It's Olympics Time, the Snowy Version

To Soar Above the Trees, Into the Clouds, Just to See Thee
To soar above the trees: a photo of the Yukon mountains dressed in snow. It's like the Olympics -- athletes aim to soar above the rest, some of them literally like in slopestyle skiing where Canada won its first medals along with a new Canadian from the Netherlands in the men's 5000m speedskating race.

The events have grown so much that they now start before the Opening Ceremony, something I'm still getting used to remembering to catch. This year the time difference is the hardest adjustment. This diehard fan should've taken two weeks off and reversed the sleep schedule. Oy!

The coverage has evolved too. Long gone are the horrid years when CBC covered them from the home studio (still can't fathom who was so stupid as to make that decision).

@ShireenJ: After #Olympics cvg debacle that lead to losing Brian Williams, #CBCOlympics heard Canadians (losing to CTV for Vancouver helped too), has pulled out all the stops. Best hosts evr. Fabulous right-there commentating. Great digital options. Too many ads but better that than bad cvg

They've also come a long way from the early days of live streaming where we got tiny video windows with audio from the event only, no commentating, no graphics, and you had to be an uber fan to know what you were watching. Not only that but the CBC app works way way better than for last Olympics. Chromecasting isn't too buggy. The audio is so crisp and picks up so many details -- like the ping of the puck on the goal crossbar as the Canadian sent it soaring toward the Russian goal in the opening women's hockey game, um, ice hockey -- because this is the Olympics where apparently other forms of hockey exist. Ha!

I'm also impressed with the hosting. It took awhile for CBC to know what to do after they lost Brian Williams to CTV (well, really, confine him to the Canada-based studio and lose Olympics coverage to CTV and what did they expect). This Olympics, they brought the excitement back that went with Williams. Scott Russell is a nice guy, but he doesn't do excitement and gravitas like Williams. CBC seems to have approached almost every summer and winter retired Olympian and put them in hosts' chairs, in key on-the-ground setup and interview spots, and, of course, in for the colour commentary. The sheer number makes the Olympics feel intensely Canadian and significant and just plain fun to watch, even at effing o'clock. It must be good for the athletes too to be greeted by a Canadian Olympian or well-known sports journo in the mix zone.

Some grumble about all the features and back stories, just get to the sports, they growl. Pfft. Go load up the app and watch the live streams! For the rest of us, dialling in to the morning and primetime shows (or the overnight one for the night shift or insane Olympics junkies), let's us experience the whole of the Olympics, for it's not just about the sports and the medals. It's the stories too. And in the same way that people follow Sid the Kid and his story, regular Olympics viewers recognize old faces and love to hear their stories and learn about the newbies, too.

One last comment: the graphics! Holy --!! The solid-hologram effect when Alex Despatie (best part of the CBC hosted shows, one of my fave Olympians since he broke onto the stage -- or dived -- as a young teen, but I digress) and Andi Petrillo introduced an athlete, was so cool and new-to-me, that I absorbed absolutely none of the info. But like with all new digital tech, I'm already getting used to it and expecting this high calibre work in all CBC coverage.