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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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June 30, 2008 8:34 PM

Omaha goes disco

Posted by Ron Judd

What's with all the black lights and lasers in that Olympic Trials temporary swimatorium in Omaha? When they do the awards ceremonies, the place looks like it's gearing up for a George Michael concert.

A friend of ours who is there says she is wearing her Foghat black light T-shirt in the media section tomorrow night.

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June 30, 2008 6:38 PM

Swim Trials: Hoelzer lays down smoking time; Kirk/Jendrick rematch looms

Posted by Ron Judd

Margaret Hoelzer, of King Aquatics by way of Huntsville, Ala., laid down a smoking time in the 100 backstroke semis today. Matching event goddess -- and world-record holder -- Natalie Coughlin stroke for stroke, Hoelzer posted a 59.73, just .05 off of Coughlin's pace. Both will race in tomorrow night's final against Hayley McGregory, who briefly snatched Coughlin's world record in the race this morning with a 59.15, before Coughlin emerged in the very next heat and set a new one, at 59.03.

In the 100 breast, a rematch tomorrow night between childhood swimming partners and current rivals Megan Quann Jendrick, of Tacoma, and Tara Kirk, of Bremerton, is shaping up. Jendrick dominated her semifinal heat and enters the final with a top time of 1:07.06. Kirk's best time entering the final is 1:07.19.
See our story here.

Jendrick, the two-time gold medalist at Sydney in 2000, was bumped from the Athens Olympic squad by Kirk, who edged her by eleven-hundredths of a second at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Long Beach. It's been a long road back for Jendrick, and if she makes the team, it's a great story.

Alas, the odds that both local swimmers will make the Athens make squad in this event (they'll also both swim the 200 meters) are not great. Only the top two finishers go, and the competition will be fierce. Leading the pack into the finals are American record holder Jessica Hardy, who quietly qualified at 1:08.17 (but swam 1:06.85 in an earlier heat) and Rebecca Soni, who swam 1:06.87. Kirk, Soni and Jendrick will swim in lanes 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Finals coverage that includes this race begins at 5 p.m. PT on USA Network.

Nothing was going right, meanwhile, for Tara's younger sister, Dana, who announced her retirement after a disappointing showing in the 100 fly. In Athens four years ago, Dana and Tara were the first sisters to swim in an Olympics for the U.S.

The complete swimming schedule from Omaha can be found here.

And live results and start sheets are found here.

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June 28, 2008 12:55 AM

Ahem: NBC doesn't know when it's broadcasting its own coverage

Posted by Ron Judd

Important notice regarding the Olympic Trials TV schedule posted below: Don't trust it. It occurred to us tonight, tuning in at midnight to watch the Track and Field Trials coverage advertised on the schedule, and seeing only an Ashley Judd movie -- not that there's anything wrong with that, itself -- that perhaps the schedule is wrong.

Further examination reveals that the network officials who provided the schedule -- and who we questioned multiple times about the accuracy of the "ET/PT" designation, and were assured it was correct -- apparently do not, in fact, know what time the network's coverage will actually run on the West Coast.

Our suspicion, based on TV-grid sleuthing, is that if you take all the times for USA Network programming on the schedule below and subtract three hours, you'll have the correct West Coast broadcast time. (UPDATE: Thanks to reader Aaron who saw USA's coverage at 9 p.m. Sunday night and confirms this is in fact the case.) But the NBC programming apparently will be shown on the West Coast at the times indicated, meaning it's delayed three hours.

So, sorry, and stay tuned. We'll clear it up as soon as we can find someone at NBC who can tell us exactly what's on its networks, and when.

Meanwhile, all we can offer is the proverbial "check your local listings" for USA and NBC. And point you to Steve Kelley's coverage here. He's on the ground and actually knows what time the meet itself is running.

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June 27, 2008 4:41 PM

Today's non-news event

Posted by Ron Judd

The entire 11-member Bulgarian weightlifting team has been bounced from the Beijing Games for doping infractions.

