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Olympic-sized Patience 

Going for gold, 24 years later

Twenty-four years ago, TV producer Peter Rolfe was all set to go to the Summer Olympics, to check another "done that" off his already impressive list of TV events -- big ones like the Super Bowl, World Series, NCAA college hoops, and even a Miss Universe pageant.

Things didn't work out, however, when President Jimmy Carter announced the United States' withdrawal from the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. No guts, no glory, no gold. No TV, either.

But Rolfe is headed back to the Olympics after all these years. The Charlotte-based VP of production for Raycom Sports is in Athens to produce the broadcast of boxing events for NBC. "This is something I didn't think I'd be doing," Rolfe says, "but there's a lot of satisfaction in doing a project I never got to finish."

Rolfe will have a crew of 25, including announcers and crew, a full mobile production unit, a video editing facility, and even a commissary at his disposal at the boxing venue. The boxing competition begins August 11.

"We'll be pretty self-sufficient, but the only thing that concerns me is travel time to the venues and how the extra security will impact that," Rolfe says. "Basically, our hotel is a "lockdown' facility."

And despite the work, he'll try to wedge in a little sightseeing. "Seeing the Acropolis and the Parthenon are also on my "to do' list."

Charlotte's NBC Newschannel is also well-represented at the Olympics. Forty-one staffers from Charlotte are Athens-bound and will be working in all the Olympic venues. As a feed and newsgathering service for NBC affiliate television stations across the country, Newschannel will do live shots for those local stations, and produce taped features to feed back here by satellite.

There will also be over a hundred local TV reporters and photographers going with them to do stories from Athens. Viewers will also have more outlets to get their games on. NBC will use sister channels MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, and USA Network for Olympic event programming.

But even though it's a branch of NBC News, don't expect our local Newschannel folks to be rubbing elbows with Costas and Couric. They'll be working in their own newsroom facility created just for the Games. A few weeks ago, it was an Athens cabinetmaker's showroom and warehouse.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com

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