February 24, 2006
Crawford a golden interview, too
MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

These were the television moments of the Olympics for Canadians.

And if there's any way we can duplicate Chandra Crawford, let's get at it.

Crawford was the surprise winner of the women's cross-country sprint Wednesday and then proceeded to charm a country with the sheer joy of her victory. CBC did a great job of focusing on the 22-year-old Canmore, Alta., native as she received her medal and belted out the national anthem. Her joy was infectious.

CBC prime-time host Brian Williams conducted a terrific interview with her later in the evening. When Williams asked how she managed to vary her skiing from going hard to skiing under control, she said, "You were paying close attention, you saw it all."

And when Williams complimented her on her ability to conduct a great interview, she quipped, "I've been doing it for hours. I'm getting the hang of it."

It began a couple of days of great coverage by CBC. The network managed to catch the two gold and two silver medals won by Canada live on Wednesday.

Cross-country analyst Jack Sasseville was spot-on with the call of Crawford's winning race, just as he was before the race began when he questioned the choice of lane by the other Canadian in the final, Beckie Scott.

Speed skater Cindy Klassen finally got her television due as the CBC took the time to follow something other than hockey for an extended period of time.

It followed the 1,500-metre race, where Klassen won her fourth medal of these Games and teammate Kristina Groves won the silver. The celebration pictures were great and while the announcers didn't comment on it, there was a classy moment when German Anni Friesinger, one of the favourites in the 1,500 metres, made a point of coming over to hug Klassen.

And she did this even though moments before, she'd been edged out for a bronze medal by a Dutch skater.

This is what the Olympics are supposed to be all about.

Hockey meltdown

It was difficult to tell who was more upset about the Canadian men's team being eliminated by the Russians and going home without a medal, the players or the television guys covering the team. Canada has been getting pretty much of a free ride from the television media, except by Williams and, on occasion, Elliotte Friedman.

Most disappointing has been Ron MacLean, who has shown during these Olympics that journalistic objectivity or toughness takes a back seat to his hockey buddies. He has become the team's No. 1 excuse man.

He was at it again yesterday, saying that while Canada had come under fire for not scoring, Czech Jaromir Jagr, the NHL's leading scorer, only had two goals and three assists. Didn't that just about match the Canadian team's entire output.

During an interview with men's hockey executive director Wayne Gretzky, Kelly Hrudey and MacLean both indicated Canada was under tremendous pressure to win.

Good for Williams for not letting them get away with pandering to the players.

"Pressure? Pressure? There is no question the Canadian men's team is under heavy pressure, but pressure is the essence of events like the Olympics," he said. "A group of young athletes handled the pressure very well today."

Don Cherry indirectly took a shot at both Pat Quinn and the television crew covering the hockey in Turin. When Quinn said he was surprised at how Russia played a conservative style, Cherry indicated it shouldn't have come as a surprise since Cherry had been indicating all tournament that that's how European teams were going to play the Canadians.

Cherry also pointed out why Russian Evgeny Malkin received a match penalty late in the Canada-Russia game. We never did get an explanation from the guys doing the game, Harry Neale and Bob Cole. Cherry spotted Malkin kicking Vincent Lecavalier.

"Thank God you've got me," Cherry said. "I'm all the way over here. Why can't they see it?"

It wasn't the first thing the pair missed.

And CBC can't be happy with Cherry's comments about the hockey semifinals. He said he couldn't care less about the semifinals. "I wouldn't watch," he said. Just what the CBC needs to hear.

The CBC made a major error in using Williams in Toronto. He should have been in Turin where he could have worked the live events and interviews.







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Men's 1.5km Sprint
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Men's 15km Classical
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Men's 50km Freestyle
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Men's Combined Pursuit
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Men's 4x10km Relay
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Men's Team Sprint
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Women's 1.5km Sprint
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Women's 10km Classical
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Women's 30km Freestyle
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Women's Combined Pursuit
Results
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Women's 4x5km Relay
Results
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Women's Team Sprint
Results
Past Champs