2008 Olympics will be China's "coming out party"
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | 06:16 PM ET
It is the oldest civilization on earth, but in 2008 China finally comes of age.
The number 8 signifies prosperity in Chinese culture, so it is appropriate that at 8 minutes past 8 o’clock on the 8th day of the 8th month 2008, the Games of the 29th Olympiad will open in Beijing. The opening ceremonies may be the largest debutante ball in history, a true “coming out party” for China.
CBC’s coverage of the Games will be mindful of the fact that China itself will be a leading character in the drama of the Olympics. As a leading lady, China will be seen by some as a villain for political and economic reasons, or a bully for what may be perceived as its potential athletic dominance, or perhaps as a sympathetic character that is trying to come to terms with its past while learning to fit in with its future responsibilities to the world.
China will be scrutinized
Regardless, these Games will be the stage for China to reveal itself. There will be no hiding from the world’s spotlight and the constant prying of the sporting and news media. While many an activist have been critical of the awarding of the Games to China, the world’s scrutiny has accompanied the Olympics, and that in itself should be a good thing.
Our production teams have been gearing up for the challenge of balancing the telling of sporting, cultural and political stories during the 16 days in August. Of course the athletes will create the greatest drama, and we hope you will come to know them and follow their journeys along with us.
We have announced our anchor team - our lead storytellers - for these Games. They combine extensive Olympic experience with a wider world view of the importance of this historic event.
Ron MacLean will anchor our prime time programming, starting every evening at 6 p.m. ET. Ron brings his unique style and encyclopaedic knowledge to our biggest program. He is one of the greatest story tellers in the business and will be a thoughtful guide for our viewers through the competition and news of the day.
At midnight ET, Ian Hanomansing of CBC News takes over for our Pacific Prime time coverage. Ian has covered a number of Olympics and brings a passion for sports as well as a keen eye for what our viewers will find interesting. His anchoring skills are well known and he is a great addition to our team.
Mornings in Canada are prime time in Beijing, the busiest competition time. So we’ve teamed our Olympic sport specialist, Scott Russell with Diana Swain of CBC News. These two will guide you through the medal performances and breaking stories while remembering that most of you will be just starting your day.
Of course, most of our programming will be from the sporting arenas, and we have gathered our award winning teams of play by play commentators and analysts. Many of them have done multiple games with CBC and bring the experience needed to guide you through the importance and drama of each competition.
CBC Radio’s Sook-Yin Lee is spending almost a month in China with our research chief, Qi Ma shooting and producing some of the background stories that you will see during our coverage. Their topics will cover everything from ancient traditions to modern night-clubbing.
One of CBC News’ best storytellers, Mark Kelly will also be a part of our coverage team. Mark’s greatest ability is to bring viewers inside his stories. We will simply turn him loose to find the “gems” from behind the scenes.
These Games will also mark some historic media firsts for Olympic coverage which will allow you to enjoy the coverage in whole new ways.
This will be the first fully High Definition Olympics in Canada. Each venue will provide stunning images. CBC and our cable partners TSN will be broadcasting totally - if you subscribe to HD - in HD. This is a logistical and technical challenge, but the pictures will be worth it. The Olympics have never been this spectacular.
Special coverage on the web
Also, our web coverage will add new ways of following what you want, when you want. We will provide multiple live streams of various sports in their entirety. Certain sports will be available live and unedited direct from the arenas showing each and every competitor.
Other video and interactive features will be available at CBCSports.ca for the first time in Olympic history. These will include on demand viewing of our Olympic profiles and features and many other internet only elements that will create a depth of coverage never seen before.
There are many great Canadian medal hopes for these Games. Our production crews have been out profiling all of them. You will learn their stories not only at the Games, but in the lead up to Aug. 8 on Countdown to Beijing, which airs Mondays on CBC at 7:30 p.m. You can also get to know them through interviews on CBC Radio, CBC News, Newsworld and online. These athletes will inspire us throughout the 16 days, and it is our hope that you get to know them well ahead of time and follow them both before and after the Olympics.
It is our job to make sure that we completely tell the stories of our athletes at these games, and the international stars that will emerge. There will be triumphant stories as well as athletic tragedies. We will chronicle both. It is also our job to make sure that the athletes don’t get overshadowed by China itself as a character, but share the spotlight together.
I really believe that in 20 years, we will look back at 2008 as a pivotal point in the history of the world. It will have been the year of China. The year China took its biggest steps toward becoming the next great world economic and political superpower.
I hope our coverage of the Olympics will cover not only the great sporting moments that are part of any Games, but will document this awesome coming of age.
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About the Author
Scott Moore is Executive Director of CBC Sports.
Prior to coming to CBC in 2007, Mr. Moore held various senior positions at CTV, TSN and Sportsnet.
As a producer, his credits include seven Olympic Games, Stanley Cups, Grey Cups, world junior championships, figure skating and auto racing, as well as various news and entertainment specials.
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