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.
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.
November 18, 2008 11:23 PM
Posted by Ron Judd
Reporting from Vancouver:
Piece by piece, it's coming together.
The ice is fast and frozen at the Richmond Oval, which looks even more gigantic inside than out (Canadian speedkskaters, in fact, already have spent weeks here training ... sorry, testing safety systems, etc., to begin working on their home-ice advantage.)
B.C. Place Stadium is going to require quite the makeover to put on a memorable opening ceremony. We still can't wait to see how they solve that lighting-the-cauldron-indoors dilemma.
And people better start hustling -- and spending that controversial $100 million loan from the city - -to get the Athlete's Village ready to greet the world in less than 15 months.
Those are some early impressions from a couple hundred media types here on the Vancouver Organizing Committee's "World Press Briefing," where editors, facilitators and a few nosey types like myself get an advance look at the inner workings of the upcoming Olympics.
It's a good chance to get the lay of the land, see where athletes will not only compete, but be available afterwards in media "mix zones;" find out where the sub press-centers are at each venue, and meet with Games planners about practical concerns such as lodging, work space, Internet connectivity, photo positions, all of that behind-the-scenes stuff that allows the 10,000 or so journos here to bring you sights, sounds and words from the Games for three weeks in February, 2010. (For many people, this is the only chance they'll get to do this before the Olympics. Scoping out the territory in advance is a big advantage in covering the Games.)
Peering behind the curtains this week for Team Times are myself and sports editor Cathy Henkel. We'll be in Whistler all day Wednesday and back in Vancouver for two days of briefings and further venue tours on Thursday and Friday.
More news as it develops. And we'll bring you some looks inside the venues if we get a chance to upload some pictures.
Meantime: Feel free to post questions here, if any come to mind, about the inner workings of the Games. We'll try to answer them, or find someone who can.
August 15, 2008 4:38 PM
Posted by Ron Judd
We neglected to post this yesterday, in all the excitement over beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh's birthday celebration on NBC:
A network spokesman, responding to hopeful rumors that the network would get a clue and at least broadcast one Michael Phelps race -- his likely historic, eighth-medal attempt Saturday evening -- live in the west-coast Disadvantaged Time Zone, has cleared that up:
NBC, he reiterated, will continue to broadcast events "when the majority of people are available to watch."
Apparently, that would be about 1 a.m., which is when NBC's coverage of recent marquee events, such as gymnastics, have wrapped up on the East Coast of late. (The network could actually show the same events, live, on the West Coast, and actually have them seen in prime time, but refuses to do so.)
Doesn't matter that it's a major historical event. Doesn't matter that it happens on a Saturday, when a live television office across the country would likely be massive. Just doesn't matter.
It's amazing, and at some point, it starts to feel personal. Did Dick Ebersole perhaps have a bad experience as a child at the Space Needle? You've gotta wonder.
Meanwhile, word arrives that NBC's initial boffo ratings for Beijing have been flagging. For both Wednesday and Thursday nights, they trailed ratings for the comparable time periods in Athens, in spite of marquee events like Phelps' medal quest and women's gymnastics. Given those events, Thursday night should have been a highlight of NBC's entire Games coverage.
Maybe it took a couple days for people to tire of watching events they long ago heard results from dragging on to 1 a.m.
There's more bad news, and you might as well get used to it now: NBC's Olympic contract runs through 2012. Anyone willing to bet that the network won't be showing viewers in Seattle most Winter Games daytime events from Vancouver on a half-day delay, even though they'll be taking place live, right up the road? And you thought this was irritating...
Note also that if you're glibly watching on CBC this time around, you'd better check your channel grid before the Vancouver Games. CBC lost the Games contract to CTV, which will broadcast Vancouver 2010. Neither channel is carried on DirecTV, but most local cable operations offer both.
August 15, 2008 3:13 PM
Posted by Ron Judd
Canadian medal update, Day 8:
By popular demand, here is the list of summer sports powerhouses that have now won a medal while Canada -- which, for the record, could not even medal with a swimmer named Beavers in the pool last night -- continues to fight valiantly for Numero Uno:
We could mention that some of the Carpet Nations, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Karistan (OK, we made that last one up) are already celebrating their second medals. But that would be rude, so we shall not.
The truth is, we feel bad about this. So bad that we -- in a show of North American brotherhood, plus a blatant attempt to suck up and get a good hotel room for Vancouver 2010 -- would like to help. We're putting out the call to all former Olympic medalists, or just major contenders, to form a Canadian Olympic Reserve relief project and give Maple Leaf Nation a little boost in Beijing.
The Games are only half over. Surely there's time for, say, Greg Barton to come forth, catch the Amtrak to Vancouver, secure the necessary papers ("four-time medalist? You're in! Sign here.) and jet on over to Beijing before the flame goes out.
It is, literally, the least we could do. And that is our specialty.
So step on up, folks. It's for a good cause. And think of the upside: Put Canada on the board, and your own money will never be good at any Tim Horton's as long as you live.
Failing this, we have an alternate plan: Actually giving Canada some of our medals that are ... well, not needed anymore. Some of them might have a few Marion Jones crocodile tears on them, but a little Brasso will take that right out.
August 13, 2008 8:45 PM
Posted by Ron Judd
22:15 Men's overall gymnastics goes on, with Yang Wei of China leading the way. He win China's 20th gold medal.
The first hour was fairly excruciating, as it presents a worst-case scenario for the U.S. viewer: America's two competitors, halfway through, are not in the top 10, yet not mathematically eliminated. That means Americans must watch, in excruciating detail, the two adjust their tape on the bench, take off clothes, but clothes on, change gloves, etc. etc. etc., as the crowd reacts loudly to other nation's competitors actually doing gymnastics somewhere in the background. Will never understand the need to spend every single waking second with the U.S. athletes sitting on the bench and mugging for the camera.
