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Sunday, September 17, 2000
Let's go to the videotape

 TORONTO (CP-AP) -- It was all-triathlon on North American TV Saturday night.

 The only difference was that CBC was showing the men's triathlon live, while NBC was showing a tape of Friday night's women's triathlon.

 The same thing happened with the guymnastics preliminaries. While CBC showen the women's competition live, NBC showed tape of the men's event the previous night.

 NBC is packaging the Games for prime time, while CBC is going live.

 Take the opening ceremonies, which CBC showed live starting at 4 a.m. EDT Friday while NBC showed it on tape Friday night.

 At 8:25 p.m. on the East Coast, just about the time viewers were being treated to a silly joke about lawyers from Bob Costas as dozens of amateur fire-breathers stomped across the field at Olympic Stadium (on tape), U.S. shooter Nancy Johnson was winning the first gold medal of the Games (in the real world). There was no indication of Johnson's accomplishment from NBC.

 About 30 minutes later, Australian swimming standout Ian Thorpe broke the Olympic record for the 400-metre freestyle in a preliminary race. And within the hour, two more records fell at the pool.

 Again, no mention on NBC. CBC showed the races live. TSN is also airing live Olympic coverage.

 NBC anchors' studio segments are live, but not a single second of competition is.

 NBC's Olympic coverage came on the air Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EDT, a smidgen more than 12 hours after Thorpe set the 400 free world record in the final.

 Yet, in the interest of holding on to that bit of video for prime time, the network ignored the news and went directly to Thorpe's even older, and less swift, preliminary swim. There were four other swimming world records also saved for later use.

 Non-sports news, at least, did not suffer the same delay Saturday. Studio host Hannah Storm did provide a timely report on the death of IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch's wife.

 ABC poked fun at NBC's all-tape, all-the-time policy. When Robin Roberts reported from Sydney during Friday's Good Morning America, a graphic read, "Really live."

 After some still photos of the opening ceremony were shown, Roberts again appeared on screen, with a new graphic: "She is still REALLY LIVE."

 Not everything is live on CBC. A beach volleyball game Sunday featuring Canadians Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann was shown on tape delay.
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