The biggest event on television is only days away.
8 July 2008 --- The biggest event on television in 2008, and the single largest undertaking by any network since Seven’s coverage of the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000, is now only days away with the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing. This will be Seven’s 12th Olympic Games. It will be first Olympic Games to be completely broadcast in high definition – with Seven accessing more than 1,200 broadcast cameras, 61 outside broadcast production trucks, 375 production vehicles, 70 separate vision feeds and 15 dedicated satellite links to create the most extraordinary television coverage of a major event. Seven will use 3,000 hours of satellite and digital video network time, and will have equivalent of 150 videotape machines and be using 500 television monitors, in addition to the global television coverage technology for the Games.
It’s a lifetime away from Seven’s first coverage of an Olympic Games: Melbourne in 1956. Then, Seven’s coverage was based on three black and white cameras and one small outside broadcast unit that covered track and field at the Olympic Stadium (the Melbourne Cricket Ground) and then as dusk fell, transferred those cameras and outside production unit to the Olympic Swimming Pool during the evening.
Seven’s coverage in Beijing is being led by Seven’s Head of Sport, Saul Shtein, Executive Producer, Andy Kay and General Manager of Sport Operations, Col Southey.
“We can’t wait for the Games. We are ready. Our people are ready. It will be an extraordinary 17 days of television,” Mr Shtein said. “Nothing is bigger than an Olympic Games and we are about to embark on an extraordinary journey. The sheer size of our television coverage commitment is amazing but when we drill down past the statistics, you will see our coverage tell the real story of the Olympics: the athletes, their passion, their emotion, the drama. It will be fantastic.”
Seven will produce more than 633 hours of television coverage for Seven and SBS. More than 500 Australians will be involved in the television coverage – Seven’s biggest production commitment since the Olympic Games in Sydney.
In addition to these 500, more than 100 specialists from Seven will also play a critical role in the global television coverage with Seven again contracted by the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Organisation to provide technology and crew and to produce television coverage of all swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming events in Beijing. Seven produced the global television coverage of all swimming events in Sydney and Athens as well as coverage of all Freestyle Skiing events at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.
Eighteen months ago, Seven was recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the leader in the coverage of the Olympic Games.
Seven was awarded the highest honour - the gold award in the Olympic Golden Rings, a prestigious international competition in which the International Olympic Committee seeks to promote and award excellence in television coverage of the Olympic Games.
In all Seven won gold, silver and bronze in three of the four broadcasting categories – competing against television networks around the world in the biggest sports event on television, an Olympic Games. In a great recognition of Seven’s technology and production capabilities, Seven was awarded in the category: Best Olympic Sports Production.
Commenting, Mr Kay said: “We’ve assembled a group whose broadcasting experience and expertise in Olympic sports combines to give Australian viewers front row seats for an Olympic coverage never before seen.
“And the biggest technological breakthrough in Olympic television history happens this year when the entire coverage will be telecast in high definition for the first time in Australia. The quality of hosts and commentators will match that of the pictures.”
Anchoring the coverage will be Johanna Griggs, Matthew White and Sandy Roberts, reprising the roles they performed in Athens – a coverage which won the Seven Network the Golden Rings Award for the Best Olympic Coverage in the world as voted by the IOC, eclipsing broadcasters like America’s NBC and the BBC in England.
They’ll be joined in the studio by Andrew Daddo as host of the China-based program Yum Cha. Kylie Gillies will present regular news updates.
Johanna, Sandy and Matthew will direct traffic from their studio in the International Broadcast Centre in Beijing’s Olympic Green and take viewers to all parts of the country and as far as Hong Kong for coverage of the equestrian competition.
Bruce McAvaney will anchor Seven’s covering of swimming and track and field. Joining Bruce at the pool is Olympic gold medallist and accomplished swimming commentator Duncan Armstrong, while at the pool deck another former gold medallist, Daniel Kowalski, joins Seven for his first Olympic commentary role. Daniel will be the first person to greet the swimmers as they leave the pool following their events.
When Bruce ventures across to track and field, he’ll meet a commentary team also boasting a wealth of Olympic glory and experience. Olympic silver medallist Raelene Boyle, Olympic gold medallist Steve Ovett, World Championship medallist Steve Moneghetti and Olympic finalist David Culbert bring years of athletic and broadcasting experience to the microphone and can’t wait to share that experience with millions of Australian viewers.
Seven’s commentary team boasts some of Australia’s best known athletes and experts. Kerri Pottharst and Julien Prosser at beach volleyball; Lauren Burns at taekwondo; Andrew Gaze and Rachael Sporn at basketball; Dean Pullar at diving; Debbie Watson at water polo; Phil Liggett and Mike Turtur at cycling; Rechelle Hawkes and David Wansbrough at hockey; Nick Green at rowing, Damian Brown at weightlifting; Kerri Tepper at table tennis and Greg Welch at triathlon are just some of the former superstar athletes who will join Seven’s commentary team for this project, which has been some seven years in the planning.
Andrew Daddo, Kylie Gillies, Johanna Griggs, Sandy Roberts, Matthew White
Ric Birch, Sonia Kruger, Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Rebecca Wilson
Raelene Boyle, David Culbert, Bruce McAvaney, Steve Moneghetti, Steve Ovett, Pat Welsh
Peter Blackburn, Kerryn Pratt
Chris Dittmar, Andrew Gaze, Rachael Sporn, Basil Zempilas
David Culbert, Kerri Pottharst, Julien Prosser
Jim Neilly, Richie Woodhall
Peter Colquhoun, Michael Felgate, Tom Williams, Basil Zempilas
Peter Colquhoun, Neil Kearney, Phil Liggett, Mike Turtur, Tom Williams
Peter Donegan, Dean Pullar
Simon Marshall, Garry Wilkinson
Gordon Bray, Mike McCann
Liz Chetkovich, Simon Reeve
Peter Colquhoun, Michael Felgate, Darryl McCormack
Gordon Bray, David Christison, Rechelle Hawkes, David Wansbrough
Nicola Fairbrother, Nick Mullins
Michael Felgate, Nick Green, Basil Zempilas
Nick McCallum, Shirley Robertson, Richard Simmons
Joyce Lester, Kerryn Pratt
Duncan Armstrong, Daniel Kowalski, Bruce McAvaney
Peter Donegan, Kerri Tepper
Gordon Bray, Lauren Burns
Peter Donegan, Kerryn Pratt, Garry Wilkinson
David Culbert, Daniel Kowalski, Phil Liggett, Steve Moneghetti, Greg Welch
Jonathan Fogarty, Mike McCann
Jon Harker, Debbie Watson
Damian Brown, Peter Colquhoun, Pat Welsh
Seven will broadcast from 9.30am each morning – after an Olympic flavoured Sunrise program – until 2am the following morning. This will be complemented by Seven News at 6pm and Today Tonight at 6.30pm.
Add four hours per day of highlights on Yahoo!7 and Seven’s mobile coverage on Telstra Big Pond and Australians will have access to the most comprehensive and stunning Olympic Games coverage ever.
Penelope Cross (02) 8777 7270 (0421) 370 500
Simon Francis (02) 8777 7162 (0418) 777 748