London 2012 (08.01.2012) – Finally, Gold For GB!

Champions: Great Britain’s Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning pose with their gold medals Photo: FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images

For countries like China and the United States, it usually doesn’t take long for the host nation to win an Olympic gold medal. In Beijing, Chinese weightlifter Chen Xiexia won the nation’s first gold on Day 1 of competition. It took two days for the US to see a top podium finish at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when Kelly Clark captured gold in the women’s halfpipe.

Even Greece, which wasn’t favored in many events during the Athens 2004 Olympics, took just three days to find gold when Nikolaos Siranidis and Thomas Bimis unexpectedly won the men’s 3m synchro diving competition.

To some host nations, finally winning gold on home soil means everything. Take Canada. When Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Canadians had been waiting since the 1976 Montreal Games to win gold on its home turf. On Day 2, Alex Bilodeau ended the drought by winning the men’s moguls, inspiring this CTV promo.

For Team GB, there were high expectations. Many thought that the Brits would be at the top of the podium on Day 1 by capturing gold in the cycling men’s road race. But neither 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins or world road race champion Mark Cavendish could finish in medal position.

While athletes like Rebecca Adlington and the men’s gymnastics team have grabbed Team GB historic medals, it wasn’t gold. Well Day 5 of competition finally produced the result that all of the UK had been waiting for.

Where were you when…?

I’m not even British but I like supporting a common cause, like the home team winning at an Olympics. And when the moment came, I knew it would be something I’d remember for awhile.

Now that I worked from noon to midnight, I had just enough time in the morning to hit the gym at the media village. When I got out of the shower following my workout, I can hear the television from one of the machines. I never even knew you could hear the TVs from the machines. I always thought it was headphones or bust with those monitors.

You could hear loud cheering and I instantly knew that it was the moment GB had been waiting for. One of the British personal trainers at the gym was staring at the monitor along with one other patron and the guy who was actually on the machine. I join the circle and make it a crowd. You could hear the sound of BBC commentators forgetting all the rules of being unbiased, yelling loudly and asking the British athletes to give it their all.

The event was women’s rowing, the coxless pair race to be exact. And Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were about to make history.

And I saw the moment, watching it on a TV monitor at the media gymnasium.

Well I didn’t say it was a glorious moment. I wasn’t there at Eton Dorney. Nonetheless, it was still memorable.

And it wasn’t Team GB’s only gold of the day. Bradley Wiggins redeemed himself from his road race performance to win the men’s cycling time trial. Wiggins became the first man to win the Tour de France and the Olympic time trial back-to-back.

Meanwhile, back at the IBC…

The entrance to the 3D viewing theatre at the IBC.

The future of watching sports was on display in a room at the International Broadcast Centre, just past the OBS center (which I still have to show you guys).

I’ve never been a big proponent of 3D television. I think its cool technology but not something that I think the average consumer should spend a lot of money on. But since this 3D theatre just happened to be here, I figured why not. I didn’t have the credentials to actually go to a venue anyway so this might be the next best thing.

I was able to watch the medal ceremony for the men’s all-around competition and then I came back later to catch the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Final. I think it’s a different experience when you’re watching on a huge screen and you have the lights off like you do in a theatre as opposed to watching on a relatively smaller set in a home.

I also noticed that the pace of a 3D broadcast is slower than a traditional one. The director isn’t making as many cuts between cameras because there aren’t as many 3D cameras as there are 2D. 3D is all about depth so sports like gymnastics is a much cooler event to watch in 3D than say swimming. Then again, if you get the camera angles right and get as much depth as possible in your shot, you can have a good 3D broadcast. But like I said, there aren’t as many shots available in a 3D broadcast than a 2D. In fact, during the swimming, I noticed that the director will sometimes take a 2D camera.

I think when the Winter Olympics roll around and you get a lot of those action sports like halfpipe and freestyle skiing, 3D will be a much more powerful tool in broadcasting.

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