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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 13, 2008 2:05 PM

Today's Olympic Q & A: What's with those diver's showers?

Posted by Ron Judd

Some Q/A from today's print column, found here.

Q: I'm watching NBC. When I see that "LIVE" bug in the top right corner, is it really live?

A: No, it isn't. Not unless you're watching from Hoboken. NBC prime-time telecasts in the Pacific time zone are NEVER live. Never. Never. The bug is a blatant lie. NBC, hounded about this by journos everywhere, responded today that it is impossible for them to remove the bug before rebroadcasting their East Coast programming to the West Coast. Seriously.

Perhaps this is why Richard Sandomir of The New York Times has taken to calling us West Coasties "viewers in disadvantaged time zones," which we are going to officially adopt. (We know what you're going to ask; we already did, and no, it doesn't get us a good parking spot at the mall.)

Q: Why are there so many empty seats at arenas? Didn't the Chinese promise to fill every event?

A: Indeed, they did. The Chinese have been bragging for months about selling all 6.8 million tickets in advance. Yet large banks of empty seats have been seen at some places unexpected, including tennis matches with stars like the Williams sisters, as well as boxing, basketball, field hockey and handball.

It's gotten so bad that the International Olympic Committee, which to date has been a complete lap dog to the Chinese government, yesterday expressed concern, saying more people were needed in the stands to maintain a "proper atmosphere."

The Chinese, saying they'll look into it, are blaming sponsors for buying large blocks of tickets (for which they qualify, through "Olympic family" private sales) then simply not distributing them for preliminary rounds of competition. The same issue has plagued the past several Olympics; it's not unique to China.

Q: Where can I find the exact time of a TV broadcast of a specific event?

A: You can't. It doesn't exist. TV jumps around and doesn't know from one day to the next exactly when it will be broadcasting a particular sport. And even if they could, you'd have to deal with the tape-delay issue. However, for a major event you expect to be broadcast live, you can find a specific start time online. Try going to, click on the header for the sport, then look for "results and schedules."

Q: Why do divers shower after every jump? Are they sweaty?

A: They do it for warmth. The water in the pool is cool, the water in the showers is warm. They need the warmth to keep their muscles loose. (Some divers say they believe they go into the water "cleaner" while wet, but most towel off before jumping for fear their skin will be too slick for tucks and grabs, etc.) Also: If you're a glamour-girl or guy diver, you really want to stay supple.

Q: We're watching rowing. With every race, cameras follow the boats down the course and behind them, on the opposite shore, a bunch of people are bicycling along a path, following the boats on bikes. Who are they?

A: They're coaches, says Brett Johnson of U.S. Rowing. The teams didn't schlep their own bikes over there, but they can rent them at the venue. It's the best way to get from one end of the long course to another, and watch the action at the same time.

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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.