The dean of Canadian sports broadcasting, Brian Williams, looks back at his 50-year career after announcing his retirement from CTV Sports and TSN. Among the highlights: 35 years coast-to-coast on radio with Don Cherry on "Grapeline" -- and not one controversy!
Williams, 75, hosted Olympic Games broadcasts for both CBC and CTV. His first game as a reporter, covering weightlifting, was in Montreal in 1976. His last as host, London in 2012. Vancouver 2010 was the pinnacle, says Williams, as Canada owned the podium with 14 Gold medals. It's also where he met up with that other Brian Williams, the NBC news anchor, also just retired in order to add to the confusion.
The Winnipeg native also distinguished himself for his coverage of all sports: Formula1 and horse racing, the CFL, Major League Baseball and hockey, everything but comptitive tiddlywinks. He saw them all from Jackie Stewart to Ron Lancaster to Ben Johnson, and worked with some of the greats, sharing stories about Dick Beddoes, Jim "Shakey" Hunt, Don Chevrier and Bill Stephenson.
We also talk about those "It's 8 am in Helsinki, 2:30 in Newfoundland," sign-ons he used to give every Games, and how he misses getting ribbed about that from the late Roger Abbott of the Royal Canadian Air Farce.