Don Wittman

I think the CBC coverage of the Beijing Olympics has been the best I’ve ever seen. There are the usual weak spots, but overall the play-by-play and the analysis has been very strong. Scott Russell and Diana Swain have good chemistry. There is no one who can beat Steve Armitage in calling a tight race, be it speed skating (“Stride for stride to the line!”) or swimming (“Stroke for stroke to the wall!”). Anne Montminy has done a much better job at explaining diving than previous analysts they’ve had, and Donovan Bailey and David Moorcroft have been fun and insightful at the track.

But I miss Don Wittman. I didn’t realise how much my memory of Simon Whitfield’s gold medal at Sydney was coloured by Wittman’s call of the last few hundred meters until I watched him win silver the other day, and wished Whitman had been calling it. Ditto for Wittman’s call of Bailey’s 100 gold medal in the 100 and the relay in 1996. Whitman was a real talent, and he’s missed.

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