The top weightlifters from over 105 countries in the world…a total of nearly 750 lifters are filtering into Houston. The 2015 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships will be staged in the cavernous George R. Brown Convention Center starting Thursday with opening ceremonies.
Already many teams can be seen wandering through the Center on the third floor with work out areas, warm up areas, training areas and other locations for the athletes to get ready already in operation. Teams from Great Britain, South Korea, Ajerbaijan, India and North Korea were spotted in the halls wearing team gear. More teams are arriving by the hour
I am very lucky to be been hired to handle the television ” lift by lift” for the “A” class competition which will go out on a world wide international feed starting Friday. A potential audience from Great Britain to China of over one-billion viewers will have access.
Visiting the GRB this morning to meet some folks and tour the facility I was greatly impressed. The television facilities are being handled by a group from Europe that specializes in international events. This was the same crew that handled the world feed of the recent Cricket exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and Houston.
A complete television control room is being constructed on site. And this is not some mini operation. More than 30 tons of gear is being un-packed and built. Switchers, audio, graphics and much recording gear for the live show as well as later video. The telecast itself will use eleven cameras in stable positions, with two hand held and one or two lipstick cameras in the warm up room. This is for a sport in which all the action is in one four meter by four meter lifting spot in the middle of a stage. This is a major production. And it will be very long hours. In addition to the “A” level competition in eight men’s weight divisions and seven for the women…running roughly two hours in each…the lower level divisions will have video recorded. (Fortunately the announcers won’t work much of that and be focused on the top divisions.)
You will see a good number of the competitors even if you don’t make it into the GRB or watch the U.S. live feed on ESPN3. The lifters have been invited and encouraged to take part in Houston’s Thanksgiving Parade wearing the colors of their nations. If you are on hand for that or watch the telecast you will see much of the world pass before your eyes.
For the United States a second show will be prepared for delay telecast on ESPN2. That show will feature some interviews with competitors and have more of a U.S. feel than the International live TV feed which will be purely focused on the top lifters and their stories.
The actual lifting competition will be staged on the third floor in one of the large arena facilities. Signs are everywhere to point the way. The rules are simple. The competition to help nations qualify the maximum number of lifters for the Olympics next year is on the line. And, of course, being able to add a gold medal in a World Championship to one’s resume is pretty special itself.
And it is all happening in Houston starting later this week!