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June 27, 2008 11:25 AM

A Trials update from NBC

Posted by Ron Judd

An NBC spokesman now tells us that the track and field and swimming trials coverage on the Web site nbcolympics.com will "mirror" the East Coast version of NBC's TV coverage of those events, not the Pacific Time version. (See item below). Hence, some Trials action -- all of it that is shown on live TV on the East Coast -- will be shown live on nbcolympics.com, via the Internet. To find the live coverage, do the math: If NBC is showing swimming at 8 p.m. Eastern time, look for it at 5 p.m. Pacific time on nbcolympics.com. In other words, you can beat the three-hour delay if you're willing to watch on the Internet.

Also, the network says it will, indeed, stream many hours of live Beijing coverage on nbcolympics.com once the Games begin. That schedule will be released sometime next week. We'll post it when we get it.

Still no live coverage of the Trials on TV for West Coast viewers. But we'll credit NBC for at least making some Trials coverage available live online for the true junkies out there. It's the least they can do, and they're doing that.

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June 26, 2008 2:30 PM

NBC, firmly on the cutting edge, readies delayed coverage for irrelevant West Coast

Posted by Ron Judd

We know what you're thinking: New era, new technology, new delivery systems. Finally, the Olympic Games will arrive at home in something close to real time.

Response from NBC: As if!

All these years, all those complaints, all those billions, and the programming geniuses at NBC/Universal, or whatever they call themselves these days, still don't get it.

The peacock network released its schedule today for the big U.S. Olympic swimming and track-and-field trials, and one thing stands out: West Coast viewers, as usual, will get nothing live from NBC. Not a dip-in update, not a taste of same-time coverage. Nothing.

And, although TV grids with exact programming won't be available until next week, it looks like the very same thing is planned for television coverage of the Beijing Games themselves, with the possible exception of some yet-undefined, live Internet streaming.

Here's what's on tap for the next week, which, we fear, will be an omen for the Aug. 8-24 Games:

The network will reduce the U.S. track and field trials in Eugene to a late-night highlight show, with midnight to 1 a.m. coverage on weekdays. Hour-long weekend summary shows will air at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday, on both the East and West Coasts. That means every second of NBC's coverage will be delayed to the West Coast -- in spite of the fact that the event is occurring on the West Coast. Even on weekends.

Swimming trials in Omaha? Same scenario. Beginning Sunday, NBC will crank out an hour-long show every night at 8 p.m. (Sunday's coverage is on NBC; it then switches to USA Network Monday through Thursday before moving back to NBC for next Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.)

None of this is surprising, given NBC's long tradition -- contrary to network coverage in other civilized parts of the world -- of turning Olympic sports into repackaged schlock, spoon fed to the masses when the network darn well pleases. But it's even more amazing in this era of full-time, realtime coverage. Does NBC not get that it's 2008?

Even worse, the network is doing it all by choice, not necessity. NBC, which owns Olympic sport coverage in the U.S. lock, stock and smoking barrel, is taking an entire arsenal of high-tech, cutting-edge technology and effectively rendering it useless through its own institutional bassackwardness. Consider the following glimpse into NBC's new broadcasting toolbox, and how they'll utilize each tool for the Olympic Trials:

-- The network has a new deal with the former Internet sports channel, WCSN.com (now "Universal Sports"), which made a name for itself by broadcasting Olympic sports, such as ski racing, live when they were not available live through any other medium in the states. NBC will use this cutting-edge, instant-broadcast capability to -- drumroll please -- "air encore presentations" (translation: even-further-delayed reruns) of NBC coverage of Olympic track and swimming trials. Why? The network did utilize this new online toy to show some live, early-round coverage of trials for gymnastics and diving -- stuff we don't normally see on TV. That's the right idea. So why not the big-ticket items, track and field and swimming?

-- NBC's flashy Olympic-sports Web site, nbcolympics.com, will "simulcast" the NBC and USA Network coverage of the trials for swimming and track and field. Yeah, that's how you want to take advantage of the real-time capabilities of the Web -- for mirroring delayed, canned coverage your viewers can sit and watch at the same time in their living room on cable. This should prove highly popular among at least one elite target audience -- Michael Phelps fans stuck in the drive through at Taco Time for seven hours with nothing on hand but an iPhone.

-- Speaking of which: The latest gadgetry, "NBC Olympics Mobile," will offer "comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials for users on the go," the network says in a release. Offered will be "news, schedules, and slideshow galleries from the trials," as well as "highlights and exclusive feature videos on-demand to mobile video users."

