It has been an emotional day for legendary athletics writer Bert Rosenthal, who will be retiring this year after 40 years as a reporter.
For most of the past two decades he has followed athletics closely and has proven to be one of the most knowledgeable US journalists in the sport. Rosenthal has covered virtually every major championships held.
At an 'informal' luncheon in his honour – held at the Sicilian Pasta Kitchen in downtown Edmonton today – more than 20 US reporters paid tribute to Rosenthal and presented him with an autographed poster of Haile Gebrselassie as well as a framed photograph of himself, signed by all the writers.
Dick Patrick of USA Today and a past President of the Track and Field Writers of America said: “Bert set a great standard of knowledge about track professionalism and you could probably use the line that AJ Lieberling used about himself to describe Bert. He writes better than anybody who writes faster and he writes faster than anybody who writes better.”
Later in the afternoon he was lured to the press conference room at Commonwealth Stadium on the pretext of covering a 'major story' breaking.
As members of USA Track and Field, including Craig Masback, looked on, Rosenthal was asked to accept a gift on behalf of the Edmonton 2001 organising committee. The President of the Local Organising Committee, Rick LeLacheuer, made the presentation.
“I have asked the American press here today because there have been a lot of rules broken,” LeLacheur said with tongue in cheek, attempting to conceal the reason for the gathering. “No, seriously…..We are here today to pay tribute to an American journalist who is retiring after 40 years of dedicated work. While I don’t know him personally, I have read him many times. On behalf of Edmonton 2001, I'd like Bert Rosenthal to come forward to accept a gift.”
Rosenthal was clearly moved by the gesture.
Edmonton 2001 news team