Winnipeggers taking part in Rio 2016
Published Friday, July 29, 2016 6:35PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, August 3, 2016 12:51PM CST
The countdown is on to the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, and Richard Mason has packed his last items into a suit case headed to Brazil.
In less than 24 hours, Mason, a news producer with “CTV Morning Live”, lands in Rio to take part in the 2016 summer games.
“I think it's going to be a fantastic experience, this is going to be my first Olympics,” said Mason.
While he's not competing in any events, Mason still has an important role to play at the weightlifting competitions.
“It's a combination of entertainment, letting everyone know what's going on in the hall, and still driving the competition, letting people know how much weight has to be on the bar, letting people know if it's a good lift or not, and doing the technical side as well,” Mason told CTV News.
It's a trip 10 years in the making.
Mason has travelled the world as a weightlifting referee, officiating both the Pan Am Games and the Commonwealth Games.
He got into the sport because his wife, Susanne Dandenault, was a competitive weightlifter.
“At one point, she was essentially the strongest woman in Canada, first woman to lift 300 lbs over her head in a clean and jerk,” said Mason.
Already in Brazil is the Canadian men's volleyball team.
It has two Winnipeggers on its roster, including coaching assistant Larry McKay.
This will be the first time the Canadian men's volleyball team has made it to the Olympics since 1992.
“We've been striving to make the Olympics for years, years. We measure those years not even in single year periods. We measure them in four-year periods, we call them quads,” said Larry McKay.
But with news of pick pocketing in Brazil and the spread of Zika virus, these Summer Games come with words of caution.
“The threat is there, the thought is there, but we probably could get infected with many more serious viruses at home than our chances of getting Zika here,” said McKay.
A sentiment echoed by Mason, who says Team Canada is ready for Rio.
“This is the biggest show on earth. This is going to be a unique opportunity,” said Mason.
Mason heads to Rio on Saturday. He’ll stay there until Aug. 18.
The 2016 summer games run Aug. 5 to 21.