And there you have it: If you do get anything live from NBC from Eugene or Omaha in the next week, it will come to you in full, living, 1.5-inch (measured diagonally) stunning cell-phone color.

As we mentioned, the grids for the network's Beijing coverage itself are still in the works. But West Coasties should be prepared for more of the same -- the vast majority of Olympic events delayed by 12-15 hours, for prime-time packaging. No question the time difference in play here -- Beijing is 12 hours ahead of New York, 15 hours ahead of Seattle -- makes live coverage challenging. Games organizers have, in fact, shifted some schedules around to help: Swimming finals, for example, will take place in the mornings in Beijing, giving NBC the chance to show them live in prime time in New York. Some gymnastics and beach volleyball likewise will be live-coverage candidates. But even that coverage likely will be delayed three hours to Seattle, if the network insists on its usual prime-time packaging approach.

It's the usual East Coast-centric mindset: Viewers in New York and Philadelphia and MIami deserve to see it live. L.A., Seattle, Portland? Let them wait.

One small glimmer of hope for people with fast broadband connections: The network is promising "live streaming Olympic broadband coverage, 2,200 hours in all," from Beijing. No details yet. And no promises of any live Beijing coverage on the new all-Olympic-sport TV network NBC is supposed to be building to supplement the Universal Sports online streams.

All told, the network is promising some 3,600 hours of Beijing TV coverage -- which it claims is more than the combined total coverage hours of all previous Summer Olympics broadcast in the U.S.

But our point remains the same: Pre-packaged, time-delayed schlock spread across multiple platforms is still pre-packaged, time-delayed schlock. We don't care if it arrives via satellite, cell phone, broadband or pony express: By the time we get it, it'll still be yesterday's news. (And believe me, we hear in the newspaper business know something about yesterday's news.)

Being around around the Olympics for the past decade, we have heard one message loud and clear from the Games-viewing public: People want it live. They care not whether it interrupts the nightly blonde hairflip intro to the Dopper weather map on the 5 p.m. local news, soap operas, or even Oprah. (Isn't this why networks use an alternate network, such as USA, in the first place? Because live coverage would only supplant reruns of "Matlock?")

So once again we're left wondering: What part of this does NBC fail to understand?

The sad thing is, because NBC has wrapped up broadcast rights for everything that even smells Olympic -- down to the level of police-state monitoring of non-NBC reporters who might dare bring a web camera onto the pool deck, or into an interview room, at this year's track and swimming trials -- nobody else broadcasting on the Internet or elsewhere can make up for the network's own programming stupidity.

It's a monopoly. There will be no revolution. And even if there was, you wouldn't know about it from NBC until 15 hours after it was over.

The full NBC/USA schedule for swimming and track and field is reprinted here, for your tape-delayed viewing pleasure:

U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS - SWIMMING: Michael Phelps, Aaron Piersol, Katie
Hoff, Kate Ziegler, Dara Torres, Brendan Hansen and Natalie Coughlin are
among the swimmers who take to the pool in Omaha, Neb., as they seek a
spot on the U.S. Olympic team as NBC Sports and USA Network present
eight straight primetime nights of the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming.
Phelps is attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games in nine individual
events: 100, 200 and 400 meters freestyle, the 200 and 400 individual
medley, the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 100 and 200 butterfly.

Bob Costas, Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines and Andrea Kremer report from the
Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.

Sun., June 29
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Men's 400m Individual Medley Final
Women's 400m Individual Medley Final

Mon., June 30
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 200m Freestyle Semifinal
Men's 100m Breaststroke Final
Men's 100m Backstroke Semifinal
Women's 400m Freestyle Final

Tues., July 1
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 200m Freestyle Final
Women's 100m Backstroke Final
Men's 100m Backstroke Final
Men's 200m Butterfly Semifinal

Wed., July 2
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 200m Butterfly Final
Men's 200m Breaststroke Semifinal
Women's 200m Individual Medley Final

Thurs., July 3
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 200m Breaststroke Final
Women's 100m Freestyle Semifinal
Men's 200m Backstroke Semifinal

Fri., July 4
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Men's 200m Backstroke Final
Men's 200m Individual Medley Final
Women's 100m Freestyle Final

