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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Ten of the Decade #6

Life in the Rust Belt has a lot of disadvantages. Coming in at #6 is one of the perks, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its Olympic coverage.

The last three summer games have been so far off US time zones that NBC has seen fit to time-shift coverage of most events. And, of course, it's the typical brain-dead jingoistic crap they've been feeding us for decades.

Our northern neighbors, however, show things live. For Sydney, I got up at 3 AM to see the track finals. Athens and Beijing required morning viewing, too, but for them the sun was already up. I saw the fantastic 2000 Tergat-Gebrselassie 10k duel right before I left for school, and had to keep my mouth shut about it for those who planned to watch it later that day.

CBC is just as centered on their own athletes as NBC is on ours, but there are two fundamental differences. Whereas NBC makes no apology for this, CBC is a tad embarrassed. But also, there just aren't enough top-end Canadians in the Summer Olympics to fill the 20 or so hours a day they broadcast. The combination of these two can lead to some great stuff. For example, in Sydney the Canadians had two finalists in the men's high jump, and they ended up showing every single attempt in the competition, even after Boateng and Boswell were out.

Also, the level of expectations for success are so vastly different. CBC cut into other coverage to go live to the men's shot put in Beijing, because Dylan Armstrong was almost in the bronze-medal position. Almost winning a bronze medal makes you a headline in Canada.

Unfortunately, privately-run CTV will be showing the 2010 and 2012 games, and there is no affiliate in the Detroit/Windsor area. Canada has a Conservative government right now, with too many American-style conservative kooks, and 20% of CBC's operating budget has been cut. You know how that argument goes: government is incapable of doing anything right, except for when they do, in which case we'll screw it up so they can't.

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