London 2012 Q&A: Audrey Lacroix

Editors note: As part of the Canadian Sports Media Blog’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, I am happy to partner with Alexandre Duval to provide interviews with three of Canada’s Olympians. Alex has kindly provided these three interviews to the Canadian Sports Media Blog. One will appear each day through the Opening Ceremony. First up is swimmer Audrey Lacroix, who will swim in the women’s 100m butterfly in London.

Audrey jumped into a swimming pool for the first time at the age of six in her hometown of Pont-Rouge, Quebec, and has been addicted to her sport ever since. Now 28, she owns the Canadian record for the 200-metre fly, and her best career results include a 2nd place at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a 5th place finish at the 2007 World Championships.

Audrey finished 13th in the 200-metre fly event at the Beijing Olympic Games, in 2008. Less than a week before she stars in her second Olympic Games, I asked her seven questions, since seven is known to be a lucky number…

Alexandre Duval: Audrey, you will be swimming in the 200-metre fly competition at the London Olympic Games. Would you say it is a good thing for you to be able to focus on this single event, or would you have prefered to compete in other swimming events as well?

Audrey Lacroix: I have been training specifically for the 200-metre fly over the course of the year, knowing that my chances of qualifying for other events were not that high. I thus decided to focus exclusively on the 200-metre fly from the onset of the season.

AD: The experience you had at the 2008 Beijing Olympics allows you to head to London somewhat feeling like your are on familiar ground. Do you think you are better equipped to mount the podium than you were four years ago?

AL: Since I participated in the Olympic Games before, I know better which challenges we face in the Olympic environment. All Olympics, however, can be peculiar in their own ways, but I do believe that experimented athletes have more strategies to remain on top in that evironment. As to me, I think there will be as much emotion as there was four years ago; the main difference is that those emotions will not take me by surprise, meaning that I should be able to better cope with them.

AD: In the past few months, there have been many reports in Quebec’s media about your anxiety disorder. You even discussed it on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle. What did you do to overcome this problem and how do you feel days before the opening of the Olympic Games?

AL: A lot of work has been done with the whole team of the National Swimming Centre, where I train. Trainer Alain Delorme worked things out so that I was able to spend the months of (last) September and October focusing on the improvement of my general physical condition in order to help me better cope with the physical symptoms that come with my disorder. The team’s physician made sure I was medically followed in an appropriate way. She also touched base with a performance-specialized psychologist whom I have been working with on a weekly basis over a period of two months. Our nutritionist elaborated a bunch of strategies with me so that I would be able to gain back the weight I had lost due to my disorder and to make sure I would eat enough even on those days where I was anxious. Sport psychologist Wayne Halliwell also contributed by helping me focus on the task to accomplish and by helping be plan my performance peaks. My coach, Benoît Lebrun, has been very caring and patient throughout this process. He learned about anxiety disorders to better know how to manage different situations.

AD: Until the 31st of July – that is, the day of the 200-meter fly heats – on which element(s) will you work during your training sessions?

AL: Technically, over the past few months, I have been working on my starts, turns and finishes, because these were my weaknesses, they can be improved relatively easily, and changes in those areas can result in significant time gains.

AD: Do you display superstitious behaviour or do you perform wierd or funny rituals before a competition?

AL: I am not a superstitious person. I enjoy my little routine on the morning of the race, but there is nothing really unusual about it.

AD: If you end up winning a medal, will you:
• Cry?
• Faint?
• Jump all over the place hysterically?
• Eat everything that has been prohibited in the past months?
• Party all night?
• Do something else?
AL: I think I would jump a lot! But I would be to tired to party all night after that…

AD: Audrey, now that you are 28, how do you foresee the “post Olympic Games period”? Do you want to carry on with your career or do you already have other plans in mind?

AL: I may swim one more year. After that, I will probably undertake something in the world of communications since I studied in this field. I don’t know what I will do for sure, but maybe something related to the media?

About the author :
Alexandre Duval is a blogger for Merlin Assurance Auto. He is also currently completing his master’s degree in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Alexandre also studied in Toronto, in France, as well as in the United States, where he was an NCAA Division I tennis player.

