So Much For Feeling Like a Stranger

by Steve McAllister, President, Sports Media Canada, in Innsbruck to represent Canada at the annual A.I.P.S. Congress there.

INNSBRUCK, Austria -As it turns out, the host city for the first-ever Youth Winter Olympics and the 75th AIPS Congress is crawling with Canadians. Charmaine Crooks, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist, served as the master of ceremonies Friday in officially welcoming sports journalist from 104 countries to the annual Congress. Besides serving on the Canadian Olympic Committee board of directors, Crooks has been a member of the International Olympic Committee’s press commission for more than a decade.

Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut arrived in

Steve McAllister and Marcel Aubut at the AIPS Congress

Innsbruck on Friday morning with executive director Carol Assalian for the opening ceremonies of the Youth Winter Olympics. Aubut and Assalian found time to drop by the Congress to attend a Proctor and Gamble news conference to announce that it is continuing its “proud sponsor of moms” program around the Olympics. The P&G campaign reaches into Canada and includes three-time Olympic kayaker Adam Van Koeverden. Aubut, who became COC president in April 2010 and has been busy building the business side of the organization during his tenure, was staying in Innsbruck for a couple of days before heading on to London to check on preparations for Canada House – the “headquarters” for athletes’ families, members of the Canadian Olympic family and sponsors during the Games – in anticipation of the Summer Olympics later this year. “It will be spectacular,” said Aubut, decked out in 2012 Canadian Olympic apparel.

Two veteran Canadian journalists are in Innsbruck covering the Youth Olympics for IOC media groups. Alan Adams, the former hockey writer for the Canadian Press, Toronto Star and National Post, makes his living these days as a member an international news service that provides online news stories and gave coverage, quote sheets off news conferences and photos at the major global sporting events. In addition Emily Ridlington who now works for the CBC in Northern Canada is part of the Young Reporters group covering the Youth Olympics here.

Tony Ambrogio from Rogers Sportsnet is working as a segment reporter –producer for the Olympic News Channel, which produces an hour-long sports highlights and features show for Olympic Broadcast Services to provide to the broadcast organizations which purchased television and radio rights to the Games. Ambrogio, who began his career on radio in Owen Sound (your humble correspondent got to know Tony when he hosted a sports talk show in the 1990s and had me on his program during my days handling media relations for the NHL Players’ Association) before moving to Toronto to join The Score as a reporter, figures he’ll be focusing on the hockey, speed skating and figure skating competitions in Innsbruck. When he returns to Canada, Ambrogio won’t have much time to catch his breath before leaving for Florida to cover the Toronto Blue Jays at spring training for Sportsnet Connected.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that representatives of the Canadian sports media community would be putting their stamp on the latest global sporting event. The resumes of Sports Media Canada mainstays Don Goodwin, John Iaboni and Ralph Mellanby – which extend far beyond the reach of Boston Bruins’ behemoth defenceman Zdeno Chara – include a wealth of Olympic experience that has been recognized and appreciated not only nationally but by media organizations around the world.