Richard Garneau, between passion and excellence | Radio

The first spark for sports journalism, Richard Garneau saw it during the Rome Olympics in the summer of 1960, for which Radio-Canada deployed great resources.

He and his colleague Louis Chassé became the first commentators of the Olympic Games for Canadian television. From Montreal, they receive the images of the proofs by air one day late and have to describe them as if they were there!

Technology will be significantly improved to Tokyo Olympics in 1964. We then began to use slow motion on television in addition to being able to rely on satellite broadcasting.

Nevertheless, it was in Rome that Richard Garneau began his Olympic adventure and realized that he wanted to make a career out of it. It was also at the end of this event that he officially joined the Sports Department of Radio-Canada.

From 1960 to 2012, Richard Garneau covered no less than 23 Olympic Games, mainly for Radio-Canada, but also for TVA and RDS. That’s more than any other journalist worldwide.

Most often assigned to athletics events, he saw there the most exhilarating moments of his career. Beyond performances, the sports journalist fell in love with the values ​​conveyed by Olympism, which he in turn passed on to Canadian viewers.

The expertise he gains by commentating on all these Olympics, Richard Garneau also puts it to good use in all the sports competitions he has to describe for Radio-Canada television. Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games, Francophone Games, he is involved in all events.

His deep commitment to Olympism is also reflected in various commitments. In 1972, he was named president of the Quebec Athletics Federation. He also joined Mission Quebec 76, an organization created by the government to help prepare Quebec’s sports elite for the 1976 Olympics.

From the Olympics to Montreal, Richard Garneau dreams of it, as does Mayor Jean Drapeau. The journalist accompanies him in all the stages of obtaining the Games. He was at his side in 1966 in Rome when the candidacy for a metropolis in Quebec was initially refused by the IOC, then in Munich in 1970 when the 21st Olympic Games were awarded to him.

Games of the XXI Olympiad Montreal 1976, 1 August 1976

At the 1976 Olympic Games, Richard Garneau commented on the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events.

This excerpt from a report on Radio-Canada’s role as host broadcaster clearly illustrates the enthusiasm that drove him during this milestone event. Me, I reached the peak of my career, I hope that what will come after will not be too painful!he said to his colleague René Lecavalier.

For Richard Garneau, Radio-Canada achieved the best performance in its history with its coverage of the Montreal Olympics. With its 26 directors and 28 commentators and analysts supported by a multitude of seasoned technicians, the Sports Department does a remarkable job.

Images of a Generation (re-editing), 1992

In this montage of an interview delivered for the documentary Images of a generation in 1992, Richard Garneau also bears witness to more bitter Olympic memories.

The journalist looks back on the Games that got him hooked: Rome in 1960, Tokyo in 1964, then Grenoble in 1968. He has fond memories of these Winter Games for which he was invited to comment on a hockey match between Canada and Czechoslovakia. In a review that it describes as extraordinary, the renowned French newspaper The Team highlighted the quality of their work.

The Mexico City Olympics in 1968, relates Richard Garneau, will be the first where political problems are felt. He then realizes that the Olympics can be a platform for political demands.

You know that there are more countries that are part of the Olympic movement than there are registered with the UN, so it is extremely important. »

A quote from Richard Garneau

Richard Garneau arrives in Mexico City days after a student movement was violently suppressed. He describes a morbid and frightening atmosphere which throws a cold shower on the opening ceremony. He also remembers the image of African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, barefoot on the podium and fists in black gloves lowering their heads at the time of the American national anthem.

At the Munich Olympics in 1972, we wanted to forget the “Games of Nazism of 1936”, believes Richard Garneau. The journalist observes that the security forces are very discreet and seem to relax as the Games progress.

He saw on the spot the terrorist attack of the Black September group which took hostage, then killed 11 athletes of the Israeli delegation in the Olympic village. If we had been given the choice, we would all have come back homesays Richard Garneau. Except that we had to continue to do the Games and it was in absolutely difficult conditions.

Richard Garneau, between passion and excellence | Radio-Canada.ca