For veteran newsman and Bay Observer reporter Denis Gibbons, the Sochi Olympics, set to get underway next month will be his 7th. Gibbons has been hired by NBC to work as a researcher for men’s hockey. When the games are being televised somebody has to come up with all those tidbits of information that the colour commentators provide during breaks in the action. “I will get to Sochi a week before the games start and begin researching all of the hockey players,” he said. “The information will go into a computer for use by the announcers.”

With the research completed Gibbons will then work behind the camera acting as a resource to the broadcast team. Denis has a particular advantage heading to Russia he reads, writes and speaks Russian at a reasonable level. “Thanks,” he says “to the great professors at Mc- Master, where I studied the language in night school for two years.” Gibbon’s Olympic careers started during the 1980s when he had been doing some freelance writing for publications of Hockey Canada in Calgary. One year before the 1988 Olympics there ABC, which had the U.S. rights at that time, sent an advance man to Calgary to scout out the place. Draggan Mihailovich, who is now a producer with the award-winning CBS program ’60 Minutes’, asked Donald Beauchamp, the director of media relations if he knew of anyone with a very good knowledge of international hockey who could work as a researcher. Donald gave him Denis’ name and, during the 1987 Canada Cup tournament at Copps Coliseum, Denis was hired. At the Calgary Olympics Denis worked with the broadcast team of Al Michaels and Ken Dryden. ABC’s contract expired and CBS had the contract for the next 3 Winter Olympics. Luckily for Denis, Mihailovich left ABC to join CBS so he just hired Denis again for the 1992 Games in France. After that, it was the 1994 Games in Norway and 1998 Games in Japan. Then NBC took over the contract, and Denis worked for NBC at Salt Lake City in 2002 He was supposed to do the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy for the same network, but had to have emergency heart bypass surgery and had to skip that one. Then he was back with NBC at Vancouver in 2010. Denis will file a report from Sochi in the February edition of the Bay Observer

John Best had enjoyed a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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