The ongoing COVID lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney is continuing to cause disruption in the Australian media industry, with Seven’s Olympic commentary team the latest to be affected.
One of the networks lead swimming commentator’s Giaan Rooney, has been forced to withdraw from the coverage due to the current travel restrictions.
Rooney confirmed the decision on social media over the weekend, telling followers:
“With the commentating hub located in Melbourne & with me now living in rural NSW, I am not allowed entry into Victoria.”
The bulk of Seven’s Olympic coverage will be produced from Melbourne’s Dockland Studios. The expected lockdown extension in Victoria is now causing significant issues for several participants involved in the massive production.
Rooney won a gold medal at Athens in 2004 and two silver medals in Sydney. The popular swimming commentator was recently a key member of Amazon’s coverage of the Australian Swimming Trials.
Rooney will now be replaced in the Seven commentary team by Australian breaststroke champion Leisel Jones. She will be joined by five-time gold medallist Ian Thorpe, and broadcaster Basil Zempalis who will be commentating the Olympic Swimming for the sixth time on Seven.
Current travel restrictions will allow WA based Zempalis to enter Victoria without issue, but it’s likely the busy broadcaster and Perth mayor will need to enter a two-week quarantine program when he returns home.
Australian football commentator Michael Zappone is another late withdraw from the Seven commentary team. The network will utilise its studios in Sydney for its secondary channel coverage on 7Mate.