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Thursday, September 28, 2000
Remote Control TV

By ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

  Good thing Jim Van Horne is used to flying solo.

 There he was, early yesterday morning, all by his lonesome as he called the dramatic gold-medal men's doubles tennis match between Canadians Sebastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor, and Aussies Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge.

 Like the steady TSN SportsDesk anchor he is, Van Horne rarely faltered in the bright spotlight. Rather, he revelled in it, using an economy of words and letting the action on the court tell most of the story.

 How into this was Van Horne?

 At one point, when CBC's Ron MacLean threw back to him from an update, Van Horne said "I hope this goes on forever."

 Later, as the tension built on the court, Van Horne added this: "If you watch this on television tomorrow, you won't get the essence of this match."

 Kind of made those of us who stayed up until the finish (a little past 3:30 a.m.) feel we'd done the right thing.

 When the match reached its sudden, startling end on a pair of Aussie double faults, Van Horne captured the moment with another call that went right to the heart of the matter.

 "Game. Set. Championship. Canada, Nestor and Lareau ... gold medal," he said emphatically.

 Maybe it was no "do you believe in miracles?" (one of the all-time great Olympics calls). But it suited the occasion.

 And it proved, one more time, that from a viewer's point of view, less often is more.

 Of course, it's a little easier when there's only one guy (or girl) with a mike in front of him.

 THE OVERNIGHT SHIFT: At least the key events Canadians want to see are moving into slightly more normal hours. The Lareau-Nestor doubles match hit the court at 1 a.m. yesterday, and Canada-France basketball overnight was a 2 a.m. tipoff. Where was this about a week ago? ... Words rarely seen in tennis: Gold-medal point, Until yesterday, that was ... TSN's Dave Randorf, who's working an overnight shift of his own (his "day" starts at 3 a.m. in Sydney), has won raves from viewers for his anchor work ... You know you're right in the middle of the action when you can hear synchro divers counting down before they take the plunge.

 DOWN UNDUH TALK: One last point (we hope) about NBC's slamming of CBC's coverage style. As Nancy Lee, CBC Sports' executive director, points out, while the network is offering live coverage at bizarre hours, viewers aren't bound to watching events in the dark. There are plenty of replays during the day. "It's not like you see it live and then is disappears into ether and you never see it again," she said ... Another day, another panel discussion about the problems in Canadian amateur sport. Can't say the CBC hasn't examined this subject thoroughly ... Mark your calendar: Canada's Caroline Brunet paddles for gold at 5:50 p.m. on Saturday, then again at 6:55 p.m. with partner Karen Furneaux.
 Sport by Sport
PARALYMPICS
Purdy's golden moment
WRESTLING
IOC strips gold medal
TENNIS
Nestor's golden win hits home
BOXING
Harrison starts in Britain
WEIGHTLIFTING
Bulgarian coach resigns
TRACK & FIELD
Student suspended for e-mail threats
CANOE/KAYAK
Bridesmaid Brunet
PENTATHLON
Brit wins women's modern pentathlon
TRIATHLON
Simon's our man
BASKETBALL
Dream Team hangs on for another gold
WATER POLO
Hungary destroys Russia in title game
GYMNASTICS
Barsukova wins rhythmic gold in an upset
EQUESTRIAN
Wind dashes Millar's medal hopes
VOLLEYBALL
Yugoslavia beats Russia for gold
DIVING
Despatie arrives early
FIELD HOCKEY
Netherlands retains Olympic title
TAEKWONDO
Bosshart wins bronze in taekwondo
SYNCHRO
Ironic performance wins bronze
SAILING
Clarke retires after finishing 17th