PEI

CBC P.E.I.'s Bruce Rainnie heads to Rio 2016 Olympic Games

As controversy swirls ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, CBC News: Compass host Bruce Rainnie is focused on the athletics as he prepares to head to Brazil to cover basketball, golf, tennis and equestrian show jumping.

'I'm very excited for the work and to see these sports up close'

Rainnie in Russia with the curling coverage team, Joan McCusker and Mike Harris, at Sochi 2014. (Submitted by Bruce Rainnie )

As controversy swirls ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, CBC News: Compass host Bruce Rainnie is focused on the athletics as he prepares to head to Brazil to cover basketball, golf, tennis and equestrian show jumping. 

This will be Rainnie's seventh Olympic games — he's covered them in Sydney, Australia, Salt Lake City, Utah,  Athens, Greece, Torino, Italy, Bejing, China and Sochi, Russia. 

Ecology, biology, politics, crime, doping — this is the perfect storm. I've never seen anything like this.— Bruce Rainne 

"I'm very excited for the work and to see these sports up close," said Rainnie, citing less enthusiasm for his destination. 

"Every Olympics I've been to except for Australia has been fraught with a lot of pre-Olympic concern." 

'Perfect storm'

Security conditions in Rio, an athletes' village that is not yet ready, polluted water and Zika virus are all concerns, Rainnie said. 

CBC's Bruce Rainnie said transportation to the broadcast centre has been the biggest challenge so far. (CBC)

"Ecology, biology, politics, crime, doping — this is the perfect storm. I've never seen anything like this, and it weighs on you," said Rainnie, who is married with two young sons. 

"However, I am very confident the CBC has us in a safe media village. And all I have to do really at these Olympics is get up in the morning, get on a bus, a shuttle, right to a venue, get off the bus, walk into the venue, do my sport," he said. "This will not be a sightseeing-geared Olympics at all!"  

He'll be calling women's basketball for CBC — the Canadian men's basketball team didn't qualify — individual and team equestrian show jumping, and probably tennis and golf, if Canadians perform well. 

Medal hopes?

"Brooke Henderson is the third-ranked golfer in the world at age 18 from Smith's Falls, Ontario," Rainnie pointed out. "Would not be surprised to see her in medal contention on the final day."

Canadian men's golfers are, in Rainnie's opinion, "long shots," as are men's individual tennis players. "However, the doubles team of Nestor and Pospisil could win." 

Unlike Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic, who pulled out of the games two weeks ago citing health concerns, Eugenie Bouchard is going to play women's tennis and could be a contender, Rainnie said.

In show jumping, "anything can happen," said Rainnie. Eric Lamaze — who won Olympic show jumping gold in 2008 — will be there.

Rainnie follows basketball, tennis and golf and often covers show jumping for CBC at Spruce Meadows.

Preparation is key

The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games is Friday, August 5. 

P.E.I. Olympian Heather Moyse dropped in on Bruce Rainnie with her gold medal at the last Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. (Submitted by Bruce Rainnie )

To prepare, Rainnie went to a two-day seminar held by CBC, much of which was geared toward staying safe, he said, including avoiding kidnapping, which is common in Brazil. 

Rainnie cites Australia as the best experience he's ever had covering an Olympics, with its friendly people, beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere. 

His worst, he said, was Athens. "All the major networks like us and NBC ever showed was the great ancient architecture. What they didn't show was the thousands of homeless dogs, homeless people, the pollution in the air," he pointed out.  

Games abbreviate Compass

Compass, the CBC supper-hour news for P.E.I., will be abbreviated to only 5 minutes, most nights at 7 p.m., while the Olympics are on. Compass will be hosted by Patrick Faller. 

The time zone will make viewing perfect for watching the sports on television here at home, Rainnie added. 

With files from Island Morning

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