Winter Olympics Journal

February 23, 2010 3:17 AM

In-person Olympics can be magical, maddening

Watching the Olympics on TV and seeing them in person are vastly different experiences.

Covering them is something else entirely. Yes, NBC's lame delay of live events stinks, especially for us poor souls on the West Coast. But the good thing about TV is it takes you to many places in a day.

When you're covering a Winter Games, every day is a crapshoot. Each day, you can get to one event, at most two. Half the time, you're bemoaning what you're missing.

It's like being at a golf tournament and hearing a roar from another hole, knowing you aren't where you wanted to be.

Here at Whistler, a closed-circuit Olympic Broadcast Service shows the Games all day and night, so at least you can keep track of the news.

But on Thursday, I'll probably be at nordic combined when the U.S. women play Canada for hockey gold. Last Friday, I was at ski jumping when the Americans won silver and bronze in the super-G.

But sometimes the fates align, and you're in the right place at the right time.

For a week, while America racked up medal after medal, I was on a personal losing streak. Here I was, at the Olympics, and it had been seven days since I wrote about someone actually winning a medal.

Then came Sunday, and Bode Miller's super-combined gold. It was certainly the story of the day, and one of the highlights of these Olympics. He goes for a fourth medal in today's giant slalom.

Lodwick pic.jpgYet many times the best stories come from people who don't win something, or come tantalizingly close to a dream. Nordic combined (ski jumping and cross-country skiing) athlete Todd Lodwick, the five-time Olympian, has won world championships and World Cups, but never an Olympic medal. He was fourth last week. He has two more shots, including tomorrow (Tuesday), when he tries again in the team event.

Maybe that's when it's going to happen. Maybe, as he says, "fifth time's the charm."

And maybe, I'll be in the right place at the right time.

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Ski Team

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