Olympic athlete's death streamed on CTV site

Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:36pm EST
 
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - When Canada's CTV-led Olympic broadcast consortium said it would stream every second of the Vancouver Games sporting competition, one thing it didn't have in mind was capturing the moment of an athlete's death.

But that's what happened Friday afternoon when Canadian online viewers of CTV's dedicated Olympics Web site witnessed in real time the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili after a high-speed crash at the end of his final pre-Olympic training run at the Whistler Sliding Center.

After "much consideration," according to sources at CTV (Canada's largest privately owned network), the broadcaster posted footage of the horrific crash that led to the athlete's death, with a viewer warning attached. With YouTube and other online video sites almost instantly posting the same graphic video, Canadian broadcasters with exclusive rights to air and stream the Olympics live seemingly had no alternative.

A second video posting on the CTV Olympics Web site had the broadcasters' sport commentators offering extended discussion of possible fallout on and off the Whistler sliding track from the death of the Georgian athlete.

CTV's television news coverage stopped short of broadcasting Kumaritashvili's crash, and instead showed the severely injured athlete being placed in an ambulance.

To provide 24/7 coverage of the Vancouver Olympics online, the Canadian broadcast media consortium will feature 2,350 hours of exclusive online content on up to 14 concurrent live streams, in addition to live streaming on mobile devices.