Good LIVES MAGAZINE
The man dubbed ‘Mr Olympics’ has been a fixture on our screens and airwaves for the last four decades and has called some of the nation’s greatest sporting moments. His was the voice that perfectly summed up Cathy Freeman’s gold medal-winning sprint at the Sydney Olympics with “what a moment, what a legend”. When champion mare Makybe Diva claimed her third straight Melbourne Cup win, he called it “the greatest victory in the history of the race”. Despite reaching the top of his game, Bruce always sees room for improvement. “I don’t think that age should be a handbrake on ambition,” he says. “And by ambition I don’t mean get more money, or a bigger job, I mean do a better job.”
“I still feel like I can get better and while some of my biggest events might be behind me, my best work might still be ahead.” It’s a mindset that continues to drive Bruce in his work and life and helped him carry on in the wake of a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in 2015, revealed to the public last year.
CLL is a slow-growing leukaemia that affects white blood cells, but between 30 and 50 percent of people diagnosed with the disease never require any treatment, apart from check-ups to monitor their health.
“There was a lot of reaction to the news and that was comforting, but I felt it was unwarranted because I wasn’t on any treatment and I didn’t feel ill – I’ve never felt ill.”
Top right ‘One of the boys’ (Bruce seated front row, third from right), 1970. Bottom right Early days at Channel 7, 2000.