It gets better later, as the two fade from contention, forcing NBC to show other competitors.
It's a bit better on CBC, where Canada's athletes are still shown disproportionately, but not in a way that's out of line. And at least we don't have to listen to them whisper sweet nothings in the camera to all their friends back home.
Al Trautwig, at 1:08 a.m. ET, announces, in a major concession to all 12 east coast viewers still watching: "We are commercial free until the end of the competition." Man, NBC just gives and gives and gives. Think what they could've pulled in for that prime, 1 a.m. ad position.
20:42: Women's 800 freestyle relay final
Australia wins at 7:44.31. China takes the silver. The U.S., which formerly owned this event, takes the bronze, with Katie Hoff unable to make a dent in a large deficit she inherits at 600 meters.
20:15: Over at the Water Cube, Michael Phelps swims 1:57.70 to advance to the final, but the big news is, HIS SPEEDO GOGGLES FAIL HIM AGAIN!
20:02: We go now to men's individual gymnastics. Right off the bat, add this one to the list of classics from NBC's Al "Every-Chinese-Cliche-In-The-Book" Trautwig:
"All around gymnasts are like the Chinese panda."
19:55: Men's 100 free final
Alain Bernard of France wins a drag race with Eamon Sullivan of Australia, swimming 47.21 to Sullivan's 47.32. America's Jason Lezak ties for third place, earning his first individual medal after six relay medals. Defending champ Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands is out of the running.
Women's 200 butterfly
19:50: Liu Zige and Jiao Liuyang, two Chinese swimmers who have raised eyebrows with sterling performances in Beijing, despite not placing in worlds competitions in prior years, finish one-two, swimming 2:04.18 and 2:04.72, respectively -- both under the WR. Jessicah Schipper of Australia, who loses her WR, swims 2:06.26 to finish third.
19:37: NBC yukster Chris Collingsworth (who is in Beijing ... why?) has a taped interview with Jason Lezak, which Bob Costas crows is something "the competition" couldn't get. What competition? You own the Olympics, you summon someone, and they show up. Good grief.
19:29: Men's 200 backstroke, semi heat two
Ryan Lochte swims 1:55.40, right on Peirsol's heels for the final. Markus Rogan of Austria is third seed.
19:24: Men's 200 backstroke, semi heat one
Aaron Peirsol of the U.S. swims 1:55.26 to win, looking very relaxed.
19:18 Women's 100 free semis, heat two
Jiaying Pang of China wins the heat, and Libby Trickett, WR holder of Australia, appears not to make the final -- major upset. Seconds later, Pang is DQ'd for a false start. Trickett will swim the final -- from lane 8. Coughlin goes in as top seed.
19:12: Women's 100 free semis, heat one
Natalie Coughlin, with a gorgeous turn at 50 meters, wins at 53.70. WR holder Libby Trickett of Australia swims 54.11, is in danger of not making the final.
19:07: Men's 200 breaststroke
Kosuke Kitajima of Japan hits the double jackpot, sweeping the 100 and 200 breast with a time of 2:07.64. Silver to Brenton Rickard of Australia. Bronze to Hugues Duboscq of France. Mike Brown of Ontario flirts with third, but keeps Canada's medal-less streak alive.
18:55: Sorry. Had to take a break there. I was losing my mind.
NBC is showing a montage of all of Michael Phelps' gold medals, starting in Athens. It will take a while.
A rumor is floating around that NBC might show Phelps' eighth gold-medal race on Saturday live, in all its markets, even here in the Disadvantaged Time Zone (DTZ). Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.
17:42: This just in: China has now won 17 gold medals. We're not saying their athletes are underaged, but 14 of those are going to show-and-tell on Monday morning.
17:37: Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda of Canada, in a brilliant play to keep Timbit Nation's medal-free streak alive, just made a decidedly non-synchronized dive to drop to fifth place.
We observe that the hometown Canadian crowd is getting a bit cranky about the medal drought. Take this summary of the Canadian duo's efforts, by Dave Stubbs of Canwest News Service:
BEIJING - For too much of Wednesday's six-dive contest, Canadians Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda were synced about as well as a dubbed Godzilla movie.
17:18: NBC is now doing a big takeout feature on... Kerri Walsh and Misty May Treanor. I kid you not. More beach volleyball. They're back live at the top of the hour, Bob Costas says. Perfect. We were looking for time to defrag the hard drives.
Meantime: NBC moves to springboard men's 3m synchro diving.
17:05 p.m. Good afternoon, Irrelevant West Coast. Good morning, Beijing. (Elliott: Remember to eat breakfast.)
NBC's eastern feed leads off with the women's road-cycling time trial, which we have a strange feeling will be won by America's Kristin Armstrong, 35.
One immediate reaction: These are said to be the "Green Games." But every single cycle heading up the road has a personal escort vehicle -- one car per cycle. Just saying.
And we have to ask: Is it part of the official Olympic charter that every color commentator for cycling must have a British accent?
Tonight's expected highlights: The men's 100 freestyle swimming final. Men's individual gymnastics competition (late).
CBC is back at synchro diving.
August 13, 2008 3:23 PM
Posted by Ron Judd
Up-to-the-second roundup of current Canadian medalists:
Furniture & home furnishings
AKC English bulldog puppies now available w...
Citation to Appear in Reno, Nevada to Willi...
City of Kenmore NOA for COM2014-050
POST A FREE LISTING