This is the first year in my lifetime that CBC has not been the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games in Canada. Although CTV is doing a fine job, it’s almost like watching Hockey Night in Canada without the original theme — something’s missing.
I walked around the CBC broadcast centre in Vancouver yesterday and got some thoughts from nightly news anchor, Ian Hanomansing.
Not being the official broadcaster of the Olympics comes with many restrictions. “The big thing is that when it comes to the footage of the actual events, what the Olympic Movement calls the field of play,” explained Hanomansing. CBC cannot use images without heavy restrictions such as a wait period of 24 hours before posting any footage from that field of play.
“It’s frustrating for us at the CBC because we’ve so often been the Olympics rights holder in the past but the thing now is that we’re in a position that many other broadcasters are in. CNN is in this position, Global is in this position and so we find a way to still cover the sports with still pictures and a little bit of footage after that 24 hour period is over.”
Hanomansing wasn’t completely disheartened however, he’s continued to tell stories, do interviews, and really capture what’s been going on in the city. “The other thing you do is you focus on the story outside of the field of play – so the story about the city, the story about the pavilions, about people trying to get tickets, today I’m doing a story about the cauldron,” he said. “So there are tons of things you can do especially when it’s in your hometown.”
Having covered five previous Olympic Games, starting with Atlanta in 1996 so I asked what was his favourite part of being a broadcaster is during these times, whether as an official rights holder or not. He immediately brought up the athletes.
“The Canadian Olympians are everything you would hope Canadian Olympians would be. They are almost without exception humble and just you know they have fascinating stories.” On his new nightly program The City he’s been able to interview past Olympians as well such as Daniel Igali and Ross Rebagliati. “They fit that stereotype perfectly. They’re just so interesting to talk to and so nice and yet they were at one time, the best in the world at what they do so that’s been the fascinating thing about the Olympics.”
I know many people are missing the CBC as the official broadcaster but rest assured, they’re hard at work bringing you even more stories, from the crowds and from the public side of the fences, continuing to tell our stories.
They’re broadcasting nightly from the corner of Georgia and Hamilton from the plaza as well as their street-side studio. Spectators are very welcome.