February 18, 2010
Calling curling in Cree, Chinese
By GEORGE KARRYS, For QMI Agency
Curling fans love to watch their sport on television.
It has been a love affair ever since a young Gordon Craig ordered a CBC mobile truck from Toronto across the 401 to Kitchener-Waterloo in 1962, introducing live TV coverage of the Brier.
Of course, the Olympic curling competition in Vancouver is being seen around the world. But within Canada alone, there is a plethora of viewing options available across a dizzying variety of channels ... and in numerous languages, too.
With just two full days of curling completed, hardcore TV fans are already familiar with the Big Three: CTV, The Sports Network (TSN) and Rogers Sportsnet.
The bulk of curling coverage is carried by TSN and Sportsnet, with CTV popping by once in a while. CTV covered Canada's opening men's game on Tuesday -- scoring over six million Canadian viewers in the process -- and was supposed to be the vehicle for the battle between Kevin Martin and Swedish young gun Niklas Edin on Thursday at noon. The veteran TSN curling crew of Vic Rauter, Ray Turnbull and Linda Moore will call the shots, but now on Sportsnet because of changes to the alpine skiing schedule.
The second English-language broadcast crew is TSN's traditional "morning crew" of the impressive Bryan Mudryk and Russ Howard, with former third wheel Cathy Gauthier back in the fold. This gang was supposed to cover the neighbouring men's game of Great Britain vs. Switzerland on Sportsnet, but that match has been removed from the broadcast schedule entirely. Boo.
There is more to come on Thursday, but let's look ahead to a particularly busy and interesting day: Next Monday, Feb. 22.
CTV kicks it off at noon eastern time with the Canadian men versus the United States. Then it's the Canadian women against powerful Sweden, on Sportsnet at 5 p.m., with another women's match -- Great Britain vs. Denmark -- on tap at 5:30 p.m., on TSN.
Finally, fans can follow the British men against Germany on TSN at 10 p.m.
But guess what? There still are more channels and announcing crews in action.
V, one of three French-language channels televising the Olympic Games (the others are RDS and RIS) have late-'90s curling hero Guy Hemmings at the microphone on Monday for Canada-U.S. at noon. He then returns, on RDS, for the women's Canada-Sweden rumble at 5 p.m.
Now to APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, which will cover an as-yet-unidentified noon men's match that day, followed by another women's draw.
There is a remarkable variety of languages available on APTN's Olympic coverage: Dene, Inuktitut, Mechif, Mohawk, Oji-Cree and Ojibway among others.
Curling is broadcast in either Cree, in French (with Kerry Burtnyk second player Richard Daneault offering expertise) or English, with curling legends Arnold Asham and Al Hackner at the microphones.
From the APTN studios in Winnipeg, Asham and Hackner teamed with Keith McMahon for a solid and fun TV curling experience on Tuesday. Asham is the longtime curling booster and equipment manufacturer and Hackner, aka the "Ice Man," is the two-time world champion from the 1980s.
Both men are the most famous curlers boasting First Nations blood, and after years of competing -- and partying -- across the country, they are sharing some of their memories with viewers.
We're not finished yet, with one final network -- and language -- in play, too.
The OMNI network has Olympic curling booked for just one day (sadly) of coverage, this Friday, and the language will be in ... Mandarin Chinese!
The women's 10 p.m. draw will be televised live, with host Wei Lee and "expert" Cary Luo, and coverage will bounce between two matches: Canada vs. Denmark and China vs. Sweden.
And there could have been more, but ATN, Canada's largest South Asian broadcaster, didn't choose curling.
GEORGE KARRYS, AN OLYMPIAN, IS: CURLINGURU.COM