Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: All right, then – take me to Rio

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    George Bennet did well to finish the road race without any bone fractures.

    “That was the most brutal day I’ve been through.” says a guy who completed the 3,500km Tour de France just two weeks ago.

    Ayup, that course was just plain nasty - cobblestones!!! and the foot deep gutters on the downhills plus brutal climbs to make sure you're in oxygen debt on those technical downhills.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    As to that Aussie swimming sledger - no surprises there I guess - but I thought that kind of behaviour was up there with doping as a something contrary to the Olympic sporting ethos...
    Maybe they'll offer 'Bullying' as a demonstration sport at the next Olympics - though those seem to have fallen away since Barcelona in 1992.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I would have mocked the uniforms of the teams from Norway and Sweden, but as a New Zealander I’m not in a position to mock anyone’s kit.)

    I will not hear a bad word spoken about the Swedish uniform. Designed by H&M, it was bold and athletic and oh-so-Swedish.

    Sure, New Zealand doesn't have a bright colour like yellow in its national palette, but we could have done so much better than the lacklustre my-first-job suits that showed up at the arena.

    Btw, there's something very cool about New Zealand's Olympic team this year. We have two openly gay athletes, one male, one female. Given how conservative NZ sport is about sexuality, it's just lovely that Robbie and Katie are proudly representing their country, hopefully making the path a little smoother for other LGBT athletes.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Given how conservative NZ sport is about sexuality, it’s just lovely that Robbie and Katie are proudly representing their country, hopefully making the path a little smoother for other LGBT athletes.

    Tautoko that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • artig,

    Isn't Linda Villumsen openly gay as well? She also competed at the London Olympic games.

    BoP • Since Oct 2010 • 41 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to dave stewart,

    NZ pay TV offers less Olympics coverage than is available on free TV in the other English speaking countries we like to compare ourselves to (UK, Australia, US, Canada).

    Hmmm. Not sure about that. In Australia, TV coverage will be on three channels. Sky is offering nine channels + Prime. And Australian viewers are seriously pissed off with the way it's started:

    Bashing Australia’s Olympic TV coverage is an unofficial Olympic sport, and Channel 7 copped a pasting today as the network opted to air Sunrise — albeit “Sunrise in Rio” — on its main channel as live sport played out in the host city.

    Ryan Phelan and Samantha Armytage anchored proceedings from Seven’s Olympics studio at Martin Place — roughly 13,500km from Rio — as gymnastics and tennis played out live in Rio, broadcast on 7TWO and 7mate.

    But on the main channel viewers got awkward live crosses to Rio with off-putting time delays, Phelan interjecting with “breaking news” of the latest medal win, and a prerecorded Blake Lively interview for her upcoming film.<

    Coverage on NZ free TV is little more than a summary of the results of NZ competitors.

    Nah, there's quite a lot on through the day.

    Legal NZ streaming/on demand options are only marginally better – poor coverage for free options, with terrible performance and only limited coverage on paid options.

    Now here you really do have a good point. Sky's Olympic streaming literally does not work at present. In a web browser, that is. I gather the apps are fine.

    And the Aussies really have it down with streaming:

    All of Seven's live broadcasts will be streamed online for free – via its website, the iOS/Android mobile app and the PLUS7 app on Telstra TV and the 4th-gen Apple TV. So there's no need for Australians to sneak into foreign streaming services or tap into dodgy online feeds in order to watch the Olympics live when they're away from their television. Most impressive, you can tell the app which country you support to tweak your feed.

    During the London games, Foxtel offered its eight Olympic channels streamed live via its tablet app – but you couldn't just sign up for two weeks, you had to pay for a full Foxtel subscription with the sports package.

    This year keen sports fans can pay $20 for the premium version of Seven's streaming service which grants you access to 36 live channels with more than 3000 hours of coverage, along with catch up and replay on demand (Telstra mobile customers can access it for free). UPDATE: The premium service is only available via the website and mobile apps, not the Apple TV/Telstra TV streaming boxes.

    The fact that Seven is charging for this service doesn't sit well with some people, considering that the games are supposed to be on "free"-to-air television, but I think it's a pretty good deal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    Horse Parking. Great description. Still cackling over it.
    Shooting was good eh?
    Even had a mid aged woman ask me to take her to try out shooting today too!!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • oga,

    In Mexico, the Olympics coverage has several channels on the main pay TV provider (there is no real ‘free-to-air’ in Mexico unless you live in an area with excellent reception). To get a quality signal, one has to subscribe to pay TV at a princely sum of about NZD$20 per month (this is for HD, it’s much cheaper for normal definition).

    Yesterday, I was riding on the open roads (every Sunday Mexico City closes down several roads for a cycling/running/walking circuit that takes about 4 hours to go right around) and I rode past the park in the old city downtown. Someone had set up a medium-sized screen in the park, which was broadcasting a football game with Mexico and some other team. There was nowhere to sit in front of this screen, with people taking up all available space. I’m not sure whether this screen would be up for the duration of the Olympics, but this wouldn’t surprise me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Horse Parking. Great description. Still cackling over it.

    I confess to stealing it from Eddie Izzard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    I don’t mind the Olympics, some sports I quite enjoy. Then our sports coverage kicks in. Then I hate them and count down the days until this fiesta of puerile patriotic nonsense is over.

    Has NZ sports coverage always been this cringingly obsequious and insecure? Or has only occurred since those idiots at Sky took full control? Or is it just suddenly obviously jarring because I don’t live here anymore? It is just so infantile.

    Sky rugby coverage has always come from the slavishly hero worshipping Pollyanna school of uncritical hyper patriotism, now it seems everything we do as a country has to be enveloped in a thicket of ridiculous cliches like “punching above our weight” and every medal is greeted with the sort of joy I thought would be reserved for the second coming of Christ. Seriously. It is childish propaganda that just feeds all the tired and pernicious myths about our country.

    Our Olympic coverage is about as mature and professional as a school house barrracking for it’s team at a posh school’s tabloid sports day.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Nah, there’s quite a lot on through the day.

    Which is fine if you have all day to watch. Evenings don't offer much. So this looks like an Olympics where as a family we see absolutely nothing. Hey ho. Might tune in Saturday.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • dave stewart, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Couldn't agree more.
    Try the BBC for more extensive coverage and more balanced commentary WITHOUT ANY ADS!!!
    Oh yeah and they cover all events, not just rowing heats and dancing with horses.
    On the other hand if you think NZ coverage is bad, try Australian coverage - I could only stomach 5 minutes of their brand of parochialism.
    NBC also has huge amount of coverage but streams are too jumpy. OK for replays.
    But BBC is my firm favourite a few days in ...

    Since Aug 2014 • 37 posts Report

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ross Mason,


    Horse Parking. Great description. Still cackling over it.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2937 posts Report

  • simon g,

    The wider anti-siphoning debate is already lost in NZ, I fear. There's no way we can return to one-channel coverage (if we had a time machine to watch the Olympics of the 1980's we'd be amused/angry at our passive role, all viewing decisions left in the editors' mighty hands) so it's either Sky or a properly funded public broadcaster with the resources and multiple channels that would meet demand. And that requires a political will that isn't there. Even the World Cups (rugby, cricket, soccer) don't need half a dozen channels.

    For insomniacs without Sky (me), the Prime coverage is not too bad. It's delayed, so as with other Sky/Prime sports, you can choose between hiding from the internet for an hour, or following the results as they happen and catching up with olde worlde telly later. I did this for the cross-country horsing, and it was worthwhile.

    At least the international commentary (on Prime) is pleasingly professional. A few familiar Kiwi voices (Quinn, McBeth) but they're all talking to a global audience, so there's less shouting, more informing. If you're sick of cheerleaders behind the mike, it's a welcome change.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • oga, in reply to dave stewart,

    Try the BBC for more extensive coverage

    Thank you for this hot tip. I was wondering how to stream the Olympics on my second screen and found that your comments about the BBC were indeed not too good to be true. I switched my VPN to the UK and watched the swimming finals last night and they were live captioned!! That was the first time I ever saw swimming commentary. I'm still undecided whether it added or detracted from the viewing experience. Michael Phelps is a GOAT through and through. Goosebumps from that 200m butterfly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    Thank you for this hot tip

    The two NZ surprise silvers, the shooting and canoeing, have both provided the two best moments of the games coverage for me, and both were simple honesty that cut like a tasty, sharp vinegar through the usual saccharine overloaded coverage.

    First was the delightful honesty when the gruff Timaru shooting club boss - who was clearly chuffed at Natalie Rooneys medal - said on Natrad words to the effect no one had rated her chances that high, and second when Luuka Jones just said she gritted her teeth and went as hard as she could. Both were honest comments that actually didn't insult my intelligence. YAY!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • simon g,

    A quick note: Valerie Adams will be live on PRIME in her final, around 1 pm.

    According to their Facebook page, anyway. Their schedules so far have been ... flexible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Ignore this - well done Lisa Carrington.
    I got confused by the interactive graphic in this story
    I thought they'd cloned her for the race - but it seems to be a league table of past victories...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Today is a memorable day. For today, three quarters of the way through the Rio Olympics, is the first day that Sky NZ's Olympic coverage website has worked.

    All channels, including pop-ups, are streaming live. The quality is fairly Sky Go-ish, but it's there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • simon g,

    I was going to give Prime a solid silver medal for their coverage: from midnight to 6 a.m. it's only slightly delayed (depending on the event) and has both the NZ interest and a good range of other events. No complaints at all really, for a free network.

    However, I've now relegated them to 4th and out of the medals, after they showed the cycling this morning with the sound completely out of synch, and then (worse) continued as if it hadn't happened. Mistakes happen, that's no biggie, but it's pretending it hasn't happened that really grates. An apology would be nice, but ... nah: "it's just the public, they won't notice".

    Also minus points for the interviewers, but that's Sky's issue, not Prime.

    Overall I actually think they've done a good job. As long as you remember to hit mute when the presenters introduce delayed events and give away too much ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

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