Devin Heroux took off for Tokyo in mid-July and didn’t return to Toronto until September. The out veteran CBC reporter spent 51 straight days covering the Olympics and Paralympics in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, and took his social media followers with him through every 7-Eleven meal and COVID-19 protocol.
He says it was the most rewarding, yet challenging experience of his professional life.
“The Olympics are pressure-packed, stressful, isolating, anxiety-inducing, sleep-deprived at the best of times,” Heroux said. “This was on a completely different level.”
On this week’s edition of “The Sports Kiki” podcast, I spoke with Heroux about his experiences covering the world’s two signature sporting events while simultaneously living under a state of emergency. Heroux spent 51 days in semi-quarantine, rarely venturing outside of his hotel and Olympic facilities.
When he did, it felt a little eerie. Though people were welcoming, Heroux knew the Games were unpopular.
“There was always this feeling — not in a menacing or mean sort of way — but there was always this feeling like, ‘people particularly don’t want us here.,’” he said.
To make it through, Heroux says he covered as many events as possible, not leaving himself with much downtime. There was a lot of success for Team Canada and Team LGBTQ. As an out gay man, Heroux was particularly proud.
Now, he’s onto his next assignment: Beijing 2022.
“As much concern and fear that there is, and it was warranted, I think these Games had to happen, they did happen, and I think the feedback I received was ‘thank goodness’ they happened,” he said.