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.