Olympics on CTV: Potential Commentators

We are now just about one year out from the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London, Great Britain next summer. Competition begins one year from this coming Monday, July 25 when women’s football gets underway from Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 11:00am ET. The Opening Ceremony will go two days later, July 28 at the Olympic Stadium in London beginning at 2:30pm ET. Next week CTV will make many announcements about their Olympic coverage one year out. Brian Williams will be on Canada AM and Off the Record to announce CTV’s coverage plans on Monday. CTV will also have Olympic programming on Canada AM on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now on to my predictions for CTV’s commentators. Some of these are almost a certainty, while others are purely a guess. I’ll try to provide some reasoning.

Athletics – Gord Miller, Donovan Bailey, Charmaine Crooks, James Cybulski
Gord Miller is a virtual shoe-in. TSN gave him a trial run at that event Usain Bolt participated in in Toronto a couple years back. Bailey was a part of CBC’s 2008 coverage, but otherwise doesn’t have ties to the network. I could see Andy Higgins, who also did the 2008 event for TSN, being the male analyst instead of Bailey. Charmaine Crooks has worked for TSN before, so she makes sense as a secondary analyst. I’ve pegged James Cybulski as the sideline reporter because he is one of TSN’s top reporters and he was also a part of the 2008 event in Toronto. This is, of course, assuming CTV uses him as a reporter instead of a studio host and that they even send him to London.

Swimming – Rob Faulds, Byron McDonald, Farhan Lalji
This one is pretty straightforward. Faulds was CTV’s swimming commentator at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. McDonald is such a good analyst that he is worth whatever CTV has to pay him. If McDonald doesn’t end up as the analyst, my money is on Alex Baumann.

Diving – Rob Faulds, Blythe Hartley, Farhan Lalji
Rob Faulds is obvious if he does swimming. So is Lalji. CTV could go the CBC route and use the terrible Anne Montminy. I hope they choose a different direction and use two-time World Champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Blythe Hartley, who retired after the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Gymnastics – Vic Rauter, Kyle Shewfelt (artistic), Lori Strong-Ballard (artistic) Lori Fung (rhythmic), Sara Orlesky
This one seems fairly easy to me. I’ve heard Rauter will do play-by-play (don’t ask why, I guess they needed to put him somewhere). Shewfelt worked for CBC in 2008 and is the best known Canadian gymnast. Strong-Ballard was a mainstay on CBC’s coverage from 2000-2008. I think a 3-person booth works well for gymnastics. Fung won an Olympic medal in rhythmic gymnastics, making her a good fit as well. It seems sensible to put a female, Orlesky, as the reporter on gymnastics.

Rowing – Chris Cuthbert, Barney Williams. Ryan Rishaug
Cuthbert is a given. He was a great rowing commentator for CBC’s coverage. Williams did a good job for CBC in Beijing, but I could see CTV going any number of ways for the analyst position. Marnie McBean is another option. I basically put Rishaug here because he is the biggest reporter CTV has left.

Canoe/Kayak (sprint) – Chris Cuthbert, Scott Logan, Ryan Rishaug
Again, Cuthbert and whoever does reporting on rowing are givens. I think CTV will bring in longtime CBC analyst Scott Logan to do the colour commentary.

Cycling – Rod Smith, Curt Harnett (road/track), Alison Sydor (mountain), Kevin O’Brien (BMX)
I understand that Smith will handle play-by-play for road and track cycling. I’d guess CTV taps former CBC analyst Curt Harnett to provide analysis. Alison Sydor is a former Olympic medalist, I think she gets the gig as mountain bike analyst. I put O’Brien on BMX because he did it for CBC in 2008 and nobody else comes to mind who could do it.

Tennis – Rod Black, Robert Bettauer
Working tennis will allow Black to only be in London for one week, which will in turn allow him to work CFL games the weekend of August 10. With Gord Miller doing athletics, he will be able to do CFL games the weekend of July 28. Bettauer has ties to TSN and Sportsnet, so he makes an obvious choice as analyst.

Volleyball (jndoor) – Paul Romanuk, Charles Parkinson
They need to give Dobson a role somewhere. Parkinson is a given either on the indoor court or the beach, I just don’t know where yet.

Beach Volleyball – Bryan Mudryk, John Child
Okay, I have no clue. This one is a complete guess. Could be someone like Campbell or Broadhead doing play-by-play too.

Boxing – Joe Bowen, Russ Anber
No doubt they will use Anber. The only question is, will they pair him with Bowen or Rod Black?

