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Brian Williams talks shop in Whistler

Well-known broadcaster shares past stories and excitement of Olympics

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It happens once in a lifetime. Whether you are for the Games or not, enjoy them.

That was one of the messages Brian Williams from CTV told the Whistler community during his sold out talk at MY Millennium Place last week.

"This is history and it doesn't always come to our country," said the legendary broadcaster who has covered 12 Olympic Games over his career and has developed a reputation as Canada's best-known Olympic sportscaster.

"I love it. I get so excited just thinking about it."

Williams reminded the 200 attendees packed into the Wilhelmsen Hall theatre he is a journalist and therefore doesn't want to tell people to support the Games or not. But this is an opportunity for people to witness first-hand what is involved when one of the world's biggest multi-day sporting events comes to town.

Olympic fever was thick in the air during Williams' two-hour talk on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Many of the people in the audience work for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, and the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), but there were other interested community members as well.

During the question and answer period, a woman who recently retired to Whistler from Quebec asked Williams how the media is going to approach the Games, and she implored the CTV officials to cover Canada's athletes in a positive way.

"I am hoping the media represents the mood today," she said, and her statement was met with applause from the crowd.

Williams responded by saying he will cover the Games both in Vancouver and Whistler in an unbiased manner, whether that means positive or negative news coverage.

"I will try to be fair, but Canadians are not stupid and nothing is more offensive than a broadcaster telling people something is great when it isn't," he said.

"I know these are amateur athletes, but it is a double-edged sword... You have to be accountable if you want to compete on the world stage."

Some of the downhill skiers make six-figure incomes and if they come in 40 th during the Olympic Games "that ain't good enough," said Williams.

"I agree with what you are saying, but I hope you respect my position," he said.

Williams will be the host of Olympic Prime Time for CTV during the 2010 Winter Games in February.

Three other executives from the Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium also joined Williams on stage last Wednesday: president Keith Pelley, executive vice president of broadcasting Rick Chisholm, and the French "chef de mission" Gerry Frappier.

CTV and the Resort Municipality of Whistler donated all the money from ticket sales to the Own the Podium organization. The two organizations also matched the total amount with their own funds. In total $3,246 was given to Own the Podium.

 

 

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