February 10, 2006 2:47 PM PST

Video, podcasts and blogs track Olympic Games

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Nate Holland, one of the United States Olympic snowboarders, says he's not completely fearless on the slopes. But you can't hear any anxiety in his voice, at least not yet.

He's in Turin, Italy, now, preparing for the snowboardcross event, a mixture of speed and style. He's taken the chairlift over the course once and thinks it may be a little longer than the ordinary courses.

Olympicaerial

"There's always a little bit of fear there, that's what keeps you alive," he says, in one of the U.S. Olympic team's early podcasts from the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Holland's confident, surfer-dude interview is one of a myriad of online features that are bringing sports audiences ever closer to the Olympic Games, which kick off Friday night. This year, podcasts, blogs, video, animation and satellite images of the event locations all will give viewers a more intimate look at the events and athletes' lives than they've ever had.

It's also one of the biggest online events of the year for companies like ESPN, Yahoo and NBC Universal, which has the exclusive broadcast rights in the United States.

Turin 2006 at a glance

Some highlights of Olympic coverage online.

Official site
Torino 2006

Schedules and results
Official program
NBC Universal TV scheduling
NBC Universal's full event schedules and results
Yahoo Sports event schedules

Explanations of events
Torino 2006 animations

Video
NBC Universal event highlights (click on Video tab)
BBC (some video not accessible outside the U.K.)

Podcasts
U.S. Olympic team

Blogs
NBC's Torino Tracker
USA Today's SportsScope
Associated Press blogs

NBC Universal spokesman Brian Walker said the company had more than 2,700 people in Turin, working in all capacities. The company's Olympics Web site is aimed at giving TV viewers a deeper look at the games and the athletes, as well as providing them with a way to get near-instant event results, before the delayed TV broadcasts are aired.

"We've learned that people want to get as close to the Games as possible," Walker said in an e-mail interview.

Yahoo's sports division had its highest traffic month during the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004, attracting 14 million viewers, a company representative said. That experience led Yahoo to invest heavily in covering this year's Games, hiring five former Olympic athletes as analysts, as well as drawing on the services of an Associated Press writer who will work exclusively for the online company during the Games.

"What we always end up hearing from users is that (they) want more analysis," said Yahoo spokesman Dan Berger. "We put a lot of resources behind this. It's really important."

Watching, listening, reading
In the United States, NBC Universal is the place to go for video of the actual events, though it will offer no live video. The British Broadcasting Corporation is carrying live video of some events, but it will block access for users outside the United Kingdom.

photos
Ciao, Olympic venues
More Olympic facilities, sans the expected 1 million spectators.

The U.S. team is keeping up a Podcast page that features interviews with many of the team's members, including Holland. Traditional media organizations including The New York Times, The Associated Press, and The Baltimore Sun are distributing their own podcast reports on the events, which are available through Apple Computer's iTunes software.

As with virtually all major events today, the games will also be heavily blogged.

NBC Universal has several blogs, including one main ongoing blog by its reporters and analysts in Italy, and one that's been penned by a friend of downhill skier Bode Miller as they've traveled across Europe together on the way to Turin.

The official Olympics site itself offers an occasional blog by Italian cross-country skier Stefania Belmondo.

Several sites offer good explanations of what happens in each event--often important for newer events such as Holland's snowboardcross, or even older sports such as the biathlon cross-country skiing-shooting mix, details of which may be unfamiliar to many viewers.

The official Olympics site provides perhaps the best of these explanations, with detailed animations showing what's supposed to happen at each stage of each event.

For those who want a satellite's-eye view of exactly where all these events are taking place, Google has provided new high-resolution maps inside its Google Earth software program, which allow a viewer to zoom right into the mountains to see where the adrenalin-filled skiers will soon be slaloming downhill.

See more CNET content tagged:
Olympic Games, Turin, athlete, podcast, event

10 comments

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NBC Coverage sucks!
Man, it's frustrating. The results from the Torino Olympics are available in real-time over the web. Mostly none of the TV coverage does it, so anything you try to watch, you already know the results. So much for excitement. The ski jumping competition lasts for 10 minutes! Thanks NBC for providing nothing. Back in my home country of Finland they're sending 330 hours over 2 weeks, mostly LIVE!!! This sucks!
Posted by Petri (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NBC Olympic coverage sucks!
Man, it's frustrating. The results from the Torino Olympics are available in real-time over the web. Mostly none of the TV coverage does it, so anything you try to watch, you already know the results. So much for excitement. The ski jumping competition lasts for 10 minutes! Thanks NBC for providing nothing. Back in my home country of Finland they're sending 330 hours over 2 weeks, mostly LIVE!!! This sucks!
Posted by Petri (4 comments )
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Is the location of the Olympics a factor?
OK there... let's not get too harsh! How much of the 2002 Winter Games and 2004 Summer Games did the broadcasters in your native Finland broacast LIVE? If they broadcasted the entire games LIVE, did you see them ALL? If you did, you might want to contact the folks at Guiness about a possible world record for staying awake the longest ever! You need to remember that there is at least a six hour time difference between the US and Europe and the majority of Americans have to work for a living. That means if all of the events of the games were to be broadcast LIVE the majority of the events would be missed by countries located on the Western side of the Atlantic due to them occurring during the night while we, and others, sleep or while we are at work. While you might find it an unforgivable sin to have the ski jump event trimmed to 10 minutes, we at least got to see each athlete make their jump, which IS the exciting part of the event. If finding out who won which event in advance upsets you, do like I do with auto racing. Just stay away from information sources that give out those details and then watch the abbreviated telecasts and be surprised like the rest of us. And finally, just be grateful you have access to TV, the Internet, etc. because I read recently that one group of people in another country did not get television until 1999! I wonder if they're upset about the amount of ANYTHING that they see.
Posted by Teched to Death (5 comments )
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You are right
I fortunatly have the luxery of getting Canadian channels as well as NBC. I have NO idea as to why NBC holds back only to show taped programs for prime time. They assume that viewers are more interested in stories than the games. The real countries that believe in the games actually show then as they happen. PLEASE NBS do the nation a favor and back out of the olympic coverage in the future. Cause you suck at it. When American Idol beats you out....you should really take a look at you're programmer. FIRE HIM/Her
In today's world, WE need it now, not tape delayed. Hell come to think of it, we get results of the war faster than the games. GREAT work NBC...Congrats to stations around the world who actually know how to cover the games..Someone teach NBC your tricks.
Posted by alanrudi (1 comment )
Link Flag
Directory of Olympics Video Blogs
For a listing of video blog and vodcast coverage of the 2006 Olympics in Torino, visit the XX Olympic Games channel on Strmz.com.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://strmz.com/Category615" target="_newWindow">http://strmz.com/Category615</a>
Posted by mandalan (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Why?
What is the point of playing every single event, tape delayed????????????????????? Is it for the target market of 68-98 year old society who do not know the internet and/or cable/satelite exist? A few days ago, I heard on the radio that Bode Miller was about to approach the starting gate for the first leg of his combined event........I quickly turned on the TV to only find womens' hockey being aired. No offense to them, but where the heck was ALPINE DOWNHILL???? Oh wait, it was only 11am, I just need to be patient and wait until 7pm, "primetime," so that I already know that Bode finished in 1st place after the opening race, and then strattled a gate to earn a DQ in the 2nd leg. There is no way I'm going to tune into NBC to watch some events that happened 6 HOURS EARLIER!!!!! SO DISCOURAGING!
Posted by Bradzley (1 comment )
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NBC's Olympic coverage is the worst !
I just tuned in the 8-11:30pm slot only to see 1hr wasted with the recap from last night's women's short skating program. Not only I'm stuck with watching a tape-delayed broadcast of something, now I'm watching a tape of a tape... COME ON !!! Could we possible se more than 10' of any sport !
NBC's coverage is absolutely the worst ! We do not need 3hrs of curling and hockey... There are MANY other sports in the Olympics ! Show the athletes !!!
Posted by grman62 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
NBC Sucks
1. This does suck. NBC should offer two things live coverage and tape delay. If the event is at 2pm local, let me see it. If I am work and just want to see it that night, show it then, too.
2. I do not understand the policy for the ice hockey finals. It is shown live at 8am in New York, but 7am in Colorado (one hour delay) and 8am in SF (two hour delay).
3. We can complain to NBC all we want, but that is not what will change things. What we should do is not patronize NBC's Olympic sponsors AND tell them why.
Posted by katall (2 comments )
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