Report from Beijing Whitewater

Update from the Canoe Kayak Slalom event

I am working as an announcer for the whitewater slalom canoe kayak event here in Beijing. In Olympic parlance this is "sport presentation" for BOCOG, which is Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. Sport presentation is responsible for public address announcing, music for spectators, scoreboards, videoboard, ceremonies, etc. I am working the slalom venue as the english public address announcer, and also doing a helmet camera for BOB, which is Beijing Olympic Broadcast, which provides feed to all international broadcasters including NBC.

If you saw any of the footage, which is always tough to catch, I was the one with the helmet camera tipping over! Long story, but I was in a borrowed C-1 (which normally would be very customized for stability) with fairly limited access to the water. After all the Olympics is for the true athletes, not the "has-beens" like me.

It is a stout manmade river! 100 Feet per mile drop, and 600 cfs. Stout whitewater worthy of the attention of any advanced boater. Add the slalom gates, tricky diagonals, and normally surgy feel of an artificial course, and you have a worthy olympic venue.

There are now a number of streaming videos available: C-1 heats and finals, C-2 & K-1W heats, a Scott Parsons interview, etc., available at: http://www.nbcolympics.com/canoekayak/video/index.html Note, however, that you will need a VERY fast internet connection to view (I can't, with the slower kind of DSL). And dont even try without Microsoft IE, or it all locks up.

Behind the scenes I have been largely responsible for bringing the Chinese announcers up to speed on kayaking. The folks I am working with are young, keen, and lots of fun. They have been studying the sport (in a book sense) for over a year, so they knew the stats on athletes better than I did!

I did get to see the dress rehearsal of Opening Ceremonies (amazing- 14,000 performers), one evening of Track and Field (5 ring circus, awesome), and some rowing events. After the games I am going down to Yunnan to do a bike trip through Tiger Leaping Gorge of the Yangsee. Anyone ever paddle there?