2012 Olympic Football TV Schedule

Over the next two weeks the Canadian Sports Media Blog will feature sport-by-sport TV schedules for every Olympic sport that is broadcast live on Canada TV during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. I will post about two per night, so keep checking back to see the schedule for your favourite sport.

First up is football. Canada has qualified in the women’s football tournament by finishing second in CONCACAF Qualifying at home in Vancouver in January. Canada is ranked 7th in the world. They are joined in Group F by 2011 World Champions Japan, Sweden (ranked 4th in the world) and South Africa.

The men’s tournament is essentially an junior tournament with under-23 players. Each team is allowed three overage players as well. The men’s tournament will feature big name players including Aaron Ramsey, Daniel Sturridge, Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverly on the host British team. Other well-known players include Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez on Uruguay; Carlos Salcido on Mexico; Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Alexandre Pato on Brazil; and David de Gea, Jordi Alba, Javo Martinez and Juan Mata on Spain.

A total of 9 men’s games and 12 women’s games are scheduled to air on Canada’s Broadcast Consortium. Remember that this schedule is highly subject to change. Check back daily during The Games for an up-to-date broadcast schedule. All times are Atlantic Daylight Time, which is BST-4 and EDT+1.

Women’s Tournament
Wednesday 7/25, 12:30-3:00pm, Japan vs. Canada (Coventry Stadium) – TSN, SN
Saturday 7/28, 9:20-10:20am, Japan vs. Sweden (Coventry Stadium) – SN (jip)
Saturday 7/28, 10:45am-12:45pm, Canada vs. South Africa (Coventry Stadium) – CTV
Saturday 7/28, 1:20-3:00pm, United States vs. Colombia (Hampden Park) – TSN
Tuesday 7/31, 10:30am-12:30pm, Canada vs. Sweden (St. James’ Park) – SN
Tuesday 7/31, 1:15-3:15pm, United States vs. North Korea (Old Trafford) – TSN
Tuesday 7/31, 3:45-5:45pm, Great Britain vs. Brazil (Wembley Stadium) – TSN
Friday 8/3, 8:00-10:00am, Quarterfinal #1 (Hampden Park) – OLN
Friday 8/3, 3:30-5:30pm, Quarterfinal #4 (Coventry Stadium) – OLN
Monday 8/6, 1:00-3:00pm, Semifinal #1 (Wembley Stadium) – SN
Monday 8/6, 3:45-6:00pm, Semifinal #2 (Old Trafford) – TSN
Thursday 8/9, 9:00-11:00am, Bronze Medal Game (Coventry Stadium) – CTV
Thursday 8/9, 3:45-5:45pm, Gold Medal Game (Wembley Stadium) – TSN

Men’s Tournament
Sunday 7/29, 1:40-3:40pm, Brazil vs. Belarus (Old Trafford) – OLN
Tuesday 8/1, 1:00-3:00pm, Mexico vs. Switzerland (Millennium Stadium) – SN
Tuesday 8/1, 1:00-3:00pm, Spain vs. Morocco (Old Trafford) – OLN
Saturday 8/4, 9:15-10:30am, Quarterfinal #1 (Old Trafford) – TSN
Saturday 8/4, 10:30am-12:30pm, Quarterfinal #2 (Wembley Stadium) – OLN
Saturday 8/4, 1:00-3:00pm, Quarterfinal #3 (St. James’ Park) – TSN
Saturday 8/4, 3:30-6:00pm, Quarterfinal #4 (Millennium Stadium) – TSN
Tuesday 8/7, 1:00-3:00pm, Semifinal #1 (Wembley Stadium) – SN
Tuesday 8/7, 3:45-6:00pm, Semifinal #2 (Old Trafford) – SN
Friday 8/10, 3:45-5:45pm, Bronze Medal Game (Millennium Stadium) – SN
Saturday 8/11, 11:00am-1:30pm, Gold Medal Game (Wembley Stadium) – CTV

NBC Will Show 272.5 Hours of 2012 Olympics; still less than CBC in 2008

NBC has revealed it’s broadcast plans for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The main network will broadcast 272.5 hours of coverage, much of it on tape delay. Still, that is about ten hours less than what CBC showed in Beijing. Yes, Canadian broadcasting of the Olympics is at least four years ahead of our American counterparts. CTV will show upwards of 300 hours of coverage from London (exact numbers aren’t confirmed yet). Here is NBC’s press release with more information.

NBC will broadcast 272.5 hours of London Olympic coverage over 17 days this summer, the most extensive coverage ever provided by an Olympic broadcast network, and nearly 50 hours more than the 225 hours for Beijing in 2008. Swimming — including Michael Phelps’ quest to become the most decorated Olympian ever — track and field, gymnastics, diving, and beach volleyball, among other sports, will serve as the centerpieces of NBC’s coverage, which begins with the Opening Ceremony at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, July 27.

Olympic coverage on NBC will again be divided into three day parts: daytime, primetime and late night. NBC’s primetime program, featuring the traditional, award-winning Olympic storytelling coverage that viewers have come to expect, will air 8-11:30 p.m. or Midnight ET/PT on most nights.

Daytime coverage has increased significantly for London. Coverage will begin on most weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following TODAY, which is originating from London. On weekends, NBC’s daytime coverage will begin as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT. A one-hour late night show will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the primetime program. Primetime will be replayed following the late-night show.

It was announced in April that Bob Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, returns as the primetime host for NBC’s coverage. For Costas, London marks his 10th Olympic broadcast assignment and his ninth as the primetime host (Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Salt Lake City, 2002, Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Communist China 2008, Vancouver 2010).

Al Michaels, who hosted daytime coverage at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, and Dan Patrick, making his Olympic hosting debut, will host NBC’s weekday and weekend daytime coverage, and Mary Carillo will once again host the NBC late night show.

Additionally, top TV broadcaster Ryan Seacrest, tennis legend John McEnroe, famed gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, and Carillo, broadcasting her 11th Olympic Games, will serve as Olympic correspondents during primetime coverage on NBC.

What is most interesting is two bullets from elsewhere in the press release.

  • Daytime coverage has increased significantly for London. Coverage will begin on most weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following NBC News’ TODAY, which is originating from London.
  • On weekends, NBC’s daytime coverage will begin as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT.

Primetime and latenight should account for about 90 hours of NBC’s coverage. The other 182.5 hours will probably come from daytime coverage. It sounds like NBC’s weekday afternoon coverage will expand to cover 10am-4pm (double what they showed in 2008). This is during the late afternoon London time, so NBC can cover many secondary events (that aren’t saved for primetime) live. This will almost certainly include a daily beach volleyball match.

Canada Qualifies Swimmers for London This Week

Ryan Cochrane was Canada's lone swimming medallist in Beijing.

Canadians will get a little advance taste of the 2012 Olympic Games this week as the Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials take place Montreal. The swimming trials are the first major Canadian championship in 2012 to qualify athletes for the London Olympics. All of Canada’s top swimmers are in Montreal in hopes of making the team. The winner of each “A” final will automatically clinch a spot in London for that event. Canada can also qualify a second place finisher in each event, if they hit the pre-detirmined qualifying time.

Ryan Cochrane, the 1500m freestyle bronze medallist in Beijing, leads a strong group of Canadian swimmers into the trials. Cochrane won silver in the same event at the World Championships last year. He is also competing in the 400m freestyle.

Brent Hayden is among the other Canadians who have medal hopes in London. Hayden finished second at the World Championships in the 100m freestyle last year. He won gold at the same event in Melbourne at the 2007 World Championships.

Mike Brown is former World Championship silver medallist (2005 in Montreal) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist (2006 in Melbourne) in the 200m breaststroke. He competed in Beijing in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events. He set a Canadian record in the 200m final, finishing just out of the medals in fourth.

Martha McCabe was a surprise to win bronze at the 2011 World Championships in the 200m breaststroke. At 22 she is one of Canada’s up and coming stars in swimming. Annamay Pierse is also a force in the 200m breaststroke. She won silver at the 2009 World Championships in Rome and is the defending Olympic Trials champion from 2008. This is the marquee event at the 2012 Trials; the final is on Saturday night.

Audrey Lacroix is among the hometown favourites in Quebec. She won silver in the 200m butterfly at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Julia Wilkinson (who writes an excellent blog on CBC.ca) won two individual bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She will try to qualify in multiple disciplines this week.

Sportsnet and Radio- Canada will broadcast coverage of the 2012 Trials. Rob Faulds, who called swimming at the 1992 Olympics for CTV (and is calling rowing in London) will work play-by-play alongside CTV’s London 2012 swimming analyst Joanne Malar. Catriona Le May Doan will host the broadcasts and report poolside.

Here is Sportsnet’s broadcast schedule. There are repeats later in the evening on the various Sportsnet channels.

Tuesday March 27 from 7-8pm ET on One/East
Wednesday March 28 from 7-8pm ET on One/East/Ontario
Thursday March 29 from 7-8pm ET on One
Friday March 30 from 10-11pm ET on One
Saturday March 31 from 8-9pm ET on One (repeat at 9pm local on regional channels)
Sunday April 1 from 7-8pm ET on One/East/Ontario/Pacific

CTV’s London 2012 Promotional Campaign Begins Sunday

The London 2012 Olympic Games are less than six months away. This Sunday, during their Super Bowl XLVI coverage, CTV will debut a series of new promotional ads for their London 2012 coverage. Gorden Pinsent returns as the narrator for some ads, while Halifax’s Ellen Page will narrate others. Here is CTV’s press release about the new campaign.

It’s Super Buzz Weekend on CTV. The network announced today that it will launch its new BELIEVE promotional campaign in support of its broadcast of the London 2012 Olympic Games during its exclusive coverage of SUPER BOWL XLVI this Sunday. Featuring the voices of Canadian actors Ellen Page and Gordon Pinsent on CTV and TSN, the campaign begins just after the six-month countdown to London 2012 was marked on January 27. Additionally, the network will use the opportunity to debut more than one hundred versions of never-seen-before, on-air creative, supporting CTV’s star-studded mid-season schedule and upcoming programming on Bell Media specialty channels.

“The SUPER BOWL is not only an amazing platform for clients to reach their customers by the millions, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for us to introduce, tease, and launch campaigns for upcoming programming on CTV and other Bell Media properties,” said Rick Lewchuk, Senior Vice-President, Bell Media Agency. “In addition to introducing the stunning new London 2012 BELIEVE campaign, we are keeping the overall SUPER BOWL viewing experience as fresh as possible with a wide range of brand-new creative.”

The original award-winning BELIEVE campaign debuted in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games – helping to inspire a nation and introduce Canadians to its Olympic heroes. The London 2012 BELIEVE campaign rekindles the incredible feeling of national pride that grew out of Vancouver 2010, engaging new Canadians by showcasing how the Olympic spirit of BELIEVE has spread to their homelands. Showcasing both Canadian and international athletes, the production involved three separate crews shooting over six months across Canada, the U.S., India, China, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Jamaica, Scotland, and England to create the look and feel of a trailer for a dramatic feature film.

The Bell Media Agency will also unveil new creative for upcoming sporting events including TSN’s TradeCentre, NCAA March Madness, SCOTTIES TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS, and the 100th Grey Cup, as well as promote the upcoming original CTV documentary DARKNESS AND HOPE: DEPRESSION, SPORTS AND ME (Feb. 8) in support of next Wednesday’s Bell Let’s Talk Day.

About Believe

In the six-month rollout of this year’s campaign, a total of 29 different image spots of various lengths have been produced to air on CTV and TSN, and in French on RDS. Academy Award® nominee Ellen Page and legendary Gemini Award-winning actor Gordon Pinsent voice the promos airing on CTV and TSN respectively. The RDS campaign spots are voiced by popular Quebecois actor Pierre Lebeau.

The Vancouver 2010 BELIEVE campaign has been internationally recognized, winning 13 PromaxBDA Awards, including the World Gold for “Live Event Campaign.”

The BELIEVE campaign was created, developed, and produced by the award-winning Bell Media Agency. Rick Lewchuk is Senior Vice-President, Bell Media Agency and Brand Strategy. Sandy Fraser is Senior Director of Olympic Promotion.

Here is a sample of the new CTV promos. Continue after the break for more samples.

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