What'd she say?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

For the next two weeks, Noel Thorpe's mind will often escape to Beijing.

Erminia Russo - the wife of the Edmonton Eskimos' assistant coach - is covering beach and indoor volleyball for CBC during the Beijing Olympics, which start tomorrow.

Working as an analyst on the broadcasts with play-by-play caller Doug Derks, this marks Russo's second Olympic TV assignment.

But while it will hopefully be a great experience for Russo on the other side of the world, Thorpe admits to having some anxiety over his wife being in the middle of a global event in Beijing.

"Beijing - honestly, am I a little bit worried? Sure," said Thorpe in the Eskimos locker-room this week.

"From a security standpoint, absolutely."

However, the Green and Gold's special teams/defensive backs coach supports Russo's desire to cover volleyball's biggest matches.

"I support her in everything she does. I think it is awesome for her to go over there and do this (work for CBC)," said Thorpe. "She does quite a good job of it.

"She has been recognized at CBC within the inner circles as doing an excellent job."

Russo's TV assignments start Saturday in Beijing and go through to Aug. 24.

Like many top analysts in sports broadcasting, Russo brings an impressive playing resume with her.

The captain of the national volleyball team for more than four years, she represented the country on the court for more than eight years - including playing in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Married for seven years, Thorpe and Russo first met at UBC while they held coaching gigs.

Russo was a volleyball coach while Thorpe was the defensive co-ordinator on the football team.

"I passed by her office every day," he quipped.

Now with two young children - Emma (six) and Peyton (four) - the couple is calling on family members to help with the St. Albert household this week while both parents are on the road.

Thorpe leaves with the Eskimos today for tomorrow's game in Vancouver.

"One thing that is lucky for us is that she comes from a large family. She has seven siblings. Two sisters are coming out (to Edmonton this week)," he remarked.

Thankfully for Thorpe, the Eskimos head to a bye week after tomorrow's game - giving him some time to help around the house next week.

QUICK HIT: While exact online viewership numbers are unavailable from TSN, demand for streaming website video of CFL games is on the rise this year.

According to a TSN spokesperson, there is a 10% increase this season in unique visitors to www.tsn.ca for live streaming of Friday Night Football games.

Interest has apparently doubled for the on-demand service (taped-delay) for the other CFL games on the schedule this year.

PARTING SHOT: While TSN is doing a solid job of covering CFL games this year, why doesn't the network make an offer to Damon Allen that he can't refuse to become a sideline analyst during games?

It's a quarterback-driven league and Allen could break down the pivots during the games - giving viewers a unique explanation on what's happening.


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