Sat., July 5
Swimming
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Men's 100m Butterfly Final
Women's 800m Freestyle Final
Men's 50m Freestyle Final

Sun., July 6
Swimming
7-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Women's 50m Freestyle Final
Men's 1,500m Freestyle Final

U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS - TRACK & FIELD:
Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Jeremy Wariner, Bernard Lagat, Reese Hoffa,
Sanya Richards and Lauryn Williams are among the top competitors at the
historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon looking to earn a
trip to Beijing to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games. Tom
Hammond, Carol Lewis, Lewis Johnson, Ato Boldon, Dwight Stones, Ed
Eyestone and Bob Neumeier report from Eugene, Ore.

Fri., June 27
Track & Field
Midnight-1a.m.ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Women's 10,000m Final
Women's 100m Quarterfinal

Sat., June 28
Track & Field
8-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Women's 100m Final
Men's Shot Put
Men's 100m Quarterfinal

Sun., June 29
Track & Field
7-8 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Men's 100m Final
Men's 400m Hurdle Final
Woman's 400m Hurdle Final
Men's 400m Quarterfinal
Men's Pole Vault

Mon., June 30
Track & Field
11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 5,000m Final
Men's 400m Semifinal
Men's and Women's 800m Final
Women's 400m Semifinal

Thurs., July 3
Track & Field
11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Women's 400m Final
Men's 400m Final
Men's 1,500m Quarterfinal
Women's Steeplechase Final

Fri., July 4
Track & Field
11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET/PT
USA
Featured events:
Men's 1,500m Semifinal
Women's 5000m Final
Men's 10,000m Final

Sat., July 5
Track & Field
5-6 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Women's 200m Semifinal
Men's 200m Semifinal
Men's High Jump Final

Sun., July 6
Track & Field
7-9 p.m. ET/PT
NBC
Featured events:
Women's 1500m Final
Men's 200m Final
Women's 200m Final
Women's Pole Vault Final
Men's Javelin
Men's 110m Hurdle Final
Women's 100m Hurdle Final
Men's 1,500m Final


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June 24, 2008 5:07 PM

Track trials, packed with local athletes, begin Friday

Posted by Ron Judd


TrackTown USA is in the spotlight for the next two weeks. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Trials begin Friday afternoon at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene.

Local athletes, headlined by champion pole vaulter Brad Walker and former WSU distance runner Bernard Lagat, will be out in force.

For a complete list, see local track and field writer Paul Merca's tabulation here.

Here's the event Web site. And the competition schedule. And the TV schedule.

Happy viewing.

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June 24, 2008 12:00 PM

Seattle area swim talent: Deep, wide and growing

Posted by Ron Judd

Reading about Bremerton native Nathan Adrian's recent exploits in the 50 meters in Omaha whets the appetite for what's sure to be a hot Olympic Trials season for Seattle-area swimmers.

Since Megan (Quann) Jendrick put Puget Sound back on the Olympic swimming medal map with that memorable, double-gold performance at Sydney in 2000, a steady stream of top performers with local ties have risen from the fray. More than 30 area swimmers, in fact, have times fast enough to earn entrance to the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, which begin Sunday in Omaha.

Among those, a handful rise as strong contenders to not only make the Beijing Olympic team, but chase medals there:

-- Jendrick, 24, of Puyallup, who missed the 2004 Athens team literally by a finger's length as she was out-touched by Amanda Beard and Tara Kirk at the last Olympic swim trials in Long Beach, is back with a vengeance this year, quietly shadowing the top-time swimmers in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and planning a sneak attack, of sorts, at the swim trials. Jendrick is a force to be contended with in the 100, but her best shot at the Olympics might come in the 200, a race in which her times have steadily fallen in the past two years.

-- Tara Kirk, 25, of Bremerton, a silver medalist in the 400 medley relay in Athens, remains a stalwart in the 100 breaststroke, and should contend for another Olympic spot.

-- Ariana Kukors, 19, of the University of Washington, an individual-medley specialist, has a strong shot at the team in the 400. Her sister Emily is a butterfly specialist who swims at Auburn.

