Will you be watching the Games?

Ann Medina

Ann Medina


Who's got your interest?  Canadian summer and winter medalist Clara Hughes ...or Usain Bolt - the fastest man alive?  

With the Games underway in Britain, many Canadians are parked in front of their televisions immersed in both the exhilaration and despair of all-out athletic competition. Many are not, because they feel the Games have lost their original spirit. Will you be watching?

With guest host Ann Medina.

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So. The Olympics are on!!! Although they officially began on Wednesday (surprised me!) no doubt most of us got the cue with Friday's opening ceremonies...not to mention the weeks and weeks and weeks!! of news stories about security flops, sponsorship flaps, doped up athletes, 18-thousand military on security duty, profiles, scandals, controversies yadda yadda yadda. Yes...by now...we all know! But will you tune in?

Have you been checking out the star Athletes this week-end? ...like Emily Haymens who today became the first Canadian to win medals in 4 Consecutive Olympics when she and Jennifer Abel won a Bronze in Synchronized diving...or Clara Hughes who didn't break the record for the most Olympic medals won by a Canadian when she lost in cycling ...or Michael Phelps who failed in his first attempt to beat the all-time record of 19 medals! And will you tune in to see whether Jamaican Usain Bolt keeps his 'World's Fastest Man' title!

Will you be watching a sport that you love! OR watching a sport that you never watch except for the Olympics... like.... maybe diving...or Volleyball?

Me? Something tells me I'll be doing all of the above...because....that's what usually happens! I start off thinking oohhhh...maybe I'll watch gymnastics (those of us who remember Nadia Kamin-EE-chi got hooked on the sport back in the 70's)...so I watch, but then the TV will briefly switch over to another competition...and then...I get interested in THAT sport and then.....I'm hooked. ...once on fencing of all things!

And...this summer, there's even more reason to get hooked. You don't have to be stuck in front of your TV INSIDE on a gorgeous day!!! These days...with my PlayBook...or you with your iPhone ...we can watch it anywhere! Well...sometimes! Despite claims to the contrary, the live streaming has this frustrating habit of going blank...totally ignoring any efforts to refresh!! Grrrrrrr!

In fact there are A lot of 'Grrrrrr's' this year. For example, I'm not allowed to utter a number of phrases due to various Sponsorship agreements. I couldn't believe it!! The 'Rules' have (Column 'A' words)...like Games and 2012...and (Column 'B' words)...like medals and London!!! And...like a prix fix menu, you can only pick one from Column A and you can't combine a word from Column A with one from Column B.

And if you're an athlete...excited at watching a team-mate win a medal for Canada...fine! But better not tweet any cell video of it to your buddy's Parents back home. Total no no! That's a gold grrrr!!

And that leads some people to simply say enough!!! They're sick of it all and won't be watching the Olympics. It's become too much 'money, money. Money'!!

Others...are glued to the TV.

What about you....

Tell us what ...or who you're watching and why? If you are deliberately not watching ...we want to hear about that too. It is unquestionably one of the world's biggest spectacles ...but has it gone too far?

Our question today: "Are you watching the Olympic Games?"

I'm Ann Medina ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius satellite radio channel 159 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


  • Paula Findlay
    First time Olympian at the London Games. From Edmonton, she was the first Canadian Triathlete to win a World Championship series event. In 2011, she won three more World Championships.

  • Sandra Colaire
    Mother of Canadian Olympian Nikkita Holder from Pickering, Ont. competing in the 100 metre hurdles.

  • David Newland
    Singer, musician, and writer. He's been writing about the Olympics for Macleans online.

  • Mark Tewksbury
    Canada's Chef de Mission at the London Olympics. Gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the 100 metres backstroke.

  • Anne Merklinger
    CEO of Own the Podium, a non-profit organization that invests in athletes training with an end to winning medals at the Olympics. She was a member of Canada's National Swim team and a competitive curler who went to the National championships a number of times.



Globe and Mail

National Post


Toronto Star

Ottawa Citizen

Winnipeg Free Press



Three points about these Olympics. Of course I'll be watching being the voyeur that I am.  Also being the bit of an athlete that I am, I, living in Ottawa, where we have a (sometimes) frozen skate way and oodles of bikeways I know how it feels to cycle or to skate full out for five uninterrupted kilometers and only shave mere seconds from my previous best time. I know a tiny bit about that pain.  Second, the great thing is that the Summer Olympics have no sport which Canadians rather falsely call their own. Until Olympic Lacrosse shows up in the future we can enjoy competing and losing or occasional winning in the summers games without the anxiety which goes along with that humongous feather of hockey testing our spines.  The third thing is that it gives us, albeit a short one, but a positive intermission and distraction from the pisspot we've allowed our planet to become. 

Ottawa, Ontario


Every country thinks its games have to be still more lavish than all previous games.  It becomes a matter of politician ego/status display. The problem is the people who are paying for this are the poorest citizens. They were told they had to cinch their belts because of austerity. Austerity for the poor, champagne for the Olympics. I see athletes putting so much effort into something that ultimately does not matter.  I wish young people could put that dedication into saving our planet.

Victoria, British Columbia


I'm not watching the Olympics or following any of the events.  While I wish the athletes well, the games are increasingly about security and weaponry and money, and not about amateur sport.

