One of those who bring the Games to the world

China Daily (USA) - - PEOPLE - Tangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

For many ath­letes, the ul­ti­mate prize is win­ning an Olympic gold medal. The broad­cast pro­ducer Wang Hai­wei can­not lay claim to one of those, but he can boast of hav­ing been on hand at a string of Olympics to see oth­ers do ex­actly that.

Wang works for the Olympic Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, which was cre­ated by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee in 2001 to serve as the host broad­caster or­ga­ni­za­tion for all sum­mer and win­ter Games and the Youth Olympic Games.

Wang’s first Olympics were the win­ter Games in Turin in 2006, and the Rio Olympics this year will be his sixth.

His golden rule for the Games, and any other sports broad­cast­ing for that mat­ter, is “un­bi­ased cov­er­age”, an ideal he hopes all pro­fes­sional broad­cast­ers ad­here to.

“For ex­am­ple, when China played Ger­many in table ten­nis in Bei­jing, Chi­nese fans greatly out­num­bered their Ger­man coun­ter­parts,” said Wang, the pro­duc­tion co­or­di­nat­ing pro­ducer with OBS. “Even if the Ger­mans were few and far be­tween in the crowd, our job was to be bal­anced.

“Ev­ery­one has a home coun­try, and his or her fa­vorite player or team, but when it comes to broad­cast­ing, you have to leave your bi­ases at the door be­cause fans of both com­peti­tors or teams are in front of the TV far away cheer­ing on their side.”

Wang, 41, has loved sports for much of his life, and he was the soccer team cap­tain in col­lege. He still plays in the lo­cal soccer league in Madrid, where the OBS head­quar­ters is lo­cated, he said.

Al­most all the OBS staff are pas­sion­ate about sport, but one qual­ity they all have in com­mon is a pro­fes­sion­al­ism that en­sures the qual­ity of their work, Wang said.

OBS has about 160 full-time staff, far from enough to broad­cast the world’s largest sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza. They bring to­gether about 6,000 ex­pe­ri­enced tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion pro­fes­sion­als dur­ing the sum­mer Games and about 4,000 for the win­ter Games from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, with their ex­per­tise in par­tic­u­lar sports.

Very spe­cific in­struc­tions about vi­su­als and co­or­di­nat­ing sound are cru­cial to en­sure ev­ery­one is on the same page in such a big project, he said.

“As the pro­duc­tion co­or­di­nat­ing pro­ducer, I have to en­sure that not only the light on the arena is right, but the light at the en­trances, the warm-up zone, the back­stage and else­where as well. We also have to en­sure that the medals pre­sen­ta­tion ros­trum and the na­tional flags are in the right place. The lo­ca­tion of cam­eras must be ac­cu­rate to within one cen­time­ter.”

He has been to Rio about 10 times in the past three years as OBS has pre­pared cov­er­age, he said.

Wang started his ca­reer as a TV sports re­porter in 1997 and joined the Bei­jing Olympic Broad­cast­ing Co, which OBS and the Bei­jing Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee jointly set up in 2005, for the 2008 Olympics.

Be­fore the Bei­jing Games, he was of­fered a job with OBS in Madrid once the 2008 Games were over, and he was one of OBS’ first two Chi­nese em­ploy­ees.

“The most chal­leng­ing but also in­ter­est­ing part of the job is to work with peo­ple in dif­fer­ent host coun­tries. The na­tional char­ac­ter, the cul­ture and man­age­ment style varies greatly. The Brazil­ians are quite dif­fer­ent from the Rus­sians (The 2014 win­ter Games were held in Sochi, Rus­sia). You need to adapt to the mul­ti­cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment, and I very much en­joy that.”

Wang sees in his life inklings of his Olympic des­tiny. He was born in Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, the city that will co­host the 2022 Win­ter Olympics with Bei­jing, and grew up in Bei­jing and Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, host city of the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in 2014.

When he was 14, his fam­ily moved back to their hometown, Shanghai, and he lived there for 16 years.

“Just look at the Chi­nese cities I have lived in and you will see that my life is tied up with the Olympics. I hope Shanghai will host the Games one day. My Olympic story will then be com­plete.”

Wang Hai­wei, broad­cast pro­ducer of OBS

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