-- Newcomer Adrian, 19, is a young sprint-swimming talent with all the physical skills and perhaps more important, a coaching/training program that has proven to be an Olympic magic bullet at the past two Summer Games: He's coached by Mike Bottom and trains in The Race Club program run by Gary Hall Jr., the two-time reigning gold medalist in the 50 free and a 10-time Olympic medalist.

-- Freestyler Emily Silver, 22, also of Bainbridge, has a shot at the 100 and 200 free.

-- Margaret Hoelzer, 25, who finished fifth in the 200m backstroke at Athens, now trains at King Aquatics and has a strong shot at a repeat Olympic performance in the 100 or 200 back.

NBC will run a one-hour packaged show from the trials, beginning at 5 p.m. local time Sunday. See a complete TV schedule (the coverage is on two stations and one Web site) here.


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June 19, 2008 5:42 PM

Flame on, says airplane manufacturer

Posted by Ron Judd

At the risk of roiling even further the masses of Maple Leaf Nation, we couldn't let it escape notice that Bombardier, the fine Canadian builder of planes and trains, has signed on as the official 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games torch and cauldron manufacturer.

It does raise the question: Is it really good PR for an airplane builder to be associated with large, twisted, flaming metal objects?

Also: We're expecting U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Loud, to announce that Boeing will file an appeal for a cauldron bid do-over at any moment.

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June 19, 2008 4:26 PM

Correction: Saskatchewan claims honor of last Province to join 2010 family

Posted by Ron Judd

One of our friends from Canada (motto: "Lighten up? I bloody well don't think so!") has correctly pointed out that Saskatchewan, not Manitoba, was the last province to sign on as an official sponsoring piece of real estate for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. We deeply regret the error. As it turns out, Manitoba, always quick on the switch, signed up a couple months ago -- after receiving only about four years' advance notice of the event.

Still, we truly are sorry -- especially to those people in Saskatchewan, whose provincial government deserves all the acclaim that should come with being the last region to knuckle under to the Olympic Machine.

What can we say? From here, all those provinces look pretty much alike. What they really need is some redistricting to give them recognizable shapes -- a boulder, a spinnaker or a beaver, just to offer up a few suggestions.

We are happy to report, however, that none of the great Manitoban attributes we predicted will help flesh out the Games in the post below is likely to go away simply because we confused our dates. And we're already busy at work compiling the list of unique qualities likely to be added by Saskatchewanistas. (Although we have a strong suspicion that many of them might be the same.)

As to the rest of the bile dripping from the comments section below: Relax, folks. Take a breath. Stick around awhile, and you'll see that we spend plenty of time poking similar fun at our own region. (In fact, a lot more.) We're happy to have you proud and upright Defenders of Manitoba reading, even if it is just for a trans-continental spew.

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June 18, 2008 7:09 PM

Manitoba, stubborn holdout for 2010 "Canada Games," capitulates

Posted by Ron Judd


It's official: Manitoba has surrendered.

The obscure Canadian province (set your Google Earth pointer to that big space between Saskatchewan and Ontario), a land loved by Canadians for its inhospitable terrain, extreme temperatures and angry mosquitoes, finally raised the white flag over Winnipeg today in March (see correction above.)

The message, translated from the original prairie Canadian: "Ah, to hell with it. Cue that Bryan Adams song. We give. Vancouver 2010, here we come!"

Manitoba was the last second to last province/territory to sign on as a sponsoring participant of the 2010 Winter Games, at long last bringing the entire, mostly frozen nation into the clutches of the feel-good peddlers at VANOC, the Games' organizing committee. (An earlier holdout, the Northwest Territories, reportedly caved after Games organizers threatened to affix a cowboy hat and bandanna to Illanaaq, the famous Inuit "inukshuk" statue that has become the Games' official emblem, and is available now on a full line of fine products that embody the Olympic spirit, including bar coasters and edible underpants.)

VANOC officials say the capitulation of Manitoba -- the flag of which, curiously, features a British red ensign in what appears to be a standoff with an ill-tempered bison** -- officially makes the Olympics "Canada's Games." To which we can only say: Bravo. This everybody's-on-board ethic is what the event really should be all about, and besides which, will come in really handy when someone in Ottawa gets the final bill for cost overruns.

According to VANOC, each contract signed with a province or territory is unique, but they tend to outline "a number of potential areas where the province ... can collaborate with VANOC to successfully deliver the Games."

Our sources in Vancouver say the province has pledged to provide the following Games services in exchange for what is rumored to be 14 beer-obstructed seats to the hockey gold medal game:

-- Sports medicine expertise from the Birtle, Manitoba General Hospital, described by town fathers as being "surprisingly full-featured for a town of this size (690)."

-- Twelve bushels of rust-resistant wheat.

-- Free Illanaaq bar coaster ads in The Uniter, the University of Winnipeg student newspaper.

-- Two barrels of canola oil signed by every member of the 2002 Brandon Wheat Kings.

-- Lifetime supply of "vegetable product" for snowboard gold medalist Ross Rebagliati from secret underground government medicinal marijuana farm in Flin Flon (You think we would kid about this? Ha.)

Etc.

We're still trying to find out what Newfoundland and Labrador will bring to the table that is not fish-related. Stay tuned.

** Note: For a delightful image of a design that won a newspaper-sponsored contest to replace the old Manitoba flag with a hipper new one, see the picture of a large bison apparently breaking wind here.

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June 12, 2008 11:32 PM

Step slowly away from that unauthorized souvenir

Posted by Ron Judd


Games organizers in Vancouver today announced big new efforts to cut down on faux Vancouver 2010 merchandise and fake tickets, through innovative methods including the deployment of "secret shoppers" looking to buy counterfeit goods or scalped or fake tickets. It's an effort launched by most host cities a year or two before the Games, and it's easy to see why: big money is at stake.

Vancouver Organizing Committee officials say it's easy to check your Vancouver 2010 merchandise's authenticity by its official hologram seal (is it really so difficult for counterfeiters to fake those, too?) But we've got a few tips of our own on spotting faux Oly goods.

Telltale signs your Vancouver 2010 souvenir might be fake:

-- Your statue of Games emblem Ilanaaq the Inukshuk has Andy Rooney eyebrows.

-- The Canadian flag sticker on the bottom bears a fig leaf, not maple.

-- You hold it above your head down on Robson Street for more than an hour, and not a single protestor bothers to lob a paint-filled balloon at it.

---It's hand signed by "Juan Antonio Sandwich."

Don't say we didn't warn you.

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June 9, 2008 8:04 PM

Uncanny Beijing Torch-Lighting Prediction

Posted by Ron Judd

So look. When you're around the Olympics as much as we have been, you get to know people. Lots of people. "Olympic family" people. People who pay no attention to the price of gas in Ferndale.

The point: Because of this, we often know about stuff long before it happens. Just the other day, for example, driving down the coast of Maine in search of some sort of sustenance without lobster as the main ingredient, we got a call from a source in Beijing, highly placed on the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOCOG), who proceeded to leak to us, with no explanatory notes, the following list of ...

Top 10 People Already Ruled Out For Lighting the Olympic Cauldron Aug. 8:

10. Richard Gere
9. Mia Farrow
8. Woody Allen
7. The Tiananmen Square Tank Guy
6. Lou Dobbs
5. Toby Keith
4. Jeff Bezos
3. Sen. Joseph Lieberman
2. His Holiness The Dalai Lama
1. His Holiness Steven Speilberg

Note: If you have suggestions on who should light that dish, feel free to post them and we'll move them up the chain.

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June 7, 2008 11:36 AM

A moment of silence

Posted by Ron Judd

Not exactly the best way to return from a long break, but let's take a moment today to honor sportscasting legend Jim McKay, who died today at 86.

McKay, more than any other single person, was the face and voice of the Olympic Games for Americans for decades. He covered 12, and will go down in history as the one who brought us the thrills of victory -- and, tragically, the agony of the announcement of the mudered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games. "They're all gone," he said, with words that still hurt after 36 years. Truly one of a kind.

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Blogroll and links

www.olympic.org: The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information.
www.nbcolympics.com: Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog
www.usolympicteam.com: U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site.
www.aroundtherings.com: Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription).
www.wcsn.com: News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions.
www.beijing2008.com: Beijing Organizing Committee Web site.
www.vancouver2010.com: Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site.
www.london2012.com: London 2012 Summer Games site.
www.sochi2014.com: Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site.
www.chicago2016.org: Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.