Ready for her Olympic mo­ment

The face of CBC’s Olympic cov­er­age, Andi Petrillo chats with Post City about the up­com­ing Win­ter Olympics, pol­i­tics, which lo­cal ath­letes to look out for and why hockey still mat­ters

Richmond Hill Post - - Contents - By Ron John­son

Who are the T.O. ath­letes to watch? Gabrielle Dale­men, I would say, is like the true Toron­to­nian. And she’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing. First of all, she’s a real fire­cracker. Even when she was at the Sochi Games when she was 16, she was like, “I don’t care if I’m the youngest ath­lete on Team Canada, I want to win all the time.” She al­ways has this men­tal­ity of “I’m go­ing to go get it and I’m go­ing to win.” Do you think peo­ple will still watch men’s hockey without the NHLers? It’ll be in­ter­est­ing. I think this, to me, gets a lot of at­ten­tion be­cause it’s still a great story. Once peo­ple got over no NHL play­ers go­ing, af­ter the first stage of anger, it has slowly turned into more of, “Well who are th­ese guys. Th­ese are the un­der­dogs, and isn’t this an in­cred­i­ble story.” Th­ese are guys that couldn’t stick with their NHL teams, but now they’re rep­re­sent­ing our coun­try and could be walk­ing home with a medal. So now it’s turned to fas­ci­na­tion, and at heart we love an un­der­dog. Wait, we’re the un­der­dogs? Oh yeah. When you look at the ath­letes, I mean Rus­sia, my good­ness, they have some pow­er­houses. They are con­sid­ered a favourite. Fin­land is up there and Swe­den. Canada is by no means favoured to win a medal let alone a gold medal. So it’ll be a good bat­tle. What are your thoughts on the Rus­sia ban? The door was left open by IOC

[In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee] pres­i­dent Thomas Bach. Even though the coun­try it­self has been banned, there is this lit­tle loop­hole of, “Well we could pos­si­bly still see Rus­sian ath­letes.” And, of course, Vladimir Putin com­ing out and say­ing, “I am not go­ing to hold any­one back.” Did the IOC go far enough? This is a tricky one, right? I feel they went as far as they could. And they had to do this, sim­ply be­cause of so many other fed­er­a­tions, and the IAAF [In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions], they took the first step. They were the first to re­ally ban Rus­sia from com­pe­ti­tion. They banned them from the world cham­pi­onships. They banned them from Rio. But then there are the ath­letes that had noth­ing to do with it. There are a lot of Rus­sian ath­letes who are clean. I cover fig­ure skat­ing for CBC, and for ex­am­ple, you have Ev­ge­nia Medvedeva who is this in­cred­i­ble fig­ure skater. She’s been vir­tu­ally un­de­feated since she was on the se­nior cir­cuit. I mean, she was 13 years old dur­ing the Sochi Games, so how can you hold some­thing against her? She wasn’t part of that team. She wasn’t around for any of that. And then you also have the North Korean sto­ry­line. There al­ways seems to be plenty of pol­i­tics. It speaks to how in­cred­i­ble sports can be in bring­ing peo­ple to­gether in want­ing to show unity. Even though it might only last for the few weeks the Olympics is on, with North Korea it does open the door for other pos­i­tive pos­si­ble re­la­tion­ships, and I think that’s pretty spe­cial. What do you find most chal­leng­ing about cov­er­ing the Games? Mak­ing sure you don’t miss any­thing. You al­ways want to give ev­ery­thing its due at­ten­tion, and that can be a lit­tle chal­leng­ing. What’s your favourite mem­ory from Sochi? I man­aged to make it out to one of the medal cer­e­monies in the main square where they had the Olympic flame. And it was for Charles Hamelin (speed skater) who had won gold in the 1,500 me­tre. As they were rais­ing the Cana­dian flag and the na­tional an­them was go­ing, I was tak­ing video. And I didn’t re­al­ize a crowd had formed around me be­cause our CBC jack­ets are all red and have a maple leaf on the side. So the an­them ends, and sud­denly this ap­plause erupts right around me, and I’m like, “What?” I look around, and they are all clap­ping and con­grat­u­lat­ing me just be­cause they know I’m Cana­dian. What’s the best T.O. bar for Olympics and beer? You know what, I dis­cov­ered a new place: the Rec Room down­town. It’s new, and it’s this mas­sive play­ground for adults. I watched the Leafs sea­son opener there, and it was awe­some. What was the city’s big­gest sports story in 2017? I think the big­gest would be Toronto FC win­ning the cham­pi­onship and the fact that it was not too long af­ter the Arg­onauts win. This city was just on fire when TFC won. Sports broad­cast­ing has al­ways been a boys club. What’s it like for you? What’s great now is we are see­ing a lot more women in the in­dus­try, and even the way women ap­proach the in­dus­try and treat each other within it is changing, and to me that’s re­ally huge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.