Sunday Territorian 31 Jul 2016
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SUNDAY JULY 31 2016 TV 25 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA TV this week Sunday, July 31, 2016 Twelve years have passed since Giaan Rooney was awarded gold at the Athens Olympics. But the former swimmer says the sound of the national anthem teleports her right back to that moment. Every time I hear it, I get emotional, she said. I sing and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It is a song Rooney hopes to hear a lot as she heads to Rio de Janeiro to cover the 2016 Games, reporting on her beloved sport for the Seven Network alongside senior presenters Basil Zempilas and Nathan Templeton. The Australian swim team were vilified four years ago for bringing home just one gold medal from London. But Rooney is convinced the squad is ready to swim laps around the under-par performance. We go into the swimming events ranked No.1 in the world in eight events, which is just extraordinary and so exciting, the 33-year-old said. Her medal hopes from this years team are countless, with Cate Campbell, Emily Seebohm, Mitch Larkin and Cameron McEvoy among her top picks. It has been so long since an Australian has brought home the mens 100m freestyle gold medal, but Cameron McEvoy has all of the components and all of the ingredients to be a gold medallist, she said. Rooney wants viewers to keep an eye on Emma McKeon, the shy silent assassin of the team, who could take out a win in the 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly. There are so many chances for our team this time around, she said. Weve got an overall Olympic team that is in a much better position performance-wise. A total of 410 athletes will compete for Australia in Rio this year the same number as in London four years ago. While I dont want to jinx them, I do think its possible to move our overall ranking up a fair way at these Games, Rooney said. She said finishing in the top five countries was the goal, but the athletes should be applauded if they shift the country from eighth to seventh place. It is hoped Australia will Rooney rapt to report from Rio claim its 500th Olympic medal while at Rio, along with its 150th gold. Rooney will spend the first eight days of the Olympics as a commentator on the indoor swimming before covering the 10km open-water marathon swims. She said most of the swimming events would be broadcast between 10am and noon AEST because of time differences. Bribe your bosses to watch the races, she laughed. These are historical mo ments and if you can get a chance to watch any of it, you should. Whatever it is, youre witnessing the best of the best. These are the best athletes on the planet. She is also hoping to slip away to watch 50km walker Jared Tallent take a shot at gold on August 19. Tallent was awarded the London gold medal in June, 1046 days after the actual race, with the Russian winner stripped of the title amid drug allegations. I would love to see Tallent stand on the gold medal dais without it having to be in retrospect, Rooney said. Actually in the Olympic stadium, with the national anthem playing. I just think he, more than anyone, deserves that. As for whether she wanted to slip the goggles and cap back on herself, the freestyle champion insisted she was very happily retired. I have no desire whatsoever to stand up on those blocks and race, Rooney said, citing her 4x100m medley relay win with Petria Thomas, Leisel Jones and Jodie Henry in 2004 as the crowning moment of her swimming career. Not only did we win gold and break the world record, it was the last event of the last day and it was Petria Thomas last major swim, Rooney said. Ive never had more of an out-of-body experience. We just had complete and utter faith in each others abilities that we were going to do the right job, and we did. It is breathtaking moments like these that Rooney wants the 2016 team to experience. No one knows where theyre going to be in four years time, she said. I just want for them to not let the occasion get the best of them. Rooney encouraged athletes heading to the Games to embrace the butterflies because they could lead the way to gold. The bigger the meet, the better I swam. I needed those nerves to get the best performance out of myself, she said. The one who wins the Olympic Games gold medal is very rarely the athlete who is necessarily the current world-record holder, its the athlete who deals with the pressure and the expectation the best. The Rio Games have been embroiled in problems including accusations the athletes village was unlivable, and concerns over the spread of the mosquitoborne Zika virus. Rooney said she had done her due diligence in educating herself on the health and safety concerns at hand but never questioned such issues as an athlete. I wouldnt have missed the Olympics for anything in the world, she said, admitting her view has changed since becoming a mother. It was what I had set the alarm at 4.47am every morning of my life for. All your competitors are dealing with the same circumstances so, again, its the athlete who deals with those conditions the best that comes out on top. n 2016 Olympics Coverage begins 6am, Saturday, August 6, on the Seven Network J-Lo gets down and dirty as crooked cop Is there anything Jen-nifer Lopez hasnt tried her hand at in the world of showbiz? A skim of her Wikipedia page will tell you the 47-year-old mother of twins is hailed as a singer, songwriter, dancer, composer, actor, fashion designer and producer. Her booty-shaking tunes are bangin and her judging on American Idol was spot on, but her acting skills have been, well, lets just say seriously questionable over the years (not even her most ardent fans will ever forget the painfully awful Gigli, the movie she and ex-fiance Ben Affleck won Razzies for, in the annual American accolade that recognises the worst in the film industry). But she hasnt given up on acting just yet Jenny from the Block is ditching the trademark sparkly bodycon dresses and microphone for a blue suit and badge, to star as a New York City detective in Shades of Blue, a new small-screen crime drama series airing on Foxtels Universal Channel. She plays Harlee Santos, a struggling single mum who works inside a tight-knit group of corrupt cops led by Lieutenant Matt Wozniak (Emmy Award-winner Ray Liotta), accepting bribes and protection money to help give her daughter Cristina (Sarah Jeffery) a better future. However, that comes to an abrupt end when she is caught doing a dodgy deal by the FBI, who then force her to turn informant on her crew, leaving her battling with loyalty, honour and betrayal as she decides whether to protect her brothers in blue and face prison time or redeem herself and secure her daughters future. As Lopezs no-nonsense yet likeable character Santos says: It happened so slowly I didnt realise and so quickly I never saw it coming. Complicating matters even further are FBI handler Special Agent Robert Stahls (Warren Kole) unhealthy obsession with her, and Wozniaks hunch that there is a rat in his team. Sounds juicy, right? This thrilling police procedural, executive produced by Lopez and Idol pal Ryan Seacrest, breathes new life into the oft-overdone genre, and thankfully Lopezs acting skills are on point, whether she is wielding a hand gun and chasing down crims or agonising over missing her daughters music recital. Unsurprisingly, she also manages to make a police uniform look glam. Helping the dark drama to clip along nicely is the stellar supporting cast, including Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Vincent Laresca (Graceland) and Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games). Perhaps its time to let Lopez legitimately call herself an actor. She certainly deserves the accolade with this gritty effort that is likely to have you hooked by the second episode Shades of Blue might not be quite as graphic or as compelling as The Shield, but its a step above NCIS. The shows first season has already aired in the US and has been renewed for a 13-episode second series, so let that be all the evidence you need that this isnt going to end up on the cuttingroom floor. n Shades of Blue Tuesday, 8.30pm, on Universal Channel (Foxtel) Rooney: Bribe your bosses to watch the races. These are historical moments and if you can get a chance to watch any of it, you should. Having swapped freestyle for free- to-air broadcasting a decade ago, Olympic gold medallist Giaan Rooney speaks with SaRaH McPHee about covering the Games poolside. american Idol host and pop star Jennifer Lopez is getting serious as a no-nonsense cop with questionable motives in Shades of Blue, writes CLaIRe HendeRSOn. Busted: Jennifer Lopez plays cop Harlee Santos in Shades of Blue.