Beach volleyball requires female athletes to wear skimpy little two-piece outfits while the males are covered up in long shorts - beyond the overt sexism of this event, the fact that a crew of British soldiers is required to stand on guard while they "play" seems ridiculously far from any notion of sport.

Cumberland, British Columbia


I watch them every time, because I recognize the efforts made and the challenges overcome by all the athletes who have made it to the games. We owe it to the athletes to support them by watching, and I do it for the sheer excitement of the various contests. I hope Canada wins a lot of medals, but if the medals go to other nations, so be it. All the athletes are doing their best and that's the point.

Dryden, Ontario


I thought I would watch: I upgraded (I hope temporarily) to digital cable, high definition just for the occasion.   I caught part of the opening ceremony at a friend's house and took comfort that my PVR was recording it. Except it wasn't. I caught women's diving for a while today, then saw the end of the medal ceremony but not the enough of it.  There is just too much else going on this time of year, or tasks to do.  It is much easier to focus on watching when it is winter. But thanks for mentioning the streaming video.  I will give that a try.

Ottawa, Ontario


The Olympics, I could not care less about them.  I am definitely not a sports fan, and am bored by the extensive coverage.The whole thing is a big attempt at commercialization.  I don't watch the Games, I have very little interest in them, and I have total apathy about the medal outcome.  Big flipping deal.

Freelton, Ontario


No. Why? I am 56 and this is the first time I now say no. I started out so happy watching the opening ceremonies and was truly disappointed when my husband came home after work to watch the reply at 4:30 only to find that the network had left so much of the original show out that we had to see it again on an American channel. The Canadian coverage so far is terrible. I have been so upset every time we have tried to watch something.

Victoria, British Columbia


Official Canadian national provider of Olympic coverage does not broadcast over the air in Newfoundland. Their coverage schedule on the official website does not even lower itself to include the Newfoundland time zone. My province's only option for video coverage is to pay for a TV feed or to pay for an internet. CBC should have the Olympics at least until such time as the other so-called provider learns the whole map of Canada.

St John's,  Newfoundland


Not Watching. Sport, like so much else, has been turned into business and hype (and corruption). Instead of emphasis on masses participating in sport at any level and benefiting from it physically and mentally, there is  emphasis on excellence, wining, medals, nationalism, often at any cost and the (obese) masses are enticed to -- watch. What benefit is there from that to the mankind? Drug research? Drug detection? Advertising?

Muskoka, Ontario


Tuned in to CTV this morning (just after 11:00AM) and in the 15 minutes I watched there was five seconds of competition coverage, a slow motion replay of a single synchro dive. The remaining 14 minutes and 55 seconds was advertising, talking heads behind a desk and filler aerial shots of the Thames etc. Five seconds out of 15 minutes!!!  I guess my days of watching the Olympics are behind me.
Mississauga, Ontario


Quite frankly I thing the Olympics is a muilti-billion dollar boondoggle. To spend 6 to 7 billion on a two week extravaganza to me is a travesty. It would be nice if the world had a Environmental activity event.

Salmon Arm, British Columbia


A little and perhaps less than in the past. Perhaps part of it is the negativity that seems to be associated with these games but to be truthful I'm a winter sports fan. So when Sochi's on the tube I'll watch with a passion and not just for our own athletes. At the same time I've been following the cyclists and triathletes with real interest but was doing this before the games.  For Canada to have athletes of the caliber and class that they demonstrate is a testament to their representing everything that can be good about amateur sport. I wonder though about the national tendency to expect the world of our athletes every 4 years without always providing the support needed to get there. The Own the Podium program that preceded Vancouver is only part of the puzzle. I believe that we need a refocus in our society on how sports both competitive and recreational can help energize a national strategy on being active and living healthy too. Go Canada.

Winnipeg, Manitoba


I am definitely watching the Olympics! I watched the opening ceremony and loved it! It was a great show! I've been watching the sports as I'm able, and thoroughly enjoying them! It is a wonderful event that is exciting and inspiring!

Richmond, British Columbia


I don't watch Olympics because this means having to see all those NBA, Tennis and other players all over again.  Boring.  Have seen and heard enough of them for far too long.  There needs to be two Olympics.  One for selling stuff.  The second featuring non-professional athletes.

C. E.
Burlington, Ontario


I would really enjoy to tune in and watch some of the Olympics but it seems technology is against me.  I don't have cable so I've had to use a digital converter box since the switch from analog last year, which doesn't allow me to pick up CTV despite my efforts to scan the system and find it.  (It does get CBC, by the way.)  Similarly, I can't seem to watch any recaps on the CTV website - I click and click on the right buttons but nothing happens, perhaps because I have a Mac.  It's not really clear.  I even came home on Friday specifically to watch the opening ceremonies but couldn't find it online easily at all. Pretty much the same thing happened with the Vancouver Games so I missed those too.  Too bad.  I (obviously) don't watch a lot of tv but I am interested in following some of the Olympics.  However, it's way too nice outside to spend any more time fiddling around with technology trying to access it, so I give up.

Ottawa, Ontario


Why can't we call it climb the podium.  It is about improving performance.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

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