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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 12, 2008 10:42 AM

Lip-synch Shocker! China admits ceremony song sung by Milli Vanilli

Posted by Ron Judd

Some of it seemed too good to be true.

Well, some of it was.

Reports from Beijing today have Chinese officials admitting that the adorable little red-dressed girl singing the adorable little song, "Ode to the Motherland" as the Chinese flag was marched into the opening ceremony was lip-synched. No a crime, to be sure -- even Pavarotti lip-synched his famous "Nessun Dorma" at the Turin opener, because of his health and the extremely cold weather.

But in this case, the voice echoing around the world did not even belong to the pig-tailed girl on camera. It was a recording of another young Chinese girl, authorities confessed today. It was their solution to a dilemma: The girl on camera, Lin Miaoke, 9, was judged to be the most adorable. But she didn't have the best voice. So they mixed and matched, using the voice of another 7-year-old girl deemed cuter by China's Politburo.

What's more, Lin, the New York Times suggest, may not even have known she was being dubbed. See their posted mug shots and decide for yourself about the Chinese Politburo's taste.

Meanwhile: Bob Costas's tortured description of those "footprint" fireworks leading up to the opening of ceremony makes sense now with the revelation that those didn't really happen, either. The actual 29 fireworks footprints were set off during practices, but it was too smoggy the night of the show itself. So they filled in with B-roll combined with computer effects, which Costas and other announcers described as a "cinematic device" without ever actually just saying that what you saw wasn't real.

This, coupled with NBC's insistence on running a "LIVE" bug on West Coast broadcasts of events that ended hours earlier, makes you wonder: Is anything you're seeing in China real? In the future, why not just produce the entire thing on a blue screen?

(NBC's limp explanation today: They can't remove the bug for West Coast broadcasts. Just pay no attention to it.)

Speaking of which:
In the New York Times, we here in Siberia south are now being referred to as viewers in "disadvantaged time zones."

Does that mean we get a front-row parking space?

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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
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Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.