Canoe/Kayak (slalom) – Gerry Dobson, Claudia Kerckhoff
I think Dobson will get a bunch of scraps. Not that he doesn’t deserve something better, but Cuthbert trumps him at rowing, which he did in 1992. Kerckhoff did this sport for CBC in 2008. He is best at “racing” events, such as alpine skiing. Honestly, I’m not familiar with any other Canadians in canoe/kayak slalom because, well, we suck at it.

Triathlon – Gerry Dobson, Steve King
Another event with a potential Canadian medal (or 2) for Dobson. Apparently King has worked triathlons on TSN before, I don’t know a lot about him. They could use Barry Shepley.

Synchronized Swimming – Holly Horton, Carolyn Waldo
Horton was originally supposed to be part of CTV’s 2010 Olympic coverage until she got pregnant. I think CTV will bring her into the fold in 2012. This seems like a perfect sport for her to do. Waldo is an Olympic medallist and works for CTV Ottawa.

Basketball – Matt Devlin, Jack Armstrong (men’s), Stacey Dales (women’s)
Unless they can somehow get Shulman, this seems locked, loaded and ready to go on the men’s side. Who knows who will do women’s analysis; Dales has worked for ESPN in the States, so she has a tie-in to TSN.

Football – Luke Wileman, Nigel Reed, Craig Forrest (men’s), Kara Lang (women’s), Craig MacEwen
They may only decide to send Wileman and Lang if only the women qualify, then opt to use the BBC commentary for other men’s matches.

Equestrian – Jim Van Horne, Cara Whitham (dressage)
Jim Van Horne has TSN connections and has called this for CBC before (in 2000). Another option might be RJ Broadhead. Whitham seems like an obvious choice for dressage. I know a fair bit about show jumping, but I don’t have a clue who they could use as an analyst. They probably won’t use someone from CBC and most of Canada’s older famous riders (Ian Millar, Mac Cone) are still competing.

Hockey – Nigel Reed, David Bissett

Judo – Jeff Marek, Mark Berger
If Marek doesn’t do Sportsnet studio, then he will probably do judo as MMA is his second specialty (after hockey). Berger is one of two Canadian Olympic medallists in the sport, the other being Nicolas Gill.

Taekwondo – Jeff Marek, Tino Dos Santos
Another sport Marek could work. Dos Santos was the CBC analyst in 2008.

Wrestling – RJ Broadhead, Daniel Igali
I figure they will put Broadhead somewhere, I guess wrestling is as good a spot as anywhere. Igali is one of the most recognizable Canadian athletes over the past ten years, so he would be a great choice as analyst on both his sport of freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Weightlifting -Nigel Reed, Aldo Roy
I’m just going to use the CBC crew from 2008 because I don’t have a clue.

Water Polo – Kevin Quinn, Waneek Horne-Miller
The closest sport to water polo that is called regularly by Canadians is water polo, so Quinn is the sensible choice for this. I could see RJ Broadhead as well though. Horne-Miller hosted coverage for APTN in 2010, so she is a natural fit to move into the analyst role.

Sailing – Peter Rusch, Hans Fogh
Fogh was a successful Canadian sailor. I’m not sure if he is retired or not, but if he is, I’d use him as an analyst. Rusch did commentary in 2008 for CBC.

As for other sports, I think they will just use commentators, like Reed, usually from studio to present highlights and the occasional live coverage.


11 thoughts on “Olympics on CTV: Potential Commentators

  1. Hey I like your predicitons for CTV Olympic Commentator Roles. I like to offer my two cents worth:

    Atlhletics – Miller (PBP) makes sense, Cybalski (Sideline) agreed. Donovan Bailey would be an obvious choice, so is Micheal Smith if CBC agrees to lend him to the consortium. Charmaine Crooks is an IOC member so her availbiity is not an issue, possibly Rosey Edeh maybe a possible analyst as she was a former 400 and 800m runner.

    Swimming – Faulds and MacDonald makes a lot sense.They worked together for CTV in 92 and Faulds did the great call when Mark Tweksberry won gold in Barcelona. If Mothercorp doesn’t lend MacDonald, it is possible Curtis Myden and Jo-Anne Malar may serve as analysts as they worked for TSN’s coverage of The Canada Games in past. .

    Diving- Faulds and Hartley Make Tons of Sense.

    Gymnastics – Well if it isn’t Vic Rauter doing PBP, Perry Solkowski may fill that role as he did PBP for TSN when they had coverage of the Canadian Gymnastics Championships a afew years back and if Lori Strong Ballard isn’t one of the Analyst, Carol-Anne Orchard maybe the other possibility.

    Rowing /Canoe Kayaking – Cuthbert is an obvious choice.

    Boxing – If Jeff Marek or Joe Bowen doing not doing PBP, I wouldn’t rule out Darren Dutchcyen in that role.

    Wrestling – Jeff Marek is an obious choice, but Chris Wilson could be the analyst if it isn’t Daniel Igali as he was CBC’s Wrestling Analyst for 2000, 2004 and 2008.

    Football – Commentators and Analysts No Brainers. Wileman and Reed PBP (Men) Devos and Forrest (Analyst Men), Lang (Women) assuming if Canada does qualify otherwise they may use BBC Feed or FIFA host feed,,,ARGH!

    Basketball – No Brainers but Matt Devlin did do Wrestling for NBC Olympic coverage in 2004 and 2008. If Devlin isn’t available, I would love to see Chuck Swursky come back as PBP.

    Cycling – No Brainers with Smith as Commentator, Curt Harnett for Track/Road, Allison Sydor (Mountain Bike). Samatha Cools maybe analsyt for BMX since she recently retired.

    Volleyball – Charles Parkinson as Analyst is obvious choice. Romianuk is an interesting choice since he is now based in London as a freelancer. If it ain’t Romaniuk, Possibly Jamie Campbell as PBP.

    Triathalon – Either Gerry Dobson or Vic Rauter gets the PBP Role. If Steven King isn’t analyst, Barry Shepley would be that analyst. He does the ITU host commentary feed and did analyst for Mothercorp in 04 and 08.

    • I more or less agree with most of this. I am fairly confident that Rauter will in fact do gymnastics, although it seemed like an odd choice to me.

      No FIFA world feed for the Olympics, but its a good bet BBC will do commentary on most of the games (probably using Match of the Day commentators) as some sort of a de facto world feed. I remember TSN using commentary from places like Australia and New Zealand for random games. I always liked watching TSN’s coverage of Olympic football because of the commentators who we get to hear that aren’t usually on Canadian TV. I watched it almost every night during Beijing.

  2. Hope they do have Rod Black at tennis. He wont have an infamous voice crack doing a non-fast paced sport like tennis.
    The only one I really disagree with is PbP for weightlifting. My best guess would be either Darren Dutchcyen or Sam Cosentino.
    And for a sport you left out, fencing, I’d say Cory Woron would have a good shot at PbP and I have no idea who would be analyst.
    And I think Arash Madani and maybe Barry Davis (both from Sportsnet) would do some sort of sideline reporting

    • The sideline reporters who I left out include Louis Jean, Lisa Bowes, Gene Principe and Katherine Dolan. I think those 4 will probably be the rest of CTV’s reporters. Quite possible that McEwan stays back to do Whitecaps games and Jean is on the sidelines for Canadian women’s football now I think about it.

  3. I agree with Rod Smith doing road cycling, but I could not see him doing the BMX and mountain biking events. I could see them using a younger play by play commentator for those two events.

  4. I could see someone like Dan Murphy or Dan O’Toole or Claude Feig doing BMX or Mountain biking events.

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  6. I’d like to see Rod Smith call the track & field events or swimming simply because I loved his speed skating play-by-play in Vancouver.

  7. Memories of Barcelona 92: Mark Tweksbury gold medal swim as called by Rob Faulds and Byron MacDonald when CTV last covered the Summer Olympics in 1992.

  8. Judging by that clip, Faulds and MacDonald make a competent if not spectacular pairing. MacDonald is one of the few familiar voices we could hear, and Faulds has come a long way in the 19 years since that clip.

    Count me in as one who doesn’t think Nigel Reed will do weightlifting again. Maybe Broadhead on both that and wrestling? Seems like they will want to use him a little more given his big role and decent job in Vancouver. And maybe Dobson and Horton will do a little more roaming and cover some of the random events you haven’t covered. Another possibility – there are 3 other Sportsnet regional hockey PBP guys you haven’t included: Dean Brown, John Shorthouse, and Rob Kerr (new guy so not likely). If they’re going to have every event at least online like they claimed on twitter today, somebody’s gotta do handball.

    • Since Brown has connections to CBC, I doubt they’d even consider using him. Shorthouse is a possibility though. They won’t need commentators to show events online. CBC (in 2008) and CTV (in 2010) showed every event online and just used the IOC video feed with no commentators. That’s what I expect CTV to do this time too.

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