Brian Williams (sportscaster)

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Brian Williams
Brian Williams honorary degree 2011.jpg
Williams accepting an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University in 2011
Born (1946-07-18) July 18, 1946 (age 74) [1]
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada [2]
Known forCoverage of the Olympic Games

Brian Williams, OC (born July 18, 1946) is a Canadian sportscaster who is best known for his coverage of the Olympic Games.


Early life

Williams' father was a physician. His father's work caused the Williams family to relocate to such places as Invermere, British Columbia; New Haven, Connecticut; Edmonton, Alberta; Hamilton, Ontario (where he graduated from Westdale Secondary School); [3] Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and Grand Rapids, Michigan (where he graduated from Aquinas College with a B.A. in history & political science in 1969). [2] After graduating, he spent a year as a teacher at a Grand Rapids school.

Broadcasting career

Williams began his involvement in broadcasting when he applied for a part-time job at his college's classical station WXTO which was located in the tower of the Aquinas College's Administration Building. Williams also was the first to travel with the Aquinas College "Tommies" Basketball team announcing the "Tommies" basketball games via a one-man telephone connection. Williams' college goal was to go back to Canada and become a sports journalist.

Williams was long associated with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's sports coverage since joining the network in 1974, after radio employment at Toronto's CFRB and CHUM.


Williams served as the studio host for the CBC's coverage of the CFL, Formula 1 and horse racing [4] and was the play-by-play announcer for the network's coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the principal studio anchor for CBC's Olympic Games coverage for the 1984 Winter, 1984 Summer, 1988 Winter, 1988 Summer, 1992 Winter, 1996 Summer, 1998 Winter, 2000 Summer, 2002 Winter, 2004 Summer and 2006 Winter Olympics. Williams also covered the 2002 FIFA World Cup for CBC.

Williams also worked with Peter Mansbridge during 2000 Today , CBC's coverage of the millennium.


On June 5, 2006, Williams announced plans to move in December 2006 to rival CTV, and its sports network TSN. However, on June 8, 2006, the CBC fired Williams, thereby causing him to join CTV/TSN effective immediately as on-site host of TSN's Canadian Football League coverage. (This position should not be confused with the "studio host" position that remains held by Rod Smith.) [5]

Williams was chosen to head the CTV broadcasting team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. [6]

Williams with Brandt C. Louie in 2011 Brian Williams 2011.jpg
Williams with Brandt C. Louie in 2011

On February 22, 2010, while providing coverage of the Winter Olympics, Williams did a skit with Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News, at CTV's Olympic set. [7] [8] Some in the media dubbed this the new "Battle of the Brians," as NBC's Williams compared his own modest set to CTV's expensive Olympic studio. [9]

Williams anchored CTV's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He criticized the International Olympic Committee for not properly honouring the Israeli delegates who were slain during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

He continues to appear, as of 2019, as a contributor to CFL on TSN , as host of TSN's coverage of the Canadian Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and as host of figure skating coverage on both networks [10] and also contributes content to TSN Radio. [11]

He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2010.


Until 2019, Williams co-hosted Don Cherry's Grapeline on Sportsnet Radio, along with Don Cherry, for thirty-five years, first on CFRB radio in Toronto, and then as a syndicated show on Sportsnet. [12]


His unique voice and quirks such as frequently announcing the time, sometimes in several different time zones at once, has made him one of Canada's most distinctive broadcasters. He is a frequent subject of parody on Canadian comedy shows such as Royal Canadian Air Farce .


In 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to sports broadcasting, notably that of amateur sports, and for his community involvement". [13]

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  1. Metz, Kayla (July 18, 2012). "Happy Birthday to our very own Brian Williams from all of us at @CTVOlympics". Twitter.
  2. 1 2 Wedge, Pip. "Brian Williams". History of Canadian Broadcasting.
  3. "Archived Document". Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  4. Perkins, Dave (June 20, 2008). "Queen's Plate brews up intrigue". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  5. "". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. "Brian Williams to lead all-star Olympic broadcast team". CTV News . Retrieved 2009-01-08.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Williams skit lights up dull morning show". The Toronto Sun. February 22, 2010.
  8. Vlessing, Etan (February 22, 2010). "Olympics has new Battle of the Brians". Hollywood Reporter.
  9. "Brian Williams, O.C."
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-06-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Warmington, Joe (August 23, 2019). "Don Cherry, Brian Williams signing off Grapeline radio show". Toronto Sun.
  12. "Appointments to the Order of Canada".