About what I expected-- highlights only of the 10k, clips of only the top 3 field event finishers, 20 freakin' minutes of one false-start-delayed semifinal of the 100h. And Carol was only marginally awful.
But then it struck me. What's really missing is the emotion. The commentators (and production in general) just lacked excitement for anything that was going on. Seems the last time I can remember real WC passion coming through the TV was back at Tokyo in '91. Of course, that was when NBC did a decent job with the whole thing. With every meet on cable recently it seems the announcers just don't really care about what they're covering.
In contrast, I've been glued to my computer screen for the past 4 days, entranced by the live TEXT messaging on the Eurosport site! (yes, with all the exclamation points!!!). The enthusiasm of the reporter is just wonderful, and reading as the events unfold gives me a great little vicarious experience, infinitely more excitement than I had on my couch tonight.
Hey, they're not perfect. Don Whitman is at least as bad as Carol Lewis, and I hope Mike Smith had more emotion as an athlete than he does as an announcer.
BUT . . . it's obvious that CBC cares. They're putting up 26 hours of coverage all in prime viewing hours, and they sent one of their top guys (Ron MacLean, Don Cherry's foil) to Paris. They put as much into this as the US networks put into the NBA Finals or the World Series.
If the CBC would replace their announcers with Larry Rawson and Dwight Stones, then we'd have a broadcast almost as good as being there in person.
Given the box the ESPN crew (production and announcing) was put in for its initial telecast on Tuesday, August 26 -- having to blend some same-day (Tuesday) events with those from earlier days, all in a two-hour period -- I thought it did a good job.
Yes, a lot of the coverage was scanty, but I doubt it was the decision of the crew in Paris to devote so few hours of coverage to the meet.
On the positive side, the coverage moved the events along at a good pace, in my opinion, and there were some good camera angles for the track events.
Would I rather have CBC coverage (which I was fortunate to receive during my years living in Buffalo, NY)? Absolutely. But last night's ESPN2 broadcast was no worse -- and probably better -- than most of ESPN/ESPN2's usual T&F coverage.
There shouldn't be a need for as much compression of events in the remaining nights' coverage, so hopefully things will improve.
>If the CBC would replace their
You've got to be
Rawson, though fairly knowledgeable and
>workmanlike, has no personality whatsoever. He
Rawson is a track nerd. Fits right in with some of the unemotional nerds on this board who are busy tssk tssking about everything that wouldn' have happened in 1936. Charlie Jones' call of Ben Johnson's WR is still the best track call I've ever heard.
Have you heard the '64 Olympics 10K call (the Billy Mills race)? It's on the web. Sends shivers up your spine.
Oh yeh, I forgot- anything older than Generation X-Y-Z alphabet soup is ancient and without merit.
Jones is okay as far as current American announcers go, but there's nothing to compare him too- he has no competition. I know he's a big track fan and loves the sport, which is a plus, but I have to admit his 'call' voice drives me up the wall. He calls EVERYTHING like the WR race you mentioned, whether the race has any significance or not. Tone it down and save the yelling for the REALLY spectacular performances. There are some baseball announcers like that too, that I hear on my DirecTV dish- they're constantly yelling, even when it's a midseason dull game.
Spectacular performances seem more spectacular when the excitement, volume and tone of announcer's voice is in proportion to the quality of the performance that is being shown. That means you need to tone it DOWN when the performance is less than spectacular.
I like Lawson pretty well- but he's a commentator, not a play-by-play man. The booth needs both.