Steve visited out studios Wednesday morning. We get a lot of celebrities that visit our seven stations, but Steve was by far the one everyone was most excited to meet. Especially our traffic (commercial scheduling) department...
And as you can see, Steve didn't come alone - he also had his Gold Medal with him! Which is a "he" as I learned during an interview he did with WBEN's Barbara Burns - LOL!
Steve is very down to earth and definitely deserving of that Olympic Gold Medal (along with his entire Night Train team).
Amidst the three other interviews he did in our building, I also got the chance to talk with him for the Star 102.5 morning show. I aired the interview in three parts scattered through the morning show. Here's the full interview.
First off, congrats to Steve Mesler & the rest of his team for getting the Gold in 4-Man Bobsled on Saturday! Here's an interview Steve did with Channel 2 the other day.
And here's Steve and his teammate Justin talking about bobsledding from an interview they did before the Olympics...
Speaking of bobsledding, I just saw this video of one of the members of the Russian team getting a little too excited over the Canadian sled crashing. Notice how he immediately changes his mood when he's reminded there's cameras on him. And all throughout, his teammate is stunned.
The Olympic anchors on NBC and CTV are absolutely amazing and definitely deserve recognition.
It's a tough call picking favorites because they're all good. For some Winter Olympics, there's been anchors that I haven't really liked, but that's not the case this year.
I've been watching CTV every morning. It's been anchored by Beverly Thomson and Jay Onrait. What a great morning show it's been because of them. NBC can't even compete here.
At night, it's just a matter of who's covering what sport when. But I've really been loving the Canada-themed stories that Mary Carillo has been doing. So far, her dog sledding "Mary's Moment" has been my absolute favorite.
With that said, here's my favorite anchors of the 2010 Winter Olympics...
BRONZE - Bob Costas, NBC - He always does a great job bouncing between the different events without stopping the momentum.
SILVER - Brian Williams, CTV - A phenomenal Olympic anchor who seems to be having the time of his life. It makes it even more fun to watch when you know the anchor is having a great time too.
GOLD - Mary Carillo, NBC - You can tell Mary's also having a blast - both in studio and throughout her pre-taped segments. In addition to the NBC late night anchoring, her Mary's Moments where she explores the wonders of Canada are priceless. That's where Mary is really at her best. And her sign-off the other night was awesome - she had a deep conversation with the studio moose as the late night coverage ended - too funny!
What do you think? Feel free to comment here or call me when I'm on-air at 716-644-1025.
The #2 American sled had a crash in the 50/50 curve yesterday during the second run. Everyone was physically okay luckily and they'll continue to compete today.
I can't believe how many sleds are crashing on this track. I think it's making the Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton events less fun to watch. No one wants to see the athletes putting their lives at risk. And we all know this track is the reason the Olympics got off to it's worst start ever this year.
So hopefully, today will be crash-free and it will be all about the start times and the expert driving as it should be.
And speaking of experts, the #1 US sled with Buffalo's Steve Mesler is in first place after two runs! And they've got a lead of 4/10th's of a second going into run three - that's a big lead for Bobsledding!
The third heat of Four-Man Bobsleigh (yeah, that's all the official wording there) is at 4:00pm Eastern time with the final heat following at approximately 5:40pm. I'm sure that final run will air in primetime.
As you watch, do you ever wonder how they steer the bobsleds? Visit HowStuffWorks.com to find out.
And just for fun, here's some footage of the original Jamaican Bobsled Team from 1988. Considering how bad the Whistler track is, maybe it's good they didn't make it into the Olympics this year...
I watch the freestyle skiing events and can't believe these athletes can do all those flips in the air and then still manage to land on their feet and ski down the rest of the hill.
One thing they probably don't worry about during those flips is actually losing their skis mid-jump. That's what happened to this ski jumper (who at the end of the video walks down the hill and seems understandably annoyed)...
Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer won his second gold medal yesterday. But shortly after that, it was taken away.
Sven changed lanes at a point in the race when he shouldn't have. And his coach is the one who accidentally told him to do it.
Here's the complete story.
Chances are, even if you don't follow speed skating, you're probably familiar with Sven Kramer thanks to an interview he did last week with NBC. This will make you feel a little less sorry for him...
Granted, it was kind of crazy for the reporter to start the interview like that minutes after he won his first Olympic gold medal. But he still could have been nicer about it.
UPDATE 2-25: Good luck finding the video online now - the Olympic Committee has now pulled it from just about everywhere.
Here's the Barenaked Ladies' Gold Medal Olympic rap from this past weekend in Toronto...
BNL video from earlier today at the Niagara Falls, US Hard Rock Cafe can be seen here eventually.
I love how they were so obsessed with losing the perfect orange when crossing the border today (fruit isn't allowed to cross the border and Kevin Hearn was truly distraught over this). That orange must have come up at least four times during the concert earlier today - too funny!
Me, Maia, and Ed Robertson (from the Barenaked Ladies)
I love the new Bryan Adams / Nelly Furtado 2010 Winter Olympics song "Bang The Drum". Unfortunately, the only way to get it is by buying the full Sounds Of Vancouver 2010 album (online or CD)...
One of the other songs of this Olympics is Nikki Yanofsky's amazing "I Believe" (the official 2010 Winter Olympics theme). You can get this one as a single online (it's not on the Sounds Of Vancouver album)...
Also, visit the CTV website for a list of the music they're using in their network promos.
The Olympic sports of luge and skeleton are similar. But luge is seen far more often than skeleton - probably because it's been a part of the Olympics longer, which results in more established athletes.
There are some major differences between the two sports (one very obvious and some not so much).
Amanda Bird of the US Bobsled & Skeleton Federation is in Vancouver helping the athletes prepare for the Olympics and the barrage of media attention they're about to get. She came on Star 102.5 shortly before the skeleton runs began tonight and explained the sport of skeleton.
She also talked about where the runs will start from on the course and which athletes we should watch for.
For even more information on the starting position for the skeleton athletes, read a February 15th New York Times article about this.
Here's the full four-minute interview.
And watch the skeleton runs tonight. The two women's runs begin at 7:00pm followed by the two men's runs at 9:30pm (portions will air between 12:35am - 2:00am tonight on NBC - hopefully it'll air earlier on CTV). Runs 3 & 4 are tomorrow at 6:45pm for the women and 9:20pm for the men.
Nate Holland, a US Olympic athlete, is the one who's annoyed most over this.
Here's the full New York Times article on this (you know if it made the New York Times, it's actual news).
The article was from January 27th. Nate Holland is most likely really annoyed now since Canadian Mike Robertson (wearing the new tight Canadian snowboarding clothes) beat him in the Men's Snowboard Cross event yesterday.
But, an American DID win the event with a kind of sneak attack near the end. Seth Wescott took home the gold medal, Canada's Mike Robertson came in 2nd for the silver, France's Tony Ramoin was third with bronze, and Holland ended up fourth.
Olympic downhill skier Will Brandenburg got pushed into professing he's a Taylor Swift fan in an interview for MTV. That then cannonballed into him asking her out. This is now the main thing interviewers have been asking him.
See how it all started here...
So what would it be like to actually ride the luge track that's featured in the Olympics this year? Check out this video for the POV - at the end it's about 90 mph...
Then watch as Tony Benshoof explains each curve of the track. Tony came in 8th (and the best for the US team) in this year's Men's Luge.
And here's my favorite POV video from the track.
Women's Luge starts tonight at 8pm. And they'll start even further down the track that the men. The men have now been starting just before curve 3. The women will start just before curve 6 - that's usually the start point for people that are learning to luge.
It happened Saturday afternoon on Robson Street in Vancouver. At the whistle, over 1500 people started dancing in the street to of course the song "Dancing In The Street"...
And here's another smaller flashmob that also took place Saturday. This was at the Metrotown Mall near the Olympic site...
The Men's Singles Run 3 will be at 4:00pm. Then the Men's Singles Run 4 (the final run) will start at approximately 6:10pm.
Women's Singles start tomorrow night at 8:00pm and concludes the next day.
As for the track, I was stunned that they were still hitting 90 mph at the final turn last night. Maybe whatever change they made to the ice actually sped things up. Because by changing the starting position to the Women's Start, they eliminated nearly two football fields of track and a height of almost a 9-story building. That should have knocked down the speed dramatically.
Here's a little more info from someone who's very familiar with the Whistler track...
So I'm going to be super lazy today and just hang out waiting to watch the luge competition (the highlight of the Winter Olympics in my mind).
It turns out the event won't be postponed. Two changes have been made after yesterday's accident: the wall has been raised a bit where the accident happened and something is being changed with the ice. They won't say exactly what, but chances are the temperature is being raised a bit so the sleds don't go as fast.
The Olympic officials have decided the accident was rider error and the track is not unsafe. I'm kind of surprised at that and so are others. I'm happy I'm not alone - here's an article from Olympic Fanhouse which shares my views.
And here's the NBC news article on the results of the investigation along with some video...
It seems they're trying to now push the sport beyond the limits of what's safe, just to make the Olympics more extreme and exciting to watch. Unfortunately, when you have a person on a sled going down a track of ice with only a helmet as protection, I think there's a definite point where you just can't go any faster or get more intense without the sport becoming completely unsafe.
Maybe 65 - 75 mph is the limit and shouldn't be exceeded. Nodar's sled was going 88 - 89 mph at the time of the crash. And that's just the way the track is - a lot more extreme than others. And the ice was probably at a colder temperature yesterday, making the sled go even faster than normal.
We'll see what happens later today. If I'm reading the schedule right, the first official run for luge will be at 8:00pm EST tonight.
Here's some links that might be helpful to you throughout the 2010 Winter Olympic games...
THE OFFICIAL WINTER OLYMPICS SCHEDULETHE SCHEDULE FROM THE OFFICIAL WINTER OLYMPICS PAGE (a better and more detailed schedule, but the times listed are for Vancouver - three hours earlier than Buffalo)
THE US / NBC TV SCHEDULETHE CANADIAN / CTV TV SCHEDULE
It's been a terrible start to the Winter Olympics - with an accident that really shouldn't have happened.
The Whistler Sliding Centre track for luge was known to be treacherous and yet very little was done to protect the athletes when things go wrong (there's already been quite a few problems on the track this week). A net or something should have been put in.
Or better yet, the track should have been adjusted long before the Olympics - because at the extreme speeds they've been registering on the track, even a net probably wouldn't help much.
Here's the NBC profile page for Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian athlete who died. As of now, there's none of the accident pictures on this page, which is why I linked up to that. The news tab there will list all the stories associated with this horrible accident.
Here's another article from SportingNews that goes into a lot of detail on the accident and the track's problems (with only one picture of the accident itself). In case you haven't noticed, I'm not a fan of the gruesome pictures being posted all over the place online.
Even though it's been reported he wasn't the most experienced athlete at luge, he was good enough to make the Olympics and managed to come in 55th last year at the 2008 - 2009 Luge World Cup and was 28 out of 32 for the 2009 - 2010 Luge World Cup. To even qualify for that competition, you have to know what you're doing. Imagine what could happen to a less experienced athlete.
As you can probably tell, luge is my favorite of the Olympic sports. In fact, it's my favorite of all sports. So I'll definitely be watching all four runs tomorrow and Sunday.
Hopefully, Nodar's accident has triggered more safety precautions, so there's no other accidents or injuries on this track as the luge competition is set to begin tomorrow (but could be postponed).
Then it's the Olympic sport of skeleton starting Thursday (skeleton is very similar to luge, but the athletes go down head first while on their stomach). That's followed by Bobsled next Saturday. All three events will be held on the same track.