Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: CBC wins one-horse Olympic race

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


South Korea's Shin A-Lam reacts after being defeated in the women's epee semifinals fencing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, July 30, 2012. (ADREES LATIF/Reuters)


If you're the only runner in a race, is it still a victory when you cross the finish line?

CBC thinks so, and thus the public broadcaster is a-hootin' and a-hollerin' over securing the broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The win comes after earlier bids, including one by a CBC/CTV consortium, were rejected by the International Olympic Committee. CBC's solo offer was the only one left on the table, and the IOC perhaps wisely took it rather than face the prospect of having no Canadian broadcaster for the next two games.

Is this good news for viewers? CTV's done a solid job so far in London, building on the experience of Vancouver 2010. But CBC's spin includes a promise to deliver the big Canadian moments in Sochi and Rio, and that's something I feel has been missing from CTV's coverage so far: the electrifying build-up to those huge wins that everyone talks about the next day.

Then again, with so many of those moments being unexpected, it's hard to adequately prepare for them. We won medals in judo and weightlifting and have a shot at a medal in badminton? What the what?

There is one undeniable upside to CBC owning the next two Olympics, though: we won't have to hear "I Believe" for another four years. That alone might be worth the price.

BORIS THE CLOWN

Citizens of Toronto know a thing or two about having an embarrassing mayor, but London's Boris Johnson is in a class of his own. And it is awesome.

The boisterous BoJo has been making headlines for his unwavering promotion of the Olympics, leading to bizarre moments such as this comment in a column he wrote for London's Daily Telegraph: "There are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators' sou'westers."

Semi-naked women glistening like wet otters and water "plashing" off spectators' rain hats. If that's not an arresting visual, nothing is.

Well, perhaps not arresting as BoJo's aborted zipline ride Wednesday, which ended with the Union Jack-waving mayor stuck in midair, much to the amusement of the crowd below. You can watch the video here: http://bit.ly/bojostuck

Despite his flaws and his big mouth, he does seem to have a confident sense of humour that isn't self-serving. Unlike some mayors we know.

FENCING FANCY

There hasn't been much TV coverage of fencing at these Olympics, and that's too bad. Sit-ins, outbursts and bum-stabbing: this could be the most dramatic sport of the games.

Coming on the heels of South Korean fencer Shin A-Lam's weepy 45-minute protest when she was hosed out of a medal by a clock error (Shin was offered a sportsmanship medal as consolation by the sport's governing body, which she flatly refused), another South Korean fencer argued that an opponent landed an illegal hit. In his buttcrack.

Choi Byung-Chul insisted the referee test whether hits to Choi's butt were registering on his suit's electronic sensor. Turns out they were, but not as legal hits, meaning the contested hit by Italy's Andrea Baldini must have landed outside Choi's derriere.

Choi went on to win the bronze medal, but all you really need to know is it led to this awesome moment in which a fencer grabs an opponent's foil and stabs it into his own butt: http://bit.ly/fencebum. Now that is cracking good TV.

KARATE KYLE

Slightly uncomfortable commentator quote of the day: "It is like wax on, wax off." - CTV gymnastics analyst and gold medalist Kyle Shewfelt, referencing The Karate Kid to describe Japanese gymnast Kazuhito Tanaka's precise performance.