That issue aside, it was still pretty cool to see the setup. The set Brian Williams (and, yes, he IS a really, really good guy) will be using looks out over the Main Media Centre, which is the giant convention centre with the sails on top from the 1984 Expo. Lots of cool-looking wood and tons of glass; it should show wonderfully on the tube. He’s also got a, wait for it, 152-inch High Definition plasma TV next to his desk. That’s only slightly bigger than the one in Dave Perkins’ basement.
TSN’s Andrea Goldstein, who was nice enough to take me on the tour, said it’s the biggest TV in the world and that there are only four of them. CTV has two; the one we’ll see most days and, smartly, a backup just in case it blows a tube. NBC apparently has the other two screens.
There are five studios in all for the consortium, one of which overlooks Stanley Park and might be the best of the bunch. Of course, those are the glamour spots. Behind all of that there were hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of folks toiling on laptops in windowless rooms, including a couple of old buddies of mine at the Globe and Mail. There are seven control rooms and 22 editing suites and some 1,400 workers in all, most of whom seemed to be scurrying about yesterday and seemed quite earnest and buckle-down.
It’s hugely, hugely impressive. The engineering room has something like 10 huge towers with a billion blinking lights and cables threading into other cables threading into other cables and outlets and more blinking lights. It’s an amazing sight. If you can get past security, that is.
SWARMING WITH COPS? I DON’T THINK SO
A British journalist was quoted in the Vancouver Sun today as saying the city looked like a war zone
“With a police officer on every corner and military copters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like postwar Berlin than an Olympic wonderland,” wrote Douglas Haddow in the Guardian.
Balderdash. Not to mention utterly wrong.
I walked to the Main Media Centre Monday - about 10 blocks - and didn’t encounter any security forces until I got within two blocks of the press centre. There are the odd copters overhead, but some of them might be delivering snow to Cypress Mountain for all we know. Or maybe ferrying IOC members to lunch.AND NOW SOME REFRESHING HONESTY
You still get a lot of diplomatic bafflegab when you ask an IOC member a question. Not our own Dick Pound, of course, but many IOC members would rather jump into a pit of rattlesnakes than give a direct answer to a question.
That’s why it was a little refreshing on Monday to hear IOC president Jacques Rogge talk about his displeasure with the Russians over doping issues with winter athletes. And to see International Ski Federation chief Gian-Franco Kasper tell the publication Around The Rings that the Sea-to-Sky Highway improvements help athletes get to Whistler, but that it’s still a long way from Whistler to Vancouver.
“Of course the travelling time is less now but don’t forget the Olympic traffic. The worst thing is that everybody will have to go up by bus. That does not make it easy, including for spectators.”Kasper, and this is the TRULY AMAZING PART, said that he feels “sorry particularly for the media.”
“If they (media hordes) live in Richmond, they must first go by bus to the Main Media Centre and up by bus to Whistler, and then the whole thing back. So they spend more than half the day on the bus.”
He also pointed out that weather delays could wreak havoc
“You could go up to Whistler and find out that the event is postponed until the next day, so you back for nothing. You come up the next day, postponed again and down (the hill) again. I can’t imagine how much they will like it.”
They’ll probably dismiss him from the IOC for being soft on the media. Personally, I’d like to see the guy in charge of the IOC’s Press Commission.Kasper had a few bon mots to toss at newspaper bean counters. Heh, heh.
I will say, and not just to keep my job, that the Star sprung for digs that are almost entirely in Vancouver, plus a couple of very expensive condos in Whistler. One of our rooms is in Richmond, but that was an issue of availability, not cost. The Star has almost always been willing to spend whatever it takes to do the job. And I LOVE where I'm staying in downtown Vancouver. Still laughing over the fact I have a VCR on top of my TV, but the room at the Carmana Plaza on Alberni St. is IMMENSE and has everything I need.
“Most of the media wanted to live in the Whistler area and then of course because of cost or whatever, the chief editors of newspapers saw much cheaper accommodations, and that is in Richmond. They don’t care if their guys are on a bus or not, so they moved them to Richmond and now they have to travel.”