I used to have a weekly column in the Powell River Peak and I’d write about all kinds of things. Kind of like here.
One day I was sitting in the pub listening to the guy next to me talk about how 1950s/60s wrestling bad guy Gene Kiniski used to bill himself as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” I thought that was great, and figuring it might make a fun column, I somehow tracked down Kiniski’s phone number and gave him a call.
He answered the phone as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Yes he did. It was awesome.
He was also a terrific guy on the phone, full of fun and laughter, and seemed just a nice, humble fellow, one who had adopted the villain and “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” schtick a long time ago when he was bashing heads, throwing chairs out of rings, and pissing fans off as a way of supporting his family.
For every saintly Whipper Billy Watson, there had to be a Gene Kiniski to stomp and growl.
He asked me to send a clipping of the column, which I did, and he sent these back.
Gene Kiniski died in 2010. Three years ago we lost Canada’s Greatest Athlete.