Born in Te Kuiti but raised in Wellington where he has lived most of his life, Keith Quinn made his first broadcast on radio in May 1967, reading the sports news on National Radio. His first appearance on TV followed, as a sports news presenter, in 1968.
His first rugby commentary was on radio in 1971 and on television in 1973.
By 2009 he could look back on having attended all six Rugby World Cups, the Summer Olympics Games eight times, nine Commonwealth Games and three Paralympic Games.
He has also broadcast on the world 7 aside rugby circuit in over 60 cities in the last decade. He has been to the Hong Kong Sevens 19 times since 1988.
He has written 13 books, mostly on the subject of rugby, including the ‘Encyclopedia of World Rugby’ which went to three global editions. His own life story ‘Keith Quinn – A Lucky Man’ was published in 2000.
Keith still broadcasts regularly each week on three radio stations, writes weekly columns in three publications, and in 2009 joined Sky TV as presenter for a new show in ‘The Rugby Channel’ called ‘Test Match Stories.’.
In 1997, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to sports journalism and in 2005 he was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Media Trophy, to recognize a sports journalist for his/her contribution towards the promotion of Sports and Olympism in their country.
From a purely New Zealand point of view he says the finest moment at an Olympic event was being at the microphone and calling John Walker’s 1500metre gold medal from Montreal in 1976. He had to wait 32 years before commentating his second kiwi gold medal (Valerie Vili in the shot put in Beijing, 2008)
In a world sense he recalls vividly the women’s 10,000metres on the track at the Barcelona games of 1992. The poignancy of a white South African woman Elena Meyer running lap after lap alongside the black Ethiopian Derartu Tulu was wonderful to behold. Tulu won by 5 seconds and waited at the finish line for Meyer. The two then ran hand in hand around the track with each other’s national flag draped around each other’s shoulders. Tulu’s win was the first Olympic gold medal by a black African woman and Meyer’s silver medal was the first medal for the new South Africa, after that country had been banned from competing at the Olympics for 32 years.
Keith was commentator when the All Blacks won the 1987 Rugby World Cup. He says that was a great thrill but lists the fourth test between New Zealand and South Africa in Pretoria, 1996 as the most exciting test match he has covered. New Zealand hung on to win in the last five minutes and thus became the first All Black team to win a test series on South African soil.
He is married to the very patient Anne (1970) and they have three children and three grandchildren.