If you're human, you'll love Rochette

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency

If figure skater Joannie Rochette’s brave on-ice performance didn’t make your eyes tear up, then you are clearly an android, and had better watch out for Blade Runners. But for those of us with human emotions, Rochette’s decision to give it her Olympic all within days of her mother’s sudden death has been a genuine inspiration.

Fans flocked online Wednesday to give Rochette their support, with hundreds of messages posted to her Facebook wall and directed to her Twitter account, @JoannieRochette. “I watched every move you made and I cried the whole time,” one U.S. fan wrote on Rochette’s Facebook. “It was all so beautiful. Canada has a wonderful champion in you and I wish you the GOLD even over our American skaters.” Couldn’t agree with her more.

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I’ve been bagging on CTV’s Olympic Morning program in this space, and with good reason: it makes me die a little inside every time I turn on the TV in the morning and see the glitter hens of Leah Miller, Tanya Kim and Jeanne Beker tee-heeing their way through an interview, or MTV Canada’s Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy doing their The Hills After Show shtick on athletes instead of reality show stars.

But I have to toss a couple bouquets among the brickbats. Canada AM’s Seamus O’Regan and Melissa Grelo of Toronto’s CP24 work wonderfully together as the Whistler-based morning hosts, and MTV Canada’s Daryn Jones can turn the most mundane man-on-the-street bit into something funny. But the revelation on Olympic Morning has been TSN’s Jay Onrait as the Vancouver-based co-anchor alongside Canada AM’s Bev Thomson. Onrait strikes the tone that CTV seems to have been going for with the morning show as a whole, balancing deep knowledge of sports with a playful, quick wit that sometimes tiptoes across the line into wonderful absurdity. Give this guy a raise.

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Speaking of TSN personalities, I’m a big fan of Jennifer Hedger. She’s a solid sportscaster who knows her stuff, and she’s got a great personality and energy on TV. Heck, I used to crush on her way back when she was on that weird Toronto-based reality show The Lofters.

But man alive, she’s got to have a word with her Olympics makeup artist and wardrobe people. Under the natural light on the outdoor set at Whistler, Hedger’s painted face and flashy duds make her look like she’s about to try out for the Rockettes. She’s a naturally beautiful woman, but she’s apparently trying to give Michael Landsberg a run for his money in the caked-on foundation and painted eyes department. Less is more, gang.

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Steve Tilley is following the Olympics experience on TV and on the web throughout the Winter Games. You can e-mail him at steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter at @stevetilley.

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