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CBC's Steve Armitage steps down from Rio 2016 Summer Games broadcast team

By Contributor
July 28th, 2016

When the 2016 Summer Olympics open next week in Rio, there will be a familiar face missing on CBC Sports coverage.

Veteran CBC Sports broadcaster Steve Armitage will not travel to Brazil as a member of CBC’s broadcast team due to a recent diagnosis of chronic heart failure.

A staple of CBC’s Olympic Games broadcasts for decades and a familiar voice to sports fans across Canada, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were to be Armitage’s 16th as a broadcaster.

“I am not going to Rio for the Games because I have no other choice,” Armitage said.

“If I thought I could ’wing it’ or fake it, I would be there.”

Armitage was scheduled to provide live play-by-play commentary for CBC’s coverage of Swimming and Diving events from Rio, alongside Byron MacDonald and Blythe Hartley.

Veteran broadcaster Elliotte Friedman will assume this role in Armitage’s absence. Friedman was due to act as aquatics reporter, a role that will now be shared by Andrew Chang and David Amber.

“To use a bad pun, I’d be there in a heartbeat, but the doctors suggest strongly that I would be putting myself at risk, so I will, like millions of other Canadians, watch the Games on CBC,” he said.

“I will miss Byron and all my friends and colleagues who make up the best TV sports production unit in the world. CBC has raised the bar in its coverage and I’m sure it will go even higher in Rio.”

Greg Stremlaw, CBC Sports executive director and general manager and chef de mission for CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of Rio 2016, says:

“On behalf of everyone at CBC Sports, we wish Steve all the best,” Stremlaw said.

“His thrilling calls are synonymous with our coverage of the Olympic Games and, more importantly, he is a beloved member of the CBC Sports family.”

The Rio Summer Games begin Friday, August 5 and run until Sunday, August 21.

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