A TV station to avoid
You see a lot of things in the main press centre at the Olympics, like people sleeping in their chairs, heads on the desk at the end of a long day.
There are people glued to the TVs that are everywhere, cheering for their countrymen and at one Games, and I don’t remember which won, I listened as a South American dude three seats over was doing live radio play-by-play of a soccer game off a television monitor.
Never mind that the game couldn’t have been that far away, he was yelling and screaming for 90 minutes. Quite entertaining in a really annoying kind of way.
Today? Today I saw one I’d never seen before.
Some guy was standing shooting video of anonymous people going up and down the escalator.
But that wasn’t the strangest part of it.
There was a guy behind him shooting video of him shooting video of anonymous people riding up and down the escalator.
Not sure what channel in what country they were working for but I don’t ever want to watch it.
I don’t know how he did it in this age of censored Internet access here – God forbid I’m able to read that evil Doug Smith blog – but Perk found me some betting lines on the men’s hoops quarters.
The Americans are a mere 31-point favourite over Australia, which is more like the line on a bad college football game. Spain’s 12 over Croatia, Lithuania’s only 10 over China (home court worth a lot apparently) and Argentina’s 4 1-2 over Greece.
I’d take all the favourites. If I were a betting man, of course. But gambling’s illegal.
Big intrasquad game in the men’s hoops quarter-finals.
Spain vs. Croatia and a chance to see Jose go against Roko, at least a little bit.
Not sure what’s up with Calderon. The two games I’ve seen him play he’s looked all right but he keeps getting jerked around by the coach. Starts one game, doesn’t start the next. Starts one game, doesn’t start the second half. Plays 30 minutes one night, 14 the next.
All I know is that he told me he’s healthy, keeps going on in his own inimitable style about helping the team however it’s needed and seems happy, at least publicly.
The thought around the gym is that maybe Spain is just playing possum, not showing anything they’ve got until it’s absolutely necessary, like in the gold medal game.
That makes a bit of sense. I think anyone knows the Americans are only going to lose one game – if they lose at all – and there’s no sense using all your bullets in the inconsequential first round.
You finish your breakfast at the media village cafeteria and approach the garbage areas ready to toss out the plate, plastic cutlery and whatever drink containers you have.
You can’t, though.
Because there are always three volunteers standing there eager to help you by taking your trash and dealing with it.
I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen when I get home and will be one of the things I miss most about the North Star Media Village.
|Nobody's stealing that fire truck. Nobody.|
Pretty sure I’ve told you about the guards guarding the fire truck at our village, right?
Well, we’ve got a new game to play.
When you drive by in the little golf cart thing that shuttles us from our building to the bus stop, if you salute the soldiers they salute back.
Perk says he feels like a big shot from the Central Committee; I think the guards are just scared of him and salute back so he doesn’t get out of the cart.
Got into the Ice Cube, er, Water Cube, this morning to check out some diving and it’s way better on the outside than the inside.
It does look extraordinarily cool from afar, blue or red depending on somebody’s mood I think. Inside? It’s all right but not nearly as impressive at it looks from afar.
The diving was pretty good, though. I knew enough to know that a big splash was a bad thing but other than that, they twisted and turned and tumbled and some judges gave them marks. No one did a cannonball or a bellyflop, which are dives I can appreciate.
Then somebody had more points than someone else and then we talked to the Canadian kid.
Covering this stuff is a snap.
I’m always willing to talk gastronomy.
Q: Hi Doug, this is a pure food-related question. How does the food in Chinatown in Toronto compare to that of China? I know I've travelled to parts of China and have had food that was just out of this world, but I have to say Chinatown's isn't bad either. What do you prefer?
Sam C, Kingston
A: I don’t get out a lot in Chinatown back home and have only been to about three restaurants here and the excellent food court in the press centre but I’d say this is light years better than anything I’ve had in Toronto.
Had Peking Duck again today at lunch, it was awesome.
Hopefully, if things slow down in the next week, I’ll find some other local establishments – and not the kind with the Special Meat and the rodents – to try out.
Things I’ve never seen before and can’t quite understand: I believe it was called the Madison bike race and it looked for all the world to me like a cycling version of short-track speedskating minus the collisions.
A bunch of guys from the same team tagging off and riding what seemed to be a relay and it was so utterly confusing it took about four minutes to figure out who won.
Argentina, I believe.
Olympics always bring out the sharing in the reporters from Canada who get together to cover them.
It’s just about time for the three-metre men’s springboard final and five of us are in the Ice Cube, er, Water Cube workroom trying to get our Alexandre Despatie background taken care of.
One guy from one paper asks about Despatie’s broken foot and a guy from another publication answers. I need to know about his Olympic past and two guys offer background.
You don’t get this kind of co-operation too often on a regular beat in a regular pro sports season, that’s why this can be a pretty cool gig sometimes.
We remain competitive but lending a helping hand is done as a matter of course here.