The Rio 2016 Olympics are now in the history books. The horrors that some feared would befall the games did not, thankfully, seem to materialize. I am a big fan of the Olympics for several reasons but primarily because they give me an opportunity to see sports that I rarely see other than during the Olympics – team handball, field hockey, and table tennis (certainly not the ping-pong of your childhood) to name a few.
In Canada the rights to broadcast the Olympics belong to the CBC through 2024. But the CBC partners with other Canadian sports channels to provide great coverage. At any given time, from about seven in the morning until well after midnight viewers had a choice of up to six English channels presenting live events, and several more in French. A handy graphic appeared from time to time in the upper right-hand corner of the screen informing viewers about what was on the other channels at that time. Because of the one hour time difference between Rio and eastern North America live events could be aired in their entirety, which is much better than a series of highlights.
For the most part commentators worked in pairs made up of a professional broadcaster and a former athlete. While all were pretty good, some stood out. Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) who is the go-to guy for all things hockey was great doing Olympic swimming. Former Olympic medalist Alexandre Despatie (@ADespatie) co-hosted the French-language morning show, but also contributed to the English broadcast prior to the closing ceremony.
So I can take a break until 2018 and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. For now it’s back to watching that other great sporting event, the US election campaign! I hope CNN doesn’t forget me.