In addition to the Olympics, football, hockey and curling, Wittman has covered athletics, baseball, basketball and the IAAF World Track and Field Championships. ((CBC))

Friends and colleagues of Don Wittman gathered in Winnipeg Tuesday to pay tribute to the great sportscaster.

Wittman, 71, is retiring; he has terminal cancer. 

He was inducted into CBC's Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday in a private ceremony in Winnipeg.

Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports, said Wittman, whose career has spanned 52 years, is one of the pioneers of sports broadcasting.

"He was one of the first people on CBC network sports," he said. "He's done it all and done it over a long term, and that's absolutely incredible."

He has covered the Olympics since the 1960s, the CFL on CBC, Canadian Open golf and CBC's Hockey Night in Canada starting in 1979.

For decades, Wittman has been the voice of curling on the CBC, covering the Olympic Games, the Brier, the Tournament of Hearts, the World Championships and numerous other tournaments.

Wittman might be best remembered as the voice behind the 100-metre race at the 1996 Summer Olympics, when sprinter Donovan Bailey won a gold medal for Canada.

Peter Mansbridge, host of CBC Television's The National, attended Tuesday's event. He shared fond memories of working with Wittman, including an occasion in 1972 when the two worked together in Winnipeg.

Wittman pulled him aside with some big hockey information: "'Nobody believes me, but you gotta believe me — Bobby Hull is going to sign with the [Winnipeg] Jets. [Jets founder Ben] Hatskin's got him locked up, you watch.'  And he was right."

Wittman was born in Herbert, Sask., and attended the University of Saskatchewan. He began his broadcasting career as a radio news reporter in 1955 at CFQC in Saskatoon.

A resident of Winnipeg since 1961, Wittman is a two-time winner of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists award and has been inducted into the Canadian Football League's Hall of Fame, as well as Manitoba's provincial Hall of Fame.

Wittman and his wife, Judy, have two daughters, Karen and Kristen, and a son, David.