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Canada Loses TV Signal; Viewers Miss Johnson's World-Record Run

September 01, 1987|Associated Press

TORONTO — While Toronto's Ben Johnson was lightning fast at the World Track and Field Championships Sunday, Canadian Broadcasting Co. television was slow out of the blocks showing his world-record performance in the 100 meters at Rome.

The CBC had built up the 100 meters final throughout its same-day television coverage, but the screen went blank when it came time to show the race because of a technical problem.

Service was interrupted about a second before the starting gun was fired. While viewers listened to the description of the race, all they saw was a slide of the Colosseum in Rome.

"Can you believe of all times to go down," said Allan Shimmon, the chief technician on duty Sunday. "I don't know what happened."

The satellite hookup was eventually restored, and Johnson's 9.83-second world-record sprint was repeated several times.

The CBC switchboard was swamped with calls complaining about the interruption.

"I can't keep track of them," a switchboard operator said. "I'm alone today, and this was all I needed."

A CBC commentator, later in the broadcast, blamed the problem on the international feed provided to the network.

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