Vancouver Journal #11: Tonight, "The Best Event at the Olympics"

“So, I heard that short track on Friday is ‘the best event at the Olympics’ – in particular the relay.”  Those words were spoken to me while on-set by NBC morning show anchor Terry Gannon just prior to the show yesterday. Short track, and it signature event the relay are all the buzz throughout town. Wednesday night’s women’s gold medal relay race was just another example of why. In the final laps, the Korean team made a slightly awkward pass on the leading Chinese team, and a bobble from clicked skates resulted in a disqualification to Korea, notching up China, Canada, and a very lucky out-of-contention USA team into the medals. But the drama didn’t stop on-ice. Subsequent to the decision, the organizers have received over 22,000 angry emails from Korean supporters. Furthermore, Jim Hewisch, the Australian referee who made the questionable call has received multiple death threats both here and at home and security at the rink has been beefed up.

Cap all this off with new press airing regarding a bomb threat to the Australian embassy tied again to that race, and the circus continues. Earlier this week I was in the elevator at the USA house with Michael Phelps (who was at the Saturday event) and that was all he and his friends were still talking about – which made a quick introduction and photo op an easy ask:

 I turned to Terry Gannon, nodded and confirmed – “yes, it really is the best event.” His response was, “I have to find a way to be there – sounds fantastic.”

 Tonight Apolo Ohno and Simon Cho will attempt to qualify for the 500m gold medal race against a tough field of Canadians including World Champion Charles Hamelin of Canada, and the Korean contingent including world record holder Sung Si-Bak. The ladies will conclude their 1000m with the gold medal race – hopefully Katherine Reutter will earn a well-deserved medal. Finally, the last race of these Olympics, the men’s 5000 meter relay, with 5 teams and 20 skaters all circling the ice at the same time. Confusing? Hopefully my diagrams airing tonight will help.

Want to know more about the sport? Follow this link:

We will be live tonight for the men’s 500’s, and “Elvised” for the womens races and relay (very slight delay). If you watch any events from this Olympics – I highly encourage you not to miss tonight. I’m pretty excited that more of my powerpoint handiwork has been made into on-air animatics – attached are two of the powerpoint animations that you will likely see aired tonight. Ted gave me a shout-out on Wed. night for the relay diagram (see snapshot)

The buzz is in the air here, and the energy tonight will be amazing - I should probably get earplugs, as in Torino the final night had my ears ringing for almost 24 hours. Here’s our full schedule – racing starts at 6pm Pacific – 8pm Central:

 Friday, February 26th   – 5th day of competition

9:00am – Talent Editorial Meeting – Gaudelli, Moossa, Robinson, Gabel, Joyce & Coyle

10:00am – Edit – Vanacore/Schwarz –

12:00pm – Production Meeting @ Pacific Coliseum – all Production personnel

1:30pm – Fax

2:30pm – Lunch

3:30pm – Camera Meeting

4:00pm – all talent arrive

4:45pm – all cams on

4:50pm – Skaters Warm – up (ends at 5:40pm)

5:30pm – rehearse talent

6:00pm – Men’s 500 M – Quarterfinals 

6:14pm – Women’s 1000M – Quarterfinals

6:43pm – Men’s 500 M – Semifinals

6:52pm – Women’s 1000 M – Semifinals

7:13pm – Men’s 500 M  – B Final (places 5 – 8)

7:17pm – Men’s 500 M  – A Final (Medal event)

7:23pm – Women’s 1000 M – B Final (places 5 – 8)

7:28pm – Women’s 1000 M – A Final (Medal event)

7:50pm – Men’s 5000 M Relay B Final (places 5 – 8)

8:03pm – Men’s 5000 M Relay A Final (Medals)