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

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (454)
  • France will play out of their skin, says Carter

    France will play out of their skin, says Carter

    By Ed Osmond CARDIFF (Reuters) - New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter is expecting France to play out of their skin in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff on Saturday. Carter and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw are the only survivors from the … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 48 seconds ago
  • Pakistan overcome early loss to reach 82-1 at lunch

    Pakistan put the early and bizarre loss of opener Shan Masood behind them to reach 82 for one at lunch on the opening day of the first test against England on Tuesday. Mohammad Hafeez, who passed 3,000 test runs for Pakistan in his 44 not out, … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Howe desperate to continue Bournemouth's rapid rise

    Howe desperate to continue Bournemouth's rapid rise

    (Reuters) - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is "desperate" to continue the club's meteoric rise over the last three seasons and credits a collective effort is the reason for their success. The Cherries were sitting at the bottom of the third tier of … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Wales call winger Walker into squad

    Wales call winger Walker into squad

    LONDON (Reuters) - Wales have called winger Eli Walker into their Rugby World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Liam Williams, the Welsh Rugby Union said on Tuesday. Walker, 23, was named in the original 31-man squad but was released due to … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Pacquiao looking to return to ring early next year

    Pacquiao looking to return to ring early next year

    (Reuters) - Manny Pacquiao will be ready to return to the ring by next March, the Filipino boxer said on Monday while in New York to accept an award. Pacquiao is recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff following his defeat to Floyd … More »

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago