Tuesday, February 14, 2006



So as my Olympics "home page", I've been using torino2006.org. Your preferences may vary, but I find it terrific; easy to find which events are in progress and which are upcoming, as well as good continuous updating.

The unexpected highlight, though, is the writing of the front page stories. The author is clearly someone for whom English is not their mother tongue (pen?), but frankly, I quite like it. Sample, from the front page as of 3:45PM MT (my italics):
Russian Svetlana Zhurova won gold in the women’s 500 metres, in front of Chinese Manli Wang and Hui Ren. It is an important gold for Zhurova that came after winning the World championships sprint in January. Especially after the criticism she received from her federation because she preferred to be mother to little Yaroslav than skater. For the Chinese team the hope of winning the first Olympic gold will have to wait until Vancouver 2010. They collected two very precious medals, however. [...] Things went badly for Italian Chiara Simionato, finishing 10th. She compromised her chances of a medal in the first 500m, with 39.02sec, 79 hundredths behind Zhurova. In the second heat she got an encouraging 38.66sec that, as she herself admits, gives her hope for her speciality, the 1000m...

And from earlier in the day:
Another surprise. In the men’s combined in Sestriere none of the favourites won but once again, as happened in the downhill, the outsider Ted Ligety won. The twenty-one year old from the United States, less mad than his fellow team mate Bode Miller, has the most elastic legs ever. Before yesterday he had not had a victory in the World Cup, but had spent a season always at the top of the slalom.

Delightful. Just delightful.


Are you sure that wasn't ghost-written by a Wing beat writer?

When I was a student journalist in Ottawa my favourite press releases game from the Ottawa Gee-Gees hockey team. Their PR guy was very nice, but also very francophone and his English translations were always litteral.

It was great fun to read his broken English reports. I'll be sure to check out the Turino site.

It should be noted that tonight on CBC, Brian Williams showed what he called "the million dollar question" to Wayne Gretzky. It cut to a video feed of Gretzky looking at reporters, and a voice emanating from the ethereal matter: "Wayne, Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun." Coke actually fizzed out of my nose.

By the way, is CBC replaying entire games later in the day, or just chunks? I don't know how I feel about getting up at 5 in the morning to watch us play Italy.

No shit Andy? And I missed it!

I just left a comment elsewhere about that very thing. I listened to a radio interview with a guy in Turin from Time Canada, who relayed what I'm sure is that very same question.

Something about, "Aren't you ashamed that you're taking media attention away from Renner and Scott?", like Gretzky has one iota of control over what the Toronto Sun puts on their front page or where they send their reporters.

Chris Selley had a pretty good observation tonight:

..."this will continue to be the story no matter what anyone says" is the quintessential sportswriter's phrase...

I don't wish to damn all sportswriters by any means (really!), but he's right, and it's a cop-out. Someone in Simmons' position should either admit (A) "it's what I want to write about most" or (B) "it's what I believe people want to read about most". It shouldn't be that tough.

Yup, that was the question. My response would have been, "well, why the f$#ck are you here, Steve? I don't write the stories. If you are so worried about taking attention away from the amateur athletes, why don't you waddle out of here and give them some attention?"

I hate it when reporters act like they are empty vassals through which information mysteriously just flows. Like they don't shape the news. Like the stories just create themselves. The Gretzky story is a "story" because they keep asking questions and writing about it. It's not me, or you, or anyone else making it a story. No one called me tonight and asked me what should be in the paper. Hell, Australia could sink into the ocean tomorrow, and I wouldn't have a clue that it had happened unless somebody told me. That very telling is a determination of what the writer and editors feel is important, a taking of random, floating pieces of objective information and shaping it into a narrative they hope we bite on.

Speaking of the MSM, anyone else notice Cosh's absence on the board? I hope he isn't locked up and hiding in the Western Standard offices with Ezra Levant. Perhaps we should start a contest of cartoon drawings of Ayn Rand to draw him out?

I'm still waiting for my first letter of complaint about reprinting the cartoons that comes from someone other than a journalist. On the evidence before me, Canadian Muslims have greater respect for freedom of speech than the people whose livelihoods depend most obviously upon it. Even I wasn't cynical enough to foresee that.

If you haven't seen the cartoons, then you're in no position to criticize someone else for publishing them.

If you have seen them... then the same thing goes double.

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