Craig Stanaway – TVNZ Sports Reporter
Which part of the Olympics are you most excited about seeing/reporting on?
It’s been a privilege to cover the New Zealand Rowing Team over the last four years. This is my second Olympic games doing the round. I have the highest respect for them because success is only achieved through sheer hard work. It’s a hell of a way to live your life. Their work ethic is inspirational to other New Zealand sports people and to your average Joe trying to get ahead. If you work hard enough you’ll get the results.
What’s the most challenging aspect of working on the Olympics coverage?
Pacing one’s self. I think it’s funny a lot of viewers see a track that I’ve done and think just because it was a 1 min, 30 secs that it took 1 min, 30 secs to do. Today I have travelled on trains for four hours and been in a taxi that got us lost. I sat waiting for an editor for nearly an hour and there was talk I would have to do a second news track for the 6pm bulletin. I received that shock news at 7pm (London time). Generally you work long hour days on these big international assignments and you don’t stop. Today I started at 1020 and finished at 2220 and the Olympics haven’t even started yet! And this is day one for us. We will be working 18 hour days when NZ actually starts competing: Breakfast, Midday, 6pm, Close Up, Tonight and tvnz.co.nz all have their own unique requirements.
Finish this sentence: The New Zealander I can’t wait to see compete is…
Siona Fernandez. It’s the first time New Zealand has had women boxers at the Olympics. I see her training at Les Mills every day when I go to the gym and I admire her dedication to the sport she loves.
How many gold medals do you predict the NZ team will get?
Unfortunately, perhaps not as many as you think. History says we win three gold medals and one of them will be random. I think we’re going to win two golds in rowing, the men’s pair and maybe the men’s lightweight double. The women’s lightweight double are a serious gold medal chance and can’t be counted out. I would love to see Mahe win gold more than anyone else in this world, and I hope he’s not playing catch up after being knocked off his bike six weeks ago. For everyone else, all bets are off. The rowers will win five medals in total. Valerie will get a medal and I hope it will be gold, but can’t be guaranteed. The sailors unfortunately have a history of underachieving, and the equestrian team can be hit and miss. The cyclists are going to win medals but I’m not entirely convinced anyone will win gold. Lisa Carrington in the K1-200 is a serious gold medal contender but her event is a lottery so you can’t say for certain she’ll win. All up ten medals. Three golds. Anything more is a bonus.
What’s your favourite moment in Olympics history?
My favourite memory involves being snuck into an athletes’ bar in Beijing four years ago. I got in because George Bridgewater lent me his bronze medal. The guy on the door congratulated me when I walked in. Inside there are athletes everywhere. Gold medal winners are walking round wearing gold medals. They all think they’re the bees knees and then Michael Phelps walks in. The place virtually stopped. He got mobbed. Olympic champions were taking videos of him, the place went crazy. He had to be sneaked out of the toilet by his security detail because things got too much. How do I know? I just so happened to be at the urinal at the time.