Bohdan Tomaszewski, the distinctive voice of Polish sports for more than 50 years, died 27 February in Warsaw at the age of 93. Generations of Poles followed important global sporting events through the images he painted with his voice. “Radio is immortal,” he told Press magazine in a 2007 interview. “It stimulates the human imagination.”
Considered a legend of Polish sport journalism, Tomaszewski spent decades working in radio, covering 12 Olympic Games. During that time he commentated on some of Poland’s greatest sporting triumphs, including the dual gold medals of Władysław Kozakiewicz and Bronisław Malinowski at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.
Tomaszewski also had a strong political conscience. He fought with the Home Army during the Nazi occupation during World War II and refused to work with regime-associated media during the imposition of martial law from 1981 to 1983.
Before dedicating himself to journalism, Tomaszewski was a highly ranked youth tennis player. His first broadcast assignment was the 1947 Poland-Great Britain Davis Cup match. From that time, he had worked to popularise the sport in Poland. In 1968 he established an annual tennis tournament called the Tomaszewski Cup, where the now-famous Radwańska sisters – Urszula and Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka – launched their careers.
Tomaszewski continued freelancing late into his life, and he is widely reported as saying at age 90 that “the microphone is like a drug”. For his final assignment he covered the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, a fitting goodbye to the sport he had always loved.