Gord Gillies: Remembering Frank King

Frank King, chairman and CEO of Calgary's '88 Olympic Games died May 9, 2018. Calgary Booster Club

I must have formally interviewed Frank King about 20 times over the past 35 years. Add in a few dozen “Hello, how are yous?” at one function or another and I’m happy to say we had developed a warm relationship.

The interviews weren’t all rosy reflections of a successful Olympics. In fact, many were prior to 1988 and involved Olympic-sized problems leading up to the Games. Ticket scandals. Outrageous IOC demands. Cost and transportation problems.

Frank was the frontman and he responded to every firestorm in the same way: a calm answer that left you feeling he had given you everything he knew and would look into what he didn’t.

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Many times he got back to me with extra details, which was absolutely flabbergasting. Keep in mind, I was a radio sports reporter for CJAY 92. So far down the pecking order on a long list of international, national and renowned reporters, you couldn’t see me with a spotlight.

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I think he called because he genuinely cared. He wanted the locals to hear it from the man in charge.

Even the FM rock’n’rollers.

My last interview with Frank was in February.

LISTEN: Gord Gillies interviews Frank King at WinSport:

Our show was on the road at Canada Olympic Park (sorry WinSport, old habits die hard!) and we were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Olympics.

Frank happily agreed to come for the earliest possible interview slot at 6:09 a.m.

He showed up at 5:30 a.m.

I started to brief him a bit about what I was hoping to cover and he wanted nothing to do with that.

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He started peppering me with questions about my new job and return to radio.

He laughed about my CJAY 92 days and I was reminded, again, about how nice a man he was.

It wasn’t small talk, he was genuinely interested in me.


WATCH: Bob Niven joins Global News Morning Calgary to honour Frank King:

Click to play video: 'Remembering Frank King'
Remembering Frank King

Frank King will be remembered for many things. A dreamer. A visionary. Someone who helped make Calgary a world-class destination.

I’ll remember the smiles and warm conversations with a kind and wonderful man.

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