A WORD FROM THE PRESIDENT
OLYMPIANS CANADA                Dear Olympians,
                                It is hard to imagine how fast time has
                                gone. Already another year has passed
Michael Chambers                at Olympians Canada and many new de-
Honourary President             velopments were made in the last twelve
                                months. Several new Olympians Canada
Charmaine Crooks                Chapter Boards of Directors were elected,
President                       a new Olympians Canada Chapter was
                                formed and most important, many Olym-
Tricia Smith                    pians were re-connected through Olympi-
Vice-President                  ans Canada with the Olympic Movement.
                                I’m so proud of all the work that our staff
Christian Farstad               members have contributed to Olympians
Secretary General               Canada. I’d like to extend a special thanks
                                to them.                                       Canada’s men’s 4x rowing team celebrates its gold medal win at the 1956
Richard Pound                                                                  Melbourne Olympic Games.
Ex Officio                       In addition, I’d like to extend special con-
                                gratulations to all Olympians who participated in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, which
Paul Henderson                  celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The 1956 Olympic Games, which were the first to be held
Ex Officio                       in the southern hemisphere, were held from November 22, 1956 to December 8, 1956. A total of
                                72 countries sent to the Games a grand total of 3,314 athletes, who participated in 145 events. The
James Worrall                   former Soviet Union and the United States led the medal count at the Games with Canada winning
Ex Officio                       a total of six medals in rowing, shooting, diving and equestrian eventing.

                                Canada was represented at the 50th anniversary celebrations in Melbourne by the following Olym-
                                pians: Don Arnold (rowing – 1956, 1960), Ronald Bissett (basketball – 1956), Mel Brown (basket-
                                ball – 1956), Richard Harding (athletics – 1956), Bill McKerlich (rowing – 1956, 1960), Laird Sloan
                                (athletics – 1956), Terry Tobacco (athletics – 1956, 1960), Alice Whitty (athletics - 1952, 1956) and
                                Ed Wild (basketball – 1956). I’m sure that they all had a wonderful time meeting all of their former
                                competitors in Melbourne and I look forward to hearing all of their stories!

                                It has indeed been a productive year for Olympians Canada and I wish you the best in this 2006
                                holiday season. We look forward to seeing you soon in 2007!

Olympians Canada Secretariat    Yours in sport,
3585 Graveley Street, Floor 7
Vancouver, BC V5K 5J5
                                Charmaine Crooks
Tel: +1 (604) 678-2559          President, Olympians Canada
Fax: +1 (604) 678-2554
    NATIONAL UPDATE                                     ATHLETE PROFILE - STEPHANIE MCCANN (ATHLETICS - 2004)

                         As we begin the holiday                                                            Stephanie       McCann
                         season, I’d like to wish you                                                       represented Canada in
                         all the best and many hap-                                                         the pole vault discipline
                         py returns for the coming                                                          at the 2004 Olympic
                         year of 2007. Things at                                                            Games in Athens, fin-
                         Olympians Canada are                                                               ishing 10th.
                         continuing to develop and
                         new plans are being made                                                           In 2006, McCann en-
                         for the upcoming year.                                                             joyed a strong season,
                                                                                                            winning a bronze med-
    I’m happy to report that the Alberta Chapter                                                            al at both the Com-
    of Olympians Canada now has a new elected                                                               monwealth Games and
    Board of Directors. I’d like to extend a warm                                                           the International Track
    welcome to the incoming members: Gordon                                                                 Classic to go along with
    Bertie (wrestling - 1972, 1976), Kirstin Nor-                                                           a gold medal at the Ca-
    mand (synchronised swimming - 2000), Kevin                                                              nadian Championship
    Primeau (ice hockey - 1980), Christina Smith                                                            in Ottawa.
    (bobsleigh - 2002), and Peter Vander Pyl (field
    hockey - 1964).                                                                                        After first starting pole
                                                                                                           vaulting at the age of
    I’d also like to thank the outgoing Alberta                                                            21, McCann has cap-
    Chapter Board of Directors, Kirstin Normand                                                            tured a total of 18 med-
    (synchronized swimming - 2000) and Kathy                                                               als, including nine gold
    Salmon (luge - 1988, 1992), for all their work                                                         medals and is a four-
    and help over the last several years as we got                                                         time Canadian cham-
    the Alberta Chapter restarted. Alberta has a        pion. McCann studied kinesiology at Simon Fraser University and graduated
    long history with the Olympians Chapter and         with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health at Azusa Pacific University in
    it is great to see that this important chapter is   California in 2000.
    being revitalized with new energy.

    The National Board of Directors will be hav-        Career Highlights
    ing its Annual General Meeting this spring at
    the COC Congress in Halifax, so as we begin         2006
    to make plans for that meeting, we hope to see      Canadian National Championships, Ottawa, ON - CAN 1st - 4.35
    as many of you as possible in Halifax. It will      International Track Classic, Victoria, BC - CAN 3rd - 4.35
    be a great opportunity for us to meet all of the    Commonwealth games, Melbourne - AUS 3rd - 4.25
    Olympians in Eastern Canada. I know that the
    Atlantic Chapter of Olympians Canada is quite       2005
    excited and is starting to gear up for events       Nel G, Stadskanaal - NED 1st - 4.20
    during that time. As we get closer to the An-       Grand Prix, Doha - QAT 5th - 4.00
    nual General Meeting, be sure to look out for       Loughborough - GBR 2nd - 4.00
    more information on event and meeting details
    as we’d really like it if you could join us.        2004
                                                        Olympic Games, Athens - GRE 10th - 4.40
    As always, I encourage all of you to stay con-      Canadian Championships, Victoria, BC - CAN 3rd - 4.00
    nected with your regional chapters and please       San Luis Obispo, CA - USA 1st - 4.40
    call the Olympians Canada Secretariat if we         Adidas Oregon Track Classic, Portland, OR - USA 4th - 4.30
    can help you with anything.                         Home Depot Invitational, Carson, CA - USA 4th - 4.20
                                                        Modesto Relays, Modesto, CA - USA 4th - 4.15
    Chris Farstad                                       Drake Relays, Des Moines, IW - USA 5th - 4.13
    Secretary General, Olympians Canada                 Westwood, CA - USA 4th - 4.22
                                                        Fayetteville, AK - USA 4th - 4.30
                                                        Mountain T Invitational, Flagstaff, AZ - USA 1st - 4.35

Don Arnold (rowing – 1956, 1960)

About 800 athletes and flag bearers refreshed distant
memories at the Golden Anniversary of the Olympic
Games hosted by Australia almost 50 years to the day of
the “Friendly Games”, as they were known at the time.
The festival was orchestrated by the Victoria Sport Coun-
cil and the Olympic cities of Melbourne and Ballarat.
The latter city served to host the outdoor water events
of the Games. During the five days of the reunion, many
gatherings of athletes from 26 nations shared stories of
defeat, triumph, and a readiness to win.

Canada had ten Olympians who shared the days with
many colleagues and new acquaintances from neigh-
bouring countries and those from distant lands. The rep-
resentatives were: Don Arnold (rowing – 1956, 1960),
Ronald Bissett (basketball – 1956), Mel Brown (basket-
ball – 1956), Richard Harding (athletics – 1956), Bill                 Australian Olympian Ron Clark re-lighting the Olympic flame in Melbourne.
McKerlich (rowing – 1956, 1960), Laird Sloan (athletics
– 1956), Terry Tobacco (athletics – 1956, 1960), Alice
Whitty (athletics - 1952, 1956) and Ed Wild (basketball
– 1956).

A civic reception was held at the Town Hall on the first
evening. The next day “56 returns to the G” took place
at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds – a 100,000 seat sta-
dium on the site of the original Olympic facility. The
new facility is superb and well furbished with modern
stadium technology.

Approximately 8,000 individuals attended the re-enact-
ment of the opening of the 1956 Olympic Games on
a sunny Sunday afternoon. The pageantry was graceful
                                                          Left to right: Richard Harding (athletics - 1956), Laird Sloan (athletics - 1956), Ed Wild (basket-
and beautiful amid the National Flags, colorful Police ball - 1956), Terry Tobacco (athletics - 1956, 1960) and Ronald Bissett (basketball - 1956).
Band, and a quintet of ladies dressed as Olympic God-
desses to commemorate the modern Olympic Games. Many youth were playfully twisting colorful ribbons at several May Poles. The
stage was thusly set for the re-opening of the XVI Olympiad.

Several large modern stadium TV screens captured the action of the day for the spectators and athletes. After marching onto the
field behind the flag bearer, each country was lead to a strategic place of honor from which to watch the proceedings. A gasp of
silence overcame the crowd as Ron Clark once again carried the torch to ignite the Olympic Flame. While the doves and pigeons
flew out of their enclosure in search of a bearing and peace, the Honorable John Landy once again read the athletes’ creed after
which the Games were symbolically declared open. Four cannons each fired three shots to confirm the opening. Dignitaries paid
tribute to the occasion as did the President of the International Olympic Committee via satellite.

A gala Black Tie Banquet was the culmination of the five day festivities. The room seating 1,500 people was elegantly decorated
with miniature Olympic caldrons burning at each table of ten persons. A ceremonial procession befitting the honouring of the
Olympic Athletes began with the entry of a choir mounting a large stage and followed by the Gold Medal Athletes of 1956. The
Olympic Flag was also proudly borne into the midst of the gathering. The meals were scrumptious and the friendships were elec-
tric as athletes mingled with the many sport minded attendees from within and outside the Australian corporate community. One
highlight of the evening was an auction at which items raised bids ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per item. The glamour of the
dining room was augmented by a beautifully decorated Christmas carousel at the entrance to the magnificent dining facility atop the
Crown Entertainment Complex.
                                                                                                              (continued on page 4)

                                                                                                                     OLYMPIANS CANADA                           3
    (continued from page 3)                      TWO-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST ALEX BAUMANN RETURNS TO
                                                 CANADA TO LEAD ROAD TO EXCELLENCE INITIATIVE
    As the Golden Anniversary came to a
    close, athletes and supporters alike bid     The Canadian Olympic Committee, in conjunction with the Canadian Paralympic
    farewell while a well rehearsed youth        Committee, announced that two-time Olympic gold medallist and international sport
    choir sang the Australian “Song of           leader Alex Baumann is returning to Canada to accept the position of Executive
    Farewell”. As the crowd dispersed, the       Director of the Road To Excellence initiative. Working out of Ottawa, Baumann will
    flaming table torches were slowly ex-         assume his duties in January 2007.
    tinguished and the symbolism of the
    Friendly Games, as they were dubbed at       The Road To Excellence Business Plan, released in June 2006, was developed by the
    the time, transitioned into darkness only    28 Olympic and Paralympic summer sports, the COC, the CPC and Sport Canada
    to glow again four years later.              as an initial action plan to start the process of creating a more coordinated, effective
                                                 Canadian sport system resulting in world-class programs, policies and financing that
                                                 will help Canada achieve podium success.
    Commentary from Canadian Olympians at the
    Reunion in Melbourne                         The Road To Excellence Business Plan is the most comprehensive plan ever devel-
                                                 oped by Canada’s summer sport organizations and partners which maps out a clear
    “The Canadian contingent looked great        road to podium success. The plan was designed to give Canadian athletes the required
    at the march-past thanks to the blaz-        financial and technical support to help them be competitive at the highest level.
    ers…We all had a wonderful experience
    and enjoyed the superb hospitality of the    The plan targets a top 16 placing for Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
    organizers.”                                 and a top 12 placing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The goal for the 2008
    –Richard Harding (athletics – 1956)          and 2012 Paralympic Games is for Canada to place amongst the top five nations at
                                                 each event. Similar to the Own the Podium 2010 winter sport initiative, the Road To
    “They say ‘you can’t go home again’ but      Excellence plan targets sports with the ability to achieve success at upcoming Olym-
    nine Canadians returned 50 years later to    pic and Paralympic Games.
    one of their most memorable experienc-
    es...We athletes want to give a collective   As Executive Director, Baumann will be responsible for developing and implement-
    thanks to the Canadian Olympic Com-          ing the Road To Excellence business, strategic and operating plans as well as issuing
    mittee for the blazers and other memo-       recommendations on the most effective methods to allocate its resources. He will
    rabilia provided to the returnees. The       report to Dr. Roger Jackson, CEO of the newly created Podium Canada, a partner-
    blazers made us the best dressed team at     ship between the major funding partners including the COC, CPC, Sport Canada
    the Opening Ceremonies.”                     and VANOC. Podium Canada will support Canada’s National Sport Federations in
    –Laird Sloan (athletics – 1956)              their goal to increase medal counts by Canadian athletes at both summer and winter
                                                 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    “Ed Wild and I (the starting guards for
    Canada) met the only two attendees           Baumann, one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians, captured two gold medals in
    from Lithuania who were the starting         swimming at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was selected as Canada’s
    guards for the Russian team -- we had        flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony and competed in five disciplines, winning
    a nice visit with the help of a daughter     both the 200- and 400-metre individual medley races with world record times for
    of one of the players -- there were many     Canada’s first gold medals in men’s swimming since 1912.
    highlights, but the Grand Banquet was
    the best, emotional and festive, and a       Generally regarded as the greatest Canadian swimmer of all time, Baumann was
    great way to end our visit to Australia.”    named Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year by Canadian Press in 1984 and was made
    –Ron Bissett (basketball – 1956)             an Officer of the Order of Canada that same year. He was inducted into the Cana-
                                                 dian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

                                                 In 1991, Baumann moved to Australia to pursue graduate studies at the University
                                                 of Queensland. Following his academic career, he was appointed as the Manager of
                                                 Sport Programs for the Queensland Academy of Sport in 1996. He then held vari-
                                                 ous positions with the Queensland Government before becoming Chief Executive
                                                 Officer of Queensland Swimming in 1999. In 2002, he assumed the role of Execu-
                                                 tive Director for the Queensland Academy of Sport where he was responsible for
                                                 overseeing sport programs, athlete and coach support services, regional services, the
    Joel Finlay participated in the 1968
                                                 Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science Research and business services in
    Olympic Games and not the 1976 Olym-
                                                 order to ensure that Australian athletes had the best resources necessary for attaining
    pic Games as noted on page 4 of the Fall
                                                 high-performance goals.
    2006 issue.

                                                         When Cathy Priestner Allinger stood on the podium in Innsbruck, Austria as the 1976
                                                         Olympic silver medallist in speed skating, she never dreamed that one day she’d be the
                                                         first woman to head the sports function at an Olympic Games, let alone in her native

                                                         An Olympian, coach, administrator, volunteer and television broadcaster who has
                                                         been involved in every aspect of sport and sport management, Priestner Allinger is
                                                         no stranger to breaking records. It’s a feat she hopes to repeat in her role at VANOC,
                                                         where her scope of responsibility includes sport, venue management, medical services,
                                                         anti-doping control, Paralympic Games and the actual running of the Olympic Games’
                                                         82 medal events.

                                                         As the lead author of the “Own the Podium 2010” report, Priestner Allinger is inte-
                                                         grally involved in the $110-million initiative, which is designed to provide Canadian
                                                         athletes with the resources and technology they need to succeed and make it to the
                                                         podium in 2010.

                                           Priestner Allinger credits the many different sport hats she’s worn over the years for the
Cathy Priestner Allinger (speed skating - 1972, 1976)
                                           unique perspective she brings to her position – Vancouver 2010 marks the eighth time
Executive Vice President - Sport, Paralympic Games and
Venue Management                           she has participated in a Games in some capacity. Prior to joining VANOC, she was
                                           the Managing Director of Games Operations for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in
Turin and Managing Director of Sport for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. As a television broadcaster, Priestner Allinger provided
colour commentary for short and long track speed skating events for the CBC at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville and
the 1998 Games in Nagano. Previously, she ran the Calgary Olympic Oval.

Priestner Allinger is an Olympic Order recipient and inductee of the Canadian and Olympic Halls of Fame. As proud as she is of
her accomplishments in the sport arena, Priestner Allinger considers being a mom and raising three children her greatest achieve-
ment. She also enjoys cycling, working out and trying to play basketball with her 6’5” son. (text and photo courtesy of the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games)


One hundred Canadian high performance athletes were named as recipients of RONA’s Growing with our Athletes program in a
series of announcements taking place across Canada. The athletes were chosen by the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian
Paralympic Committee in consultation with its member National Sport Federations, as strong prospects for the 2008 Olympic and
Paralympic Games or the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In most cases, these athletes are ranked top five
in the world.

One of the most ambitious corporate support initiatives to be undertaken in conjunction with the Canadian Olympic and Para-
lympic movements, RONA’s five-year funding program, worth a minimum of $4 million, will support 46 Olympic and Paralympic
Canadian team aspirants from across Canada for Bejing in 2008 and 54 prospects for Vancouver in 2010. An additional in-store
fundraising component of the program could provide up to $2 million more in incremental funds for the athletes over the five-year
span. These athletes will receive financial support from RONA stores through a number of in-store and community events to
help them offset living, training and competition expenses. This new $4-million pledge by RONA is above and beyond its previous
commitment of $1 million to the Canadian Paralympic Committee and its other commitment of $2 million to the Own the Podium
2010 initiative.


Do you know of a fellow Olympian who is not receiving the Olympians Canada newsletters? If you know someone on the linked
list below and their whereabouts, please contact Atila Ozkaplan at aozkaplan@olympic.ca or (604) 678-2557.

                                                                                                           OLYMPIANS CANADA                       5
    Marilyn Ruth Take (figure skating - 1948)

                             An ancient king who reigned in magnificent splendour was renowned worldwide for his great wisdom. He
                             was quoted as saying: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might.” This is precisely what
                             Olympians must do, so high on a pedestal is the acquisition of knowledge tempered with both wisdom and
                             understanding. It is simply not adequate to possess a little knowledge for the lack thereof may contribute to
                             disaster when it comes to successfully capturing Olympic medals.

                           Canada’s competitive athletes hold our Olympic coaches in the very highest regard. Without the expertise of
                           these experienced and talented teachers we would never have become Olympians. Indeed they persistently
                           polished us like diamonds with both friction and heat. Our appreciation, honour and praise is bestowed upon
    them with pleasure, and not only on them, but on all of our instructors who have contributed to our development. They have en-
    riched our lives tremendously. Today’s Olympians are tomorrow’s teachers who will be tremendously inspirational to all those they
    come in contact with as shining examples in whatever career they choose to follow after their competitive years. Personally I derive
    great pleasure in the realization that the extent of my experiences have resulted in a wealth of information and a great desire to
    share what I treasure.

    My favorite coach, Osborne Colson, was wonderful to work with. He possessed an amusing and colourful personality. We shared
    the same consuming passion for the magic of the theatre, the enchanting world of the ballet that intoxicated us with its breathtaking
    beauty and the emotionally soaring melodies and the joyous rhythms that inspired us to interpret with the greatest of pleasure.

    All of this culminated in that fascinating athletic sport that is crowned with an artist’s heart and spirit - “Patinage Artistique”. So
    imagine our delight when our hard work bore fruit at the 1948 Games of St. Moritz, and the correspondent for the London Times
    reported that “Marilyn Take of Canada treated us to one of the most delightful displays of free skating in any exhibition I have
    ever seen. It was a difficult programme performed faultlessly, rhythmic and beautiful, it was in a word exquisite.” (The Times; Feb.
    7, 1948) Bravo to my late coach who coached me to this ever so lovely article! Bravo! The skating world treasures your memory and
    misses you tremendously.

    Billy Gibson, Olympic gold medallist from the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo,
    Norway, passed away peacefully in his sleep with his family by his side at the
    Lethbridge Regional Hospital on August 29, 2006 at the age of 79. Gibson was
    born on April 22, 1927 in Merritt, B.C.

    Gibson’s hockey career in Lethbridge and beyond was enough to earn him ac-
    colades. He won a world championship with the Lethbridge Maple Leafs in 1951
    and the Olympic gold medal with the Edmonton Mercurys in ’52, the last time
    Canada won gold in men’s ice hockey until 2002. The accomplishments were
    enough to get him enshrined in the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta
    Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame. Gibson is the only
    Lethbridge resident — and one of a select few in the country — to have won a
    gold medal in Olympic hockey. Gibson was present at Team Canada’s gold-med- Canada’s hockey team, represented by the Edmonton Mercurys, cel-
                                                                                            ebrates its gold medal win at the 1952 Oslo winter Olympic Games.
    al win in 2002 and gushed about the recent success in his inimitable style: “It’s an
    experience I’ll never forget. I’ll tell you, when they raised that flag on Sunday after the hockey game it was something special.”

    Gibson was a local personality in the truest sense. Known almost as well for his one-liners, community work and 45 years selling
    automobiles as his hockey heroics, the loquacious Gibson was a community activist and one of the city of Lethbridge’s treasures.
    A ferocious competitor on the ice, Gibson also found satisfaction in helping out around the community, in particular his work with
    the Canadian Cancer Society and his visits to the city’s hospitals. A cancer survivor, he was the honorary chairman of the society’s
    Relay for Life in 2005 and even walked around the track last year, despite failing health. He is survived by his wife Lillian Gibson,
    and his four children, Terry Briggs, Carol Steen, Greg Gibson and Darin Gibson. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and five
    great-grandchildren, and two sisters. (text courtesy of Dylan Purcell at the Lethbridge Herald)


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