CBC P.E.I.'s Bruce Rainnie heads to Rio 2016 Olympic Games
'I'm very excited for the work and to see these sports up close'
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."
Security conditions in Rio, an athletes' village that is not yet ready, polluted water and Zika virus are all concerns, Rainnie said.
"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.
"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."
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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.
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.
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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.
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With files from Island Morning