45 Years in Sports: What athletes, coaches and competition can teach anyone, and witnessing the moments and the people who perform at the highest level.
Lesley Visser is the most highly acclaimed female sportscaster of all time. In six Halls of Fame, she was the first woman enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. She is the only female sportscaster to have carried the Olympic Torch; the only woman to have presented the Championship Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl; the first woman on the Network Broadcasts of the Final Four, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the Olympics, the Triple Crown, the World Figure Skating Championships, and the US Open Tennis. She was voted the Outstanding Female Sportscaster of All-Time by the National Sportscasters of America. Her career began at the Boston Globe in 1974 after she won a Carnegie Foundation grant, given to only 20 women in the country who wanted to go into jobs that were 95% male.
Lesley was elected to the Sportswriter’s Hall of Fame for her work at the Boston Globe, magazines and CBS.com. She was voted to the Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame for her work at CBS, ABC and HBO. Visser was the first and only woman to win the Billie Jean King “Outstanding Journalist” award, and was honored as the first woman “Lombardi Fellow.” She has been named a Muhammad Ali “Daughter of Greatness” and was honored for her achievements by the 18th World Congress of Sport. In June of 2018, she won the Al Neuharth/Newseum award for Lifetime Achievement, first given to Walter Cronkite. Lesley had the privilege of reporting from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and had the honor of throwing out the first pitch for her beloved Red Sox in 2013.
A graduate of Boston College, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2007, she has passionately served on the board of the V Foundation for cancer research for more than 20 years, while also serving on the board of NYU’s “Sports and Society”. Visser has mentored young women for decades, while speaking at colleges and businesses around the world - from Doha, Qatar, to Charleston, South Carolina, where she spoke at the prestigious Renaissance weekend, founded by President Clinton. Lesley’s book, “Sometimes You Have to Cross When it Says Don't Walk” is a memoir of breaking barriers.
A sportscaster at CBS for more than 25 years, Lesley spent nearly 10 years at ABC Sports, where she became the first woman on Monday Night Football and the first woman on a Super Bowl sideline, while also covering the World Series, World Figure Skating Championships, the World Skiing Championships, and the Triple Crown. She has been voted one of the “Women We Love” by Esquire magazine and one of “the Five Ideal Dinner Guests” by GQ. She and her husband, Bob Kanuth, a former captain of Harvard basketball, live in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida.