What's Buzzing:

The Eh Game

CTV Olympic host Brian Williams slams the IOC during Olympic opening ceremonies

Don Landry
Eh Game

View photo

.

Sportscaster Brian Williams criticized the IOC on Friday (CP photo)

Veteran TV host Brian Williams has never shied away from the tough stuff when he feels it's necessary. In 1987, after the Canadian Junior Hockey team engaged in a brawl with the Soviets at the World Championship, Williams called it a black eye for Canadian hockey, incurring the wrath of one Donald S. Cherry as well as a good portion of the nation's hockey loyalists.

[Related: Opening Ceremony truly memorable]

Again, Friday, during a telecast of the opening ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Williams spoke his mind, letting the International Olympic Committee have it. During the traditional march of the participating athletes, what had been an upbeat affair took on a serious tone as the team from Israel made its way into the stadium.

It was then that Williams teed off (rightfully, I believe) on the IOC, saying:

"As Israel prepares to enter, my position is well known. It is one that I have taken at previous Olympics. It is wrong that the IOC refuses to have a minute's silence for Israeli athletes that were slaughtered in Munich."

[More: Canadian athletes ready to compete at London Olympics]

Williams, of course, was referring to the murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics.

"It is a much bigger issue this year, as it's the 40th anniversary of Munich. Members of the Canadian government, yesterday, our Governor General, all calling for a moment's silence. Dr Rogge (Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC) says the ceremony is not the place to remember a tragic event, but, uh, it's tragic, however, it's one of the most significant and world changing events in Olympic history. It absolutely should have been done here. The IOC worries about politics. This event is political by its very nature."

His sentiment is shared by many and they must have felt proud of him for saying it during the IOC's big party to begin the Olympic Games. However, as with any issue, there will be detractors who disagree with his opinion, or in his decision to express it during the show.

When Williams was done, his co-host, Lisa LaFlamme, didn't endorse or decry his comments, but added to the narrative by telling viewers of one of the widows of  a victim of the terrible 1972 massacre, who spoke out on Thursday about just this issue of honour and Remembrance.

[Slideshow: A closer look at the Olympic opening production]

Immediately following that, Williams finished the conversation by saying:

"And remember, they died as Olympians."

It was a jarring and powerful moment of broadcasting, wedged in juxtaposition to the light and entertaining fare that preceded and followed it.

Williams just recently received an Order Of Canada. He wears that pin in even more deserving fashion after today's broadcast. Not every broadcaster is afforded the luxury of saying exactly what they feel, often having to answer to a hierarchy of corporate bosses. Williams has earned the right to do so, and to his credit, does not take the responsibility lightly, nor does he shrink from wielding that power.

Let the Games begin, with what needed to be said being said.

More London Olympics content on Eh Game:
Crosby's performance still resonates
Canadian swimmers confident and set for London
Five Canadian athletes with a point to prove

View Comments (454)
  • Almagro rallies to beat Carreno Busta for Estoril Open title

    ESTORIL, Portugal (AP) -- Nicolas Almagro recovered from a set down to beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3 and win the Estoril Open on Sunday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Rosberg joins select group but title is the target

    Rosberg joins select group but title is the target

    By Alan Baldwin SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg joined an ultra-select group of Formula One drivers with his seventh win in a row for Mercedes at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday but the German will remain the odd man out for some time yet. … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Southampton's Mane man leaves Man City reeling

    Southampton's Mane man leaves Man City reeling

    Southampton 4 Manchester City 2 Sadio Mane bagged a hat-trick in a vibrant display of attacking football from Southampton that swept aside Manchester City 4-2 and left the visitors facing a scramble to secure Champions League qualification. The … More »

    Reuters - 14 minutes ago
  • Diego Schwartzman of Argentina rallies to win Istanbul Open

    Unseeded Diego Schwartzman staged a stunning comeback Sunday to upset second-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-0 and claim his maiden ATP Tour title at the Istanbul Open. Schwartzman failed to serve the set out but prevailed in … More »

    AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago
  • Cycling-Voeckler wins Tour of Yorkshire after sprint finish

    Thomas Voeckler, the popular French veteran rider, secured overall victory in the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday with a sprint finish triumph in the 198km final stage from Middlesbrough to Scarborough. Voeckler, the 36-year-old Direct Energie rider, … More »

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago