We’re at the point that snow has diminishing returns. To many, it’s a nuisance now more than a novelty.
And the Winter Olympics come along. It’s like the Girl Scout cookies arriving just when you’re in the middle of a diet.
With thoughts of spring and warmer weather, the Winter Olympics hardly have that electric appeal here.
NBC plans 835 hours of Olympic coverage over its various networks. And few networks are countering the onslaught with first-run programmming.
By volume, the Olympics will dominate TV programming for two weeks. You might not think so, but you’ll be drawn into it.
The Winter Olympics offer some strange sports for this area such as curling, luge and moguls. For the men, there will be some hot babes in tight and skimpy clothing (in the figure skating events). For the women, there are some hunks with corresponding attire.
This year they will offer some wonderful vistas around Vancouver that will be nice to view from the living room or den.
In my opinion, the Winter Games offer more colorful characters, relatively speaking, than the Summer Games. They are often more outspoken and freewheeling with different hair and costuming.
I remember that from the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City when I was a member of the Morris Communications team covering the event.
To see it up close was unforgettable.
One reason is those Olympics were the first major international event after 9-11. There was a lot of uncertainty as to what might happen as far as terroism. It was the toughest security I had ever been through. Having to go through the screening process at every venue were not just the normal briefcases and computers but cameras with giant lenses and a lot of electronic TV gear — plus folks of differnt nationalities with layers of clothing.
The Opening Ceremonies tonight will get my attention. I remember hearing about them from afar and getting occasional glimpses from the Salt Lake City airport.
I did not cover them because I was at the airport on my first assignment, which was to give a first-hand account of the race to land and the atmosphere at the airport. From the thousands of media organizations represented, I was one of the very few to cover the scene.
Because of security arrangements, the airspace over Salt Lake City was closed for four hours prior to a during the Opening Ceremonies. Any aircraft that could not land by 6 p.m. (Mountain Time) would divert to Plan B, which meant a delay of at least four hours. If the projected ETA was past 6 p.m., the flight would be delayed at the departure airport.
An couple of hours that Friday evening, things were chaotic as baggage piled up and jammed on the carousels from the rapidly landing flights in the first real timed race of the Games.
A couple of flights cut it close. One had to have a windshield wiper repaired in Chicago and made it by two minutes.
After 6, an airport that had been handling at least 100,000 passengers per day for a week turned into a ghost town. Within minutes.
It was eerie.
That was just one of many experiences that come to mind today.
This gives me a chance to outline some special plans for these Olympics that I’ll also touch on in an upcoming blog on www.thecabin.net.
I admit it. I am an Olympic junkie. The perspective of having been up-close-and-personal at a similar event in a similar quadrant enhances that.
Since 1984 at the Log Cabin, I’ve offered some special Olympic touches to go with general coverage.
This year, it will be more multi-faceted.
A few of my regular columns in the print edition will have some Olympic themes.
In addition, I plan to do at least one blog every day, "McCollum’s Other Column" online, that relates to the Olympics.
You’ll hear some stories and observations from personal experience. And you’ll get my take on what’s happening with the various events, TV coverage and personalties, some of whom were just bursting on the scene at Salt Lake City. And what will be offered online will be different but complementary to the print columns.
It’ll be fun for me. I hope for you. Much of it will be out-of-the-box stuff.
For experience, bet you don’t know how to watch luge. I learned the hard way.
More about that later both online and in print.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)