By ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun
They say 3.5 billion people around the world took in live TV coverage of the opening ceremony at the Sydney Games.
I'll own up -- I wasn't among them.
Not that I don't think the opening of an Olympics isn't worth a long look. Indeed, CBC brought viewers a staggering array of pictures from Stadium Australia, including a breath-taking lighting of the torch by Aussie Olympic hero Cathy Freeman.
As someone who has been enthralled by the Olympics for most of his life, it gave me the chills. One more time all over again.
And no, there was no call in the middle of the night from someone at NBC, advising me that watching it all on tape was the right way to go.
It's a long grind, these Olympics, especially when they're in a time zone that seems like it's on the other side of the world (oh, right, it is).
Gotta conserve the energy for the many late nights (early mornings?) to come.
Too bad anyone who tuned in to watch the first replay of the opening yesterday at 9 a.m. on CBC Newsworld. This was Opening Ceremony Lite, with the broadcast obviously condensed to make room for the network's mandatory news breaks every hour.
And Newsworld's Alison Smith did remind viewers repeatedly that the network was showing "highlights from the Opening Ceremony."
So really, we got exactly what was advertised (a full repeat aired at 2 p.m. on CBC).
Once more, the lesson is learned: Nothing beats seeing it all live.
Now what time are those big swimming finals on?
MORE OPENING THOUGHTS: Say this much about triathlon in the Olympics -- it's a great TV sport. The swimming pictures from Sydney Harbour were especially spectacular. TV tip: The men are up next tonight ... Sign of the times: Seeing Canadian athletes on cellphones at the opening ceremony, no doubt saying g'day to their buds back home ... Worth staying up for: Swimming finals at a spectacular, loud venue. But you'll have to stay up past 4 a.m. to do it. Think speed skating in Nagano in 1998
AROUND THE DIAL: Even the Aussies know CBC couldn't have come up with a better spot for its outdoor set. "Everyone here says it's the best position -- they all know where the location is," said Joel Darling, CBC's executive director in Sydney of the location on top of St. Aloysius Boys' School ... 1984 Olympic legend Alex Baumann, now a swim coach in Australia, will appear with CBC's Brian Williams in Inside Edge segments tonight and tomorrow. Look for rower Marnie McBean later in the Games ... Good insight from CTV Sportsnet's Gerry Dobson during his Sportscentral report last night on wind problems at the rowing venue.