Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Track legends enshrined in Athletics Canada hall of fame

Bruny Surin at a dinner following being inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ont. Nov. 5/2008.

Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Athletics Canada has named five athletes who weathered the 1980s crisis of doping in track and field, as well as a coach, a builder and three postumous track legends to be enshrined as part of its of hall of fame class of 2012.

Bruny Surin of Montreal, Charmaine Crooks of Vancouver, Milt Ottey of Toronto, Guillaume LeBlanc of Sept-Îles, Que., and Dave Steen of New Westminster, B.C., will be inducted in the athlete category.

Lyle Sanderson of Regina, will join the hall in the coach category while Bob Adams of Regina, enters as a builder.

Story continues below advertisement

Completing the class of 2012 are posthumous inductees Myrtle Cook and Fred Foot from Toronto, and Harry Jerome of Prince Albert, Sask.

The Class of 2012 will be inducted in conjunction with the Canadian Track and Field Trials in Calgary, June 27-30.

"I'm very honoured to be part of the 2012 class," Surin said in a message. A target of doping suspicions when he took on the sprint as the fastest man in Canada in the days after the Ben Johnson Seoul Olympic steroid scandal, Surin rose above scrutiny to be a two-time world champion indoors at 60 metres in 1993 and 1995. Surin also won silver at the 1995 and 1999 outdoor world championships in the 100-metres. At the 1996 Olympic Games he won gold as a member of the 4x100-metres relay team and today he still holds the Canadian record over 60-metres (indoor), 100-metres, 200-metres (indoor) and as a member of the 4x100-metres relay team.

"We've all been great ambassadors to the sport and to be recognized for this is truly heartwarming," said Surin, who now has a Montreal-based athlete agency. "I'm excited to be heading to Calgary to accept the award. I'm looking forward to seeing the new breed of Canadians, looking to establish a legacy of their own," he said.

Crooks is a five time Olympian and was the first Canadian woman to run under two minutes in the 800-metres. She was a national team member for an outstanding 17 years, notably winning silver at the 1984 Olympic Games in the 4x400-metres relay. Crooks is a three time Pan American Games medalist (gold in 1983, silver in 1983 and 1987), a two time Commonwealth Games medalist (gold in 1986, silver in 1994) and was selected to carry the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games.

LeBlanc is a three-time Olympian and the 1992 Olympic Games silver medalist in the 20 kilometre race walk. LeBlanc won gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and set the world record in the 30-kilometre race walk in a time of 2:04:56, a mark that still stands as the Canadian record. LeBlanc also holds the Canadian record in the 10,000-metre race walk.

Ottey finished the 1982 competitive season as the world's No.1-ranked high jumper. Ottey was a finalist at the Olympic Games and World Championships; he retired with a personal best of 2.33-metres. Ottey is a triple Commonwealth Games medalist (gold in 1982 and 1986, bronze in 1990), won Pan American Games bronze in 1979 and was eight-time national champion.

Story continues below advertisement

Steen won bronze in the decathlon at the 1988 Olympic Games, easing the Canadian psyche after the Johnson scandal. The 1983 Pan American Games gold medalist was the first Canadian to ever surpass the magic mark of 8,000 points in the decathlon. Steen was awarded the Canadian Track and Field Associations' (now Athletics Canada) most outstanding athlete in field events award on four occasions. Steen remains active in Canadian sport as Ambassador for Canada's Fair Play Commission.

Sanderson is a legend among coaches as the man who guided the careers of Olympians Diane Jones Konihowski in pentathlon and Joanne McTaggart in sprints. He served as head coach at the University of Saskatchewan for 39 years, leading them to 11 national and 33 conference track and field titles.

Sanderson was named to the Canadian coaching staff of 54 Athletics Canada national teams, including three Olympic Games (1976, 1980 and 1984), and two world championships (1993 and 2001). He is a two time recipient (1977, 1979) of the Canadian Track and Field Association (now Athletics Canada) Coach of the Year award and in 2010 he was awarded the Geoff Gowan Award for his lifetime contribution to coaching and development.

Adams's involvement in the sport spanned many decades as an athlete, