Olympic notebook: Canada's Brodeur talks hockey, tech

VANCOUVER--Team Canada goalie Martin Brodeur was in Robson Square on Friday at a GE event ostensibly to talk about health and health technology in sports, but naturally the talk quickly turned to hockey and, specifically, the incredible pressure on the host nation's team to win gold.

"I think it's just normal," Brodeur told reporters. "People have been waiting for a lot of years to have these Olympics in Canada...Expectations are high and we definitely are looking forward to the challenge. It's what we do in Canada--we play hockey."

Brodeur, for those not … Read more

Canada's high-tech effort to 'own the podium'

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Determined to make a better medal showing on its home soil, Canada has spent millions of dollars over the past several years in an effort to "own the podium."

And a big part of that effort has been a "top secret" program that aims to give the country's athletes better uniforms and better equipment, as well as access to technology that can help them improve their performance.

In the past five years, Canada has invested $8 million exploring anything that might give their athletes a boost, including better materials for uniforms, putting athletes … Read more

Olympic notebook: Meet the Games' youngest reporter

VANCOUVER--Working in the unofficial press center at Robson Square, Brennan LaBrie stands out a bit.

It's not just that he's blogging, doing podcasts, and posting to Twitter. It's that he's 10 years old. LaBrie was one of a dozen winners of a Time magazine "kid reporter" contest. But LaBrie was already an experienced reporter before landing the Time gig. He runs a handwritten neighborhood weekly that has roughly 250 subscribers paying 25 cents an issue.

Because his hometown, Port Townsend, Wash., is so close, the folks at Time suggested he come to the Games … Read more

Inside the Olympics' 'mission control'

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--While the Winter Olympics have brought many headaches for organizers, the computing systems haven't been one of them.

In fact, things have been pretty quiet inside the low-rise building in east Vancouver where the technology operations are headquartered.

"In here, our objective is to be bored," said Atos Origin's Magnus Alvarsson, one of those in charge of overseeing the Olympics' IT setup. And from where he sits, just outside the computer-filled room that is the equivalent of NASA's mission control, things have been just about as uneventful as he could hope for.

Among … Read more

Scenes from an Olympic hockey game

VANCOUVER, B.C.--It may not have been the most anticipated hockey matchup, but there was plenty of excitement inside Canada Hockey Place on Wednesday as Finland took on Belarus in the first game of the day.

Like many of the fans I talked to, I chose this game because it was the one I could get tickets to. Among those in that camp was Gareth Farfan, who brought his daughter Lily. Outside the arena, he stopped to get her a Finnish flag, choosing to cheer for them because Sami Salo, a member of the local Vancouver Canucks, plays on … Read more

Vancouver to give spectators a better flame view

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Bowing to intense criticism that the Olympic cauldron was too hidden, organizers on Wednesday announced plans to improve the view.

In a statement, the Vancouver Organizing Committee said it would move some of the current fencing and add a rooftop observation point that provides an unobstructed view of the Olympic flame.

"The Olympic cauldron is a powerful symbol, and the desire to get as close to it as possible has been remarkable--more than we expected," VanOC CEO John Furlong said in a statement. "We are pleased to provide enhanced opportunities for all to see the … Read more

Olympic notebook: The glitchy Games

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--As the sun rises into a bright blue sky here, it's hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for the Olympics. But the sun is just one of many problems that have marred the start of these Winter Games.

Even before the Games began, the weather had caused problems for course builders at Cypress Mountain, sending them scrambling to use straw and other innovations to make up for a lack of snow. Since then, organizers have had to cancel thousands of general-admission tickets at Cypress, saying weekend rains had made the standing areas unsafe.

On the day … Read more

Top U.S. bobsledder is a gold medal nerd

WHISTLER, British Columbia--Team USA is pinning its bobsled hopes on a geek.

Luckily, Steven Holcomb is a reigning world champion in the four-man bobsled, in addition to being a big computer nerd.

"I'm working on my computer science degree," Holcomb said in an interview with CNET. "I'm a huge gamer. I'm A+ certified and a Microsoft Certified Professional."

Computers have taken a back seat in recent years, though, as Holcomb has been driving bobsleds full time on the World Cup and international circuit.

Still, though, Holcomb is never too far from technology. He … Read more

Olympic notebook: A fresh look at the medal table

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Although most of the attention on Olympic national medal totals focuses on the top of the aggregate standings, one company is offering a different option.

Radnor, Pa.-based QlikTech has an application that breaks things down along other means, adjusting for things like population and gross domestic product, to offer another measure of performance. While the U.S. tops the aggregate medal chart, for example, Norway is most impressive, when adjusted for GDP or population.

The application, which is available on QlikTech's Web site, also offers a weighted medal count (giving four points for a gold, two … Read more

Live from an Olympic medal ceremony

WHISTLER, British Columbia--While most of the medal ceremonies Monday are taking place here, the most important one in this country was the one held moments ago, two hours south, in Vancouver.

That ceremony, for men's mogul skiing, was the clear centerpiece and shown on the big screen here ahead of the medals handed out live.

There were loud cheers for bronze medalist Bryon Wilson of the U.S., louder still for Australian silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith, but a deafening roar erupted for now national icon Alexandre Bilodeau, who brought home Canada's first gold of the Vancouver--or any Canada-hosted--games. … Read more