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John Fontana: The Ring(s) Are The Thing This Summer

Monday, May 26, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 10:10 PM, under , , ,

By John Fontana, Contributing Editor

Denver, CO (May 26, 2008) - The ring is the thing. Don’t listen to it a million times between now and the end of June from NBA players, set your own eyes on the real ring (or set of rings) that come in August when the world gathers for the Olympics in Beijing

(I’m going to leave the politics and greenhouse gas debates alone so feel free to continue reading).

If you want to get U.S. Olympic fever started early the only place to do it (short of traveling to qualifying events) is to tune into the Web-based World Championship Television Network, which will spend the summer covering a dozen Olympic sports live and on-demand via the Web. The broadcasts will include 72 hours of coverage and features broadcasters with star appeal in their respective sports such as gymnasts Bart Conner and Shannon Miller.

You won’t find Bob Costas here (you’ll see plenty of him in August), but what you will see is pure competition, soaring joy and crushing heartbreak in American athletes trying to make years of training payoff sometimes with just a matter of seconds to do it.

Often at the Olympics you are left with the sense that the competitors had some pre-ordained path to compete under the Rings. But clearly it is not that way. On WCSN, you’ll see the competition stripped bare, with the losers often staring at a line tenths-of-a-second wide that separates them from their Olympic dream. This is a real shot for emotion junkies.

For those that have already qualified for the Games, there is a nifty section on the WCSN site with athlete profiles. The list of qualifying events has something for everyone: rowing, rifle shooting, judo, wrestling, BMX cycling, artistic gymnastics, swimming, and of course, track and field. (Note: rowing, shooting and wrestling events are on-demand only given they were contested over the past few weeks).

You’ll also see other sports such as volleyball and track cycling throughout the summer along with a number of World Championship events, such as the post-Olympic world track meet. You won’t get all this coverage for free. The WCSN subscription package is $4.95/month or $44.95/year.


Olympic qualification schedule

May 12-17: Rowing (non-qualified) - Mercer Lake, New Jersey (on-demand)

May 12-19: Shooting (pistol) - TBD (on-demand)

May 12-19: Shooting (rifle) - TBD (on-demand)

May 16-17: Weightlifting - Atlanta, Georgia (on-demand)

June 6: Rowing (qualified) - Mercer Lake, New Jersey

June 13-14: Judo - Las Vegas, Nevada

June 13-15: Wrestling - Las Vegas, Nevada

June 14: Cycling (BMX) - TBD

June 18-22: Diving - Indianapolis, Indiana

June 19-22: Artistic gymnastics - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

June 21-22, 28-29: Equestrian - San Juan Capistrano, California

June 27 - July 6: Track and field - Eugene, Oregon.

June 29 - July 6: Swimming - Omaha, Nebraska

By day, John Fontana is a Senior Editor for a global technical trade magazine. He is also an avid outdoors sports participant and cycling fan. John will be making occasional contributions on Cycling and other Olympic sports.

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