2012 Olympic Games Start in One Week

Hard to believe, isn’t it? The London 2012 Olympics begin in less than one week with the first day of women’s football. Canada is in action to open the tournament against Japan. Just as CBC broadcast Canada’s pre-Opening Ceremony opener in Beijing four years ago, TSN and Sportsnet will show it this year. Sportsnet’s Gerry Dobson and TSN’s Jason de Vos will call the match. Everyone will also get their first look at CTV’s new Olympic studio in London.

Here is CTV’s press release.

Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium announced today coverage of its initial London 2012 event – Canada’s first qualifying round group match in women’s soccer against Japan. Live coverage begins two days before the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, July 25 at 11:30 a.m. ET on TSN, Sportsnet, RDS, CTVOlympics.ca, RDSolympiques.ca, as well as on the CTV Olympics London 2012 App.

Co-hosts of OLYMPIC DAYTIME ON CTV, James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger, lead studio coverage in London and will be joined by Prime Time Soccer Analyst Kara Lang, who was a member of the Canadian women’s soccer team at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Gerry Dobson handles play-by-play duties of the match, while Jason deVos analyzes the game in progress. Co-hosts of LONDRES 2012 à RDS Claude Mailhot and Alain Crête helm RDS’ studio coverage in London, while Jean Gounelle runs play-by-play alongside analyst Patrick Leduc.

Led by team captain and seven-time Canadian female player of the year Christine Sinclair, Canada faces reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Japan in the first match-up of Group F qualifying action.

Twelve teams split into three groups will be competing for gold in women’s soccer at London 2012 from July 25 to August 9, including:
Group E: Brazil, Cameroon, Great Britain, New Zealand
Group F: Canada, Japan, South Africa, Sweden
Group G: Colombia, France, North Korea, U.S.A

For the Consortium’s schedule of events during the London 2012 Olympic Games, visit the Bell Viewers’ Guide at CTVOlympics.ca/guide, RDSolympiques.ca/leguide, or download the CTV Olympics London 2012 App.

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CTV Brings Back Superbodies, Difference Makers and more

The Olympic Broadcast Consortium has announced a set of special features that will air on CTV, TSN and Sportsnet during the London 2012 Olympics. Returning features from Vancouver 2010 include Rick Hanson’s critically acclaimed “The Difference Makers” and my personal favourite “Superbodies”.

Stephen Brunt is also returning to do a series of essays. I hope CTV doesn’t overuse him. Since his memorable closing essay in Vancouver Brunt has done similar features on the Hamilton Tiger Cats, the UEFA Champions League and more. Brunt’s essays are usually great, but what made his closing essay in Vancouver so memorable was how little he was on CTV during the two weeks before.

Here is CTV’s press release with more details.

Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium announced today its features, overwhelmingly embraced by Canadians during Vancouver 2010, will return for the London 2012 Olympic Games. These acclaimed productions include Canadian Performances, Difference Makers with Rick Hansen, The Experts, Gold Medal Moments, Snapshots, Gemini Award-winning Superbodies, and Upclose. The insightful Stephen Brunt Essay also returns as a multi-part series. In addition, the new feature Raising an Olympian pays tribute to the sacrifices and unwavering support from moms of Canadian Olympic athletes. Features will air during the Games on multiple Consortium platforms, including CTV, RDS, Sportsnet, TSN, V, CTVOlympics.ca, and RDSolympiques.ca.

The cornerstone of the Consortium’s coverage has always been to deliver the high-quality stories of athletes in the most honest and authentic way. Led by the three-time Gemini Award-winning producer Don Young, this year’s features include, among others, Canadian women’s soccer team captain Christine Sinclair, who is hoping to lead her team to gold; Clara Hughes, one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians; and Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, who was interviewed in Kingston, Jamaica after he received an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies.

“Storytelling has always been the foundation of our content plan,” said Rick Chisholm, Executive Vice-President, Broadcasting, Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium. “It was an easy decision to bring back these remarkable signature features, now with a new Summer athlete focus. Each will undoubtedly strike an emotional chord and provide another rich layer of engagement to help viewers in getting to know these athletes even better.”

Canadian Performances
Presented by RONA

This feature highlights positive news stories of the day involving Canadian athletes at London 2012, including top 10 Canadian performances and outstanding Canadian results. Watch Canadian Performances presented by RONA during OLYMPIC MORNING, OLYMPIC DAYTIME, and OLYMPIC PRIME TIME throughout the Games.

Difference Makers
Presented by RBC

Hosts Rick Hansen (English-language series) and Chantal Petitclerc (French-language series) share stories of inspiration and hope through the eyes of Canadian Olympians, who reveal an important person who has made a difference in their lives. Athletes in this series include:
• Soccer player Christine Sinclair who opens up about her cherished coach Clive Charles
• Swimmer Brent Hayden who explains how his karate teacher Tom McDonagh changed his life

The Experts
Presented by Hotels.com

In this fun feature, professional athletes take on the ultimate challenge – an Olympic sport! From table tennis to trampoline, London 2012 Olympic hopefuls show the ‘pros’ just who the Experts really are. Athletes in this series include:
• Olympic gold medallists in women’s hockey Tessa Bonhomme and Jennifer Botterill go underwater with Canada’s national senior synchronized swimming team
• The Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia accept a ping pong duel from table tennis stars Xavier Thérien and Max Xia

Gold Medal Moments
Presented by McDonald’s

Gold Medal Momentscapture an unforgettable image from a Canadian or international gold medal-winning performance each day during London 2012. Viewers can watch Gold Medal Moments presented by McDonald’s during OLYMPIC DAYTIME and OLYMPIC PRIME TIME throughout the Games.

Raising an Olympian
Presented by P&G

Three-time World Cup medallist and Olympian Kelly VanderBeek fronts this candid feature, which focuses on the critical role a mom plays in championing her child’s Olympic dreams. Told first-hand by moms of six Canadian Olympic athletes, Raising an Olympian follows their emotional journeys in London, giving a raw look at the highs and lows experienced within a family – before and after the medals have been awarded. Watch Raising an Olympian presented by P&G throughout the Games.

Snapshots

The Snapshots feature is a compelling look into one aspect of an athlete’s life. Athletes profiled in this series include:
• Rowing coxswain Brian Price who fought and defeated cancer as a boy – the cancer stunted his growth but left him the perfect weight and size to be a coxswain
• Wrestler Carol Huynh, whose family fled war-torn Vietnam for Canada in the 1970s – but their new life in northern B.C. was far from easy as the only Asian family in town

Superbodies
Presented by Lexus

In this Gemini Award-winning series, Dr. Greg Wells gives a rare look at the inner workings of an Olympian’s body when they perform their sport through a combination of 3D computer imaging and highly-focused production shooting. Sports in this series include:
• The balance beam
• Weightlifting
• Diving

Upclose
Presented by Chevrolet

This feature illustrates dramatic stories of struggle and sacrifice told in the voices of Canada’s Olympic athletes. This series includes:
• Aboriginal boxer Mary Spencer from the Cape Croker reserve, who pulled herself out of hardship by committing to being the best female boxer on the planet
• Clara Hughes, one of Canada’s most decorated and lauded athletes ever decides – at 39 – that she wants to return to her bike and go for gold one more time.

As Executive Producer, Documentaries and Features, Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, Don Young is responsible for creating the inspiring features poised to galvanize Canadians during London 2012. A member of the Consortium’s Gemini Award-winning production team for Vancouver 2010, Young won a 2010 Gemini Award for Best Sports Analysis or Commentary (Program, Series or Segment) for Superbodies, a series he helped create and produce. In total, he has won three Gemini Awards during his 34-year career as a critically-acclaimed producer.

Dubbed a master storyteller by colleagues and media alike, Young’s trademark is to infuse substance and imagination into his works. On top of producing, Young has also written and directed several high-profile documentaries, including U2’s Music Rising: the Story of Post-Katrina New Orleans. The Calgary-native is a graduate of the University of Alberta.