By ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun
Wondering whether the Aussies have caught the Olympic spirit just yet?
The answer yesterday, from the swimming venue at least, was a resounding yes.
What a sight it was in the wee hours of the morning at the Sydney Aquatic Centre, watching what seemed like an entire nation roar its approval as their hero, Ian Thorpe, smashed his American rivals not once but twice.
Here's hoping Canadians didn't have their TV sets tuned too loudly around 5:30 a.m. when the Down Under boys vanquished the U.S. for the first time in years in an Olympic men's 4x100-metre relay final.
Yeah, it was that loud.
The neighbours would not have been amused (it's the weekend, after all).
CBC later brought home the feeling more with a new segment it calls All Access. A series of revealing photos hammered home the fervour the folks Down Under have for this sport.
Reason to check swimming off as one of the hottest tickets of the Games for viewers, even if you've gotta wait until after 4 a.m. for live finals (yes, CBC brings them back on tape at a more humane hour later in the morning).
"The Aussies are among the best sports fans in the world," CBC evening host Brian Williams told the Sun before this Sydney soiree began. "(For the swimming finals), they'll make the Stanley Cup final sound like a picnic by comparison."
Who are we to argue?
THE OVERNIGHT SHIFT: There's women's water polo on CBC and men's field hockey on TSN. Yup, this must be the Olympics ... Speaking of water polo, thanks to some cool camera angles, this is one sport worth checking out at these Games ... If I'm hearing TSN's Jim Van Horne and think it's CBC's Mark Lee, have I been up too late watching this stuff? Do they really sound that much alike? ... What a spoil sport. CBC's Byron MacDonald declared the men's 400-metre swim final over less than one 50-metre length into it. But then again, laying that kind of talk on The Thorpedo (Thorpe) isn't exactly like going out on a narrow limb or anything ... Was that ABBA music we heard at the swimming venue? Just checking.
DOWN UNDAH TALK: You'll see pictures of it dozens of times during these Olympics. And if you saw Sheri Hargrave's insightful feature yesterday on TSN, you now know all kinds of fascinating things about the famed Sydney Opera House ... TSN has launched a live morning SportsDesk for the Olympics ... So that's what Waltzing Matilda is all about, Allen Abel. Now, can you please do something to get that tune out of my head ... CNBC's Sydney Games feed isn't available in Canada.
QUOTABLE: "(The Olympics) are about the essence of what sports is, about what made us all like sports in the first place. It's about being right on that day." -- TSN afternoon host Dave Randorf.