Austrian Anna Fenninger by just 0.19 seconds. (See video above.)

The three wins bring her career total to 45, moving her ahead of Swedish great Anja Pärson to fourth all alone in career World Cup victories, one behind Austrian Renata Götschl. At age 27, she has plenty of time to close the gap on Swiss Vreni Schneider (55 victories) and Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll (62 victories).

Regular readers know that skiing is normally not part of Ron’s View’s bailiwick. Indeed, when I started this post, I looked through the Ron’s View categories, anticipating that I would have to add a new one. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that skiing was there already. On further investigation, I find that I have put only one post in the Skiing category. And guess who it’s about? Yes, Lindsey Vonn, whom I wrote about just last December. I’m a bit embarrassed that I didn’t remember this.

It’s a mystery to me why she isn’t getting more attention. Well, I don’t mean to be naive. I know women in sports are never going to get much coverage, especially during such a crucial football-filled weekend. I could write at length about the terrible hole that women’s golf has fallen into, with fewer and fewer events, more and more of them played in Asia, and less and less live coverage. Plus, when it comes to skiing, or track and field, or swimming and the other “Olympic” sports, one can’t expect coverage in non-Olympic years. That’s just the way it is.

But still. Lindsey’s special. Let’s see more of her.

Categories: Skiing

In Praise of Lindsey Vonn

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

At Val d'Isère

[Enrico Schiavi, Associated Press]

I don’t often watch skiing on TV. I like it and all, but it’s not exactly the perfectly designed competition for TV viewing pleasure. Nor is it broadcast at any regular, predictable time. Or live. And let’s not even get started on the madness of not being able to see the glamour events of a Winter Olympics live. Every so often, though, I stumble on the tape-delayed broadcast of a World Cup race and I pause to watch.

Saturday was such a day. I got on the treadmill, turned on the TV, and found that it was tuned to the CBC, on which I had been watching a hockey game a couple of days before. In place of hockey, I had stumbled on coverage of the women’s downhill from Val d’Isère. And what perfect timing. We were in the middle of Swiss skier Nadja Kamer’s run. She would finish in 1′ 52.10″ to take the lead. She was immediately followed by young Swiss skiing sensation (I couldn’t resist the alliteration) Laura Gut, who in the 2009 World Championships two seasons ago had taken silver in both downhill and super-combined. This at the age of 17, and at Val d’Isère. Gut skied well, but couldn’t overtake Kamer, taking over second place just .12 seconds behind.

And then we waited for Lindsey Vonn, as assorted other women took their shots but couldn’t displace the Swiss duo. This, of course, is part of the problem of watching skiing on TV. Since it’s tape-delayed, you see a few runs, then break for ads, then a few more, then more ads, losing any feel for the rhythm of the competition. Rhythm or not, I was hooked. I wasn’t going to stop watching until I got to see Lindsey.

She was worth it. She had a breathtaking run, seemingly flawless (what do I know?), finishing in 1′ 51.42″ to take the lead by .68 seconds. And that’s how it ended, with Vonn, Kamer, and Gut taking the top three spots and arch-rival Maria Riesch over 2 seconds behind Vonn in 24th.

A day later, Vonn would win the super-combined to take over the World Cup overall standings and be named the AP female athlete of the year. Regarding the weekend, she explained:

First of all, I’m really honored to win the Associated Press female athlete of the year award. I feel so lucky to be the first skier to win it, male or female. It’s just been a great year. To win the Olympic gold medal and now this, it just reaffirms dreams can come true if you keep working hard.

I won both of my races over the weekend, and Ted Ligety won a giant slalom on Sunday in Alta Badia, Italy. It’s so cool that we both won on the same day. He took the overall lead, as I did. It was a great day for American skiing. I watched Ted’s second run, and he’s skiing so well right now, it’s amazing to watch him.

I was really happy with Saturday’s downhill. I made a really big mistake at the top of the course, but was able to make up the time at the bottom.

In the super-combined on Sunday, conditions were really bad for later numbers (in the start order), but I tried to make the best of it. The super-G wasn’t a perfect run, but it was solid and I won it, giving me a good chance in the slalom.

In the slalom I skied a little bit conservatively on the top, because it was getting somewhat rutty in soft snow conditions. But on the bottom I let it go and was able to make up some time.

I chose a good day to watch skiing.

Categories: Skiing, Television