Richard Garneau | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Richard Garneau

​Richard Garneau, CM, CQ, Québec sports journalist and writer (born 15 July 1930 in Québec City, QC; died 20 January 2013 in Montréal, QC).

Richard Garneau, CM, CQ, Québec sports journalist and writer (born 15 July 1930 in Québec City, QC; died 20 January 2013 in Montréal, QC). With a very long career spanning six decades, Garneau made a name for himself in the international sports world, especially with the Olympic movement. In 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded him a posthumous Pierre de Coubertin Medal.

Education and Early Career

Richard Garneau, son of Jean-Charles Garneau and Marthe Devarennes, was born in Québec City on 15 July 1930. He studied at the Séminaire de Québec, and went on to earn a bachelor of arts from l’Université Laval. Aiming to become an actor, he also attended the Conservatoire d'Art dramatique Francis-Synval. After he was cast in a small role in the Alfred Hitchcock film I Confess in July 1952, he switched career paths and found himself behind a microphone at the CHRC station in November 1953. This is where his long career in media began. He worked there for six months as an announcer, commentator and writer. He did a bit of everything, including news reports, sports and concert presentations. In 1954, he entered the world of Québec television at the CFCM network, which would later become TVA-Québec.

Sports Journalism

He remained part of the TV and radio landscape (see Radio and Television Broadcasting) in Québec City until 1957, when he moved to Montréal to work for the CBC. There he made his mark, playing the roles (sometimes at the same time) of announcer, host, journalist-reporter, presenter, describer and narrator. He always had a particular interest in sports and in 1960 he covered the Olympic Summer Games for the first time in Rome, the first games broadcast on CBC Television. He went on to cover the next 22 games (up to London in 2012), giving Garneau the world record for the most Olympic Games covered by a journalist.

He also covered the Commonwealth Games from 1962 to 1986, the Pan-American Games, the Canada Games and the Jeux du Québec. He hosted the Radio-Canada show La soirée du Hockey for 23 years, both on TV and radio (see Ice Hockey; National Hockey League). Over his career, he spent brief periods on the air for private broadcasters such as TVA and RDS. From January 1998 to 12 December 2012, he participated in episodes of the Joël Le Bigot show Samedi et rien d’autre and Pourquoi pas dimanche on the Première Chaîne de Radio-Canada.

Other Activities and Acknowledgements

In addition to his TV and radio work, Richard Garneau dabbled in writing. He is the author of À toi Richard (1992), Vie, rage... dangereux (1993), Les patins d'André (1994), Train de nuit pour la gloire (1995), and À toi... Richard... prise deux. Un Québécois en Bavière (1996).

Garneau’s list of accolades is long. Among others, he earned five Prix Gémeaux for his work on La Soirée du Hockey (1987; 1989), for the Montréal Marathon (1988), for the Barcelona Games (1993) and the Grand prix de l’Académie (1996). In 1994, he was awarded the Prix du Mérite du français (cultural section) given to the person who demonstrates remarkable qualities in the area of language in their field. He was also enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and was named a Knight of the National Order of Québec (2000) and a Member of the Order of Canada (2006).

During the last years of his life, his name was associated with the largest international competitions in figure skating and cycling, including the Tour de France and the Grands prix de Québec et de Montréal. A major sports scholar, he was also known for his mastery of the French language. He passed away on 20 January 2013 at the Royal Victoria Hospital at age 82.

In tribute to his very long career, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded him a posthumous Pierre de Coubertin Medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (2014). This prestigious award is given to athletes who have demonstrated excellent sporting spirit during the Olympic Games or a person who has rendered exceptional service to the Olympic Movement. Richard Garneau is only the 15th person to have received such a distinction since 1936.

Awards and Distinctions

Trophée Radiomonde awarded to the most popular artist in Quebec (1955)

Trophée Radiomonde awarded to the most popular announcer in Quebec (1959)

Trophy for best commentator at the Montréal Olympics, Club de la Médaille d’or (1976)

Prix du Mérite du français, cultural section, awarded by the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois, the Société des auteurs, recherchistes, documentalistes, compositeurs and by the Union des artistes du Québec (1994)

Trophée de l’Académie for career long achievement, Prix Gémeaux (1996)

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1999)

Knight of the National Order of Québec (2000)

Sports Media Canada Achievement Award, Canadian chapter of the International Sport Press Association (2000)

Académie des Grands Québécois, Chambre de commerce de Québec (2003)

Media Sports Award, International Olympic Committee (2004)

Honorary doctorate in physical education, Université de Sherbrooke (2005)

Member of the Order of Canada (2006)

Pierre-de-Coubertin Medal, International Olympic Committee (2014)

Further Reading

External Links