2012 Rod Smith

Rod Smith

Rod Smith was recognized with the Outstanding Broadcasting Award for his exceptional work calling the aquatic events at the 2012 Olympic Games. What’s amazing is that Smith had never described a swimming race before going to London. Then again, he admits that two years earlier he called the exciting speed skating races at the Winter Games in Vancouver having never done long track speedskating before. That stint earned him a nomination for a Gemini Award
“Never,” he says. “Seen it … been at an event … watched … done a bit of rehearsing … but never live play-by-play.”
Impressive, to say the least. “There is that moment where you’ve got to get your feet wet. It’s almost like rehearsing on the fly. It’s the neat thing about this business. Wheb they give you a chance — you never say no. You never say, ‘I don’t think I can do that’. You research it, you go to the event, you watch, you talk to people, you study, you listen to tapes, you watch videos and you figure it out.”
It’s all about confidence, according to Smith. “I would never want to say, ‘I’ve never done this before. I don’t think I could.’ It would be bad karma to ever turn anything down, especially something that prestigious.”
Rod Smith’s broadcasting career began on TSN in the late 1980s following his graduation from Ryerson in Radio and Television Arts. He later spent four years as a reporter and host of CBC Radio’s national sportscasts before returning to TSN as a full time reporter in 1992. He had major assignments covering the World Series, notably the Blue Jays 1993 dramatic victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Yet, he and Buck Martinez along with Dan Shulman and a number of other reporters, never witnessed Joe Carter’s series winning ninth-inning home run. It was the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies were leading 6-5 … “Buck and I had gone down to the dressing room level trying to decide which locker room to go to when we felt the stadium shake.” A quick check of a monitor revealed what had happened as Joe Carter was jumping excitedly around the bases. “It took a couple of seconds to register.
Wait a minute … Carter had just hit a three run home run … the Jays went ahead … this game is over … not only is the game over … the World Series is over.”
In 1995 Smith became weekened anchor of Sportsdesk and began doing play-by-play of the CFL and the CIS, a job he really enjoyed after having spent a few seasons playing for the Queen’s Golden Gaels. Other major assignments included the Stanley Cup, Grey Cup and Super Bowl.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Susan and three children.
Rod was a fixture on TSN’s daily edition of Sportscentre for years, taking over from one of his mentors, Jim Van Horne. It was only fitting that Van Horne be the one to introduce Smith during the 2012 Awards Luncheon.