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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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August 11, 2008 11:31 AM

Listening in on Beijing

Posted by Ron Judd

One benefit of NBC's broadcasting so much of its daytime taped coverage of team sports in high-definition TV is the sparkling clean, digital stereo sound that comes with it.

Watch the network's basketball channel, for instance, and marvel at the sounds of the game you don't normally pick up at home.

When the U.S. women's squad -- looking more and more like a juggernaut -- put China to the sword this morning (local time), you could hear a literal symphony of squeaky sneakers as both teams jostled for position. Amazing.

(Maybe this is something you'll only hear in the women's game, where they still move their feet and play defense.)

Also clearly evident: Catcalls from the stands, shouts of encouragement from the benches -- and that loud "Thonk!" of the rims, especially when China (sorry; it's true) was shooting.

The whole thing was just masterfully microphoned and produced. Many other events have been, as well. A tip of the hat to those audio engineers on the ground in Beijing.

Our advice: Turn it up loud on the hi-fi, and make it feel like you're there.

One cautionary note: One down side is that unpleasant sounds come through just as clear. Like the unbelievably supercharged horn, used to announce the entrance of new players, in Beijing's new, 18,000 seat hoops arena.

NBC's Mike Breen, hearing the mondo horn completely overwhelm his voice for the umpteenth time in the U.S./China game, noted wryly:

"Yes, in case you're wondering, it is the loudest horn in the history of basketball arenas."

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. 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 U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. 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.