London Log-In - August 2, 2012
UCLA athletes, coaches, alumni and staff share their experiences at the 2012 Olympics. UCLA Men's Volleyball head coach John Speraw writes about a great Olympic moment he witnessed in judo. Former UCLA gymnast Ariana Berlin talks about the sport of pin trading at the Games. UCLA Associate AD Mike Sondheimer discusses the vast difference between the U.S. and British broadcasting at the Games.
Aug. 2, 2012
One of the best parts of living in the Olympic Village is having the opportunity to watch other sports train and compete. Here's a little known fact: In every apartment of the Village, in every public place and even on every exercise bike in the gym, there is a TV with not only the BBC and other news channels but also about 25 channels of closed-circuit broadcasts of all the other events constantly going on at the Games. You can flip between ping pong and equestrian, beach volleyball and swimming, kayaking and skeet shooting, all day, every day until the last event is done. And all of it is raw footage without any broadcaster commentary. All you can hear is the athletes and the crowds.
This afternoon our Head of Delegation and my roommate, Rob Browning, was watching TV while doing e-mail and stumbled upon women's judo. It was Great Britain vs. France.
"Check this out," he said. "They are at the golden point."
The golden point is overtime. Whoever scores the next point wins. In this case, it would be the only point--after battling the entire match, the score was still zero to zero. Both fighters were at the point of exhaustion. Each time they fought to the ground, they both laid there while the referee extolled them to get back up. They were both doubled over until they had to fight, hair disheveled and breathing as if they had been at a full sprint.
At one point the French woman's robe became undone, and the referee told her to retie the belt. She could barely do it. The crowd was on their feet, and you could hear the coaches in the background trying to will their charges to victory.
Another time they locked in combat. They pulled and pushed and tried to flip the other. One final push of energy, and the Brit managed to knock the feet out of the other and launched the French fighter onto her back. As she laid on top of the fallen opponent, she raised her fist and screamed up to the heavens. The crowd was going crazy, and many were waving the Union Jack. She rolled onto her knees, put her face into her hands and began to sob. The French fighter laid there next to her, unable to move.
The victorious British fighter finally raised up, walked off the mat and into the arms of her coach. They both sobbed while the crowd continued to rain applause. No comments from an announcer. Nothing but the raw emotion of the moment. Rob and I had watched the last few minutes in silence. As she finally walked out of the arena, he said, "What a wonderful Olympic moment."
They prepared the arena for another match.
"Do you want to watch Armenia fight Uzbekistan?"
"No thanks," I said, and went back to my room to pack up for our match tonight.
Aug. 2, 2012
Greetings from Newcastle, England. Since I last blogged, we have been to Manchester, where the U.S. Women's Soccer Team secured its spot in the quarterfinal. We are now in Newcastle getting ready for the big event against New Zealand, which will take place Friday, August 3 at 6:30am PT.
Today, I walked around town and shot some scenics. Newcastle is absolutely stunning. There is a bridge right in the city center with giant Olympic rings posted on the side of it. What a sight to see!
On another note, Olympic pin trading has become a big competition here in our video department. The U.S. Team competes in soccer, we compete in pin trading. So far, my co-worker Troy is in the lead with eight pins. I'm in second place with four. I got a late start, but don't count me out; I'm a Bruin ... we never back down!
Well back to work/pin trading.
Aug. 2, 2012
We spend a lot of time in our trailer compound between matches at the Olympic Indoor Volleyball event at Earl's Court watching in amazement at the British TV announcers. It's so different compared to the way we are trained to broadcast in the USA. As much as I have supported UCLA Athletics in the 1,000-plus broadcasts I have done over the past 35 years, I have not openly come out and been the 'homers' we see for the announcers here on the BBC channels.
For teams, the announcers traditionally go "Come on, GB!" or "Go, Great Britain!" while broadcasting individual events like swimming or Bradley Wiggins in cycling. We'll hear "Go, Bradley! The whole country is behind you!" over the air. The NBC people here have instructed our announcers to not use "we" in any context, but to stick to USA or United States. It is a totally different vibe watching television broadcasts in which all the announcers worry about is where GB finishes and kind of overlook the rest of the competitors.
I love the country support and love that GB is doing well, but with some of the broadcasts, we have to sit and laugh at what the announcer is doing to a potentially great event to support the British. The women's soccer pool upset over Brazil rivals anything I have announced where UCLA has won a NCAA title.
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