February 26, 2010

 

Pt 1: Olympic Journalism - A lot of you have probably gotten caught up in the excitement of the Vancouver Olympics. It's understandable. Watching some of Canada's best athletes compete for gold ... well it just feels natural to root for them.

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Pt 2: Microeconomy - There are a lot of ways to measure the financial impact of the Vancouver Olympics. A 1.76 Billion-dollar budget for the Vancouver Olympic Committee. 250,000 visitors to Vancouver in just 17 days. Or 50,000-dollars-a-day in revenue for The Royal Canadian Mint.

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Pt 3: Hematide - There's a lot of buzz in pharmaceutical circles about a small, California-based company called Affymax and its new anemia-fighting drug, Hematide. Hematide isn't on the market yet.

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Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

It's Friday, February 26th.

Grammar critics are pointing CTV's official Olympic anthem should actually read "I believe in the power of you and me" not "I believe in the power of you and I."

Currently, You know ... It's like rain, on your wedding day.

This is The Current.

Olympic Journalism

A lot of you have probably gotten caught up in the excitement of the Vancouver Olympics. It's understandable. Watching some of Canada's best athletes compete for gold ... well it just feels natural to root for them.

But journalists, we're supposed to be able to maintain a safe, respectable and somewhat clinical distance from those kinds of emotions. And that is where David Eby says we have failed. He is the Executive Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. He has been monitoring the media in the lead-up to The Olympics and during the games. And he says critical journalism has gone missing in action. David Eby was in Vancouver.

For a closer look at how the media has covered these games we were joined by three seasoned journalists... the CBC's own Tom Harrington was in Whistler. The Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist, Gary Mason and freelance reporter Frances Bula were both in Vancouver.

Music Bridge

Artist: Thievery Corporation
Cd: Asia Lounge: 3rd Floor
Cut: 13, Demasked
Label: Audio Pharm
Spine: SPV 80000524


Listen to Part One:


Microeconomy

There are a lot of ways to measure the financial impact of the Vancouver Olympics. A 1.76 Billion-dollar budget for the Vancouver Olympic Committee. 250,000 visitors to Vancouver in just 17 days. Or 50,000-dollars-a-day in revenue for The Royal Canadian Mint.

Kathryn Gretsinger is The Current's Olympics watcher in Vancouver and she joined Jim Brown to tell us about some suddenly very profitable micro-economies.


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Hematide - Doctor/Athlete

There's a lot of buzz in pharmaceutical circles about a small, California-based company called Affymax and its new anemia-fighting drug, Hematide. Hematide isn't on the market yet.

But there is speculation that some Olympic athletes may already be using it as a performance enhancer. Hematide is closely related to EPO, the drug made notorious by Tour de France cyclists, distance runners and cross-country skiers.

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky knows a lot about how these drugs work. He's Canada's ski-orienteering champion. He's also a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University. And he is closely involved in the fight against sports doping. Mark Tarnopolsky was in Hamilton, Ontario.

Hematide - WADA

Other cousins of EPO have made unwelcome appearances at past Olympics. In a saga that lasted months, Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott had her bronze medal from the 2002 Winter Olympics upgraded to gold, after the two Russian skiers who finished ahead of her were disqualified for testing positive for DPO - Darbepoetin, a drug that boosts red blood cell production. We aired a clip of Beckie Scott speaking to CBC Radio's Robin Brown in 2002.

It took many years to develop a test for EPO. But the hope is that a test for Hematide will come together much more quickly. And to that end, Hematide's manufacturer, Affymax, has been co-operating with the World Anti-Doping Agency. We requested an interview with someone from Affymax. A spokesperson told us that no one from the company would be able to speak to us. But the company did provide us with this statement:

At this point, we do not know of any confirmed cases where Hematide has been used as a performance-enhancement agent.

We have been working in close collaboration with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to assist their efforts in detecting Hematide. Affymax supports the mission of WADA and shares its founding principle that "doping" endangers the health of athletes and undermines the integrity of sports. In addition, Affymax places a top priority on patient safety. As such, we have established robust quality control processes to regulate inventory and to satisfy global quality standards for the worldwide conduct of clinical trials
.

WADA is the global anti-doping watchdog that monitors the global fight againist doping. It's funded by the International Olympic Committee and governments around the world. David Howman is the Director-General of WADA. He was in Montreal.

Doc Promo

Coming up next week on The Current ... We'll continue our series Work In Progress with the story of two people who have teamed up to form an uncommon and unlikely team as artists, friends and business partners. We aired a preview of Sandra Bourque's documentary, Two Brushes, Four Eyes. You can hear it, next week on The Current on Tuesday March 2nd.

Last Word - Tom Brokaw

Before we go ... there aren't many geographical sibling rivalries more intense than Canada and the United States. That was borne out again when Canada and the U.S. met in the women's hockey final at the Olympics last night. And no doubt a few Canadians were muttering, "Damn Yankees" when America's medal tally swelled during the first week of the Winter Games, foiling Canada's goal of Owning the Podium. But it seems few things tickle Canadians' pride like fulsome praise from south of the border.

Before the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, NBC aired a six-minute video of its former news anchor Tom Brokaw giving Americans a primer on Canada ... extolling the virtues of Canada's beauty, our wartime heroics and our value as a neighbour and ally. Meanwhile, in Canada, Brokaw's tribute has been taken as a love letter to the Great White North and has taken off as the number one topic on Twitter. So we ended the program with Tom Brokaw's tribute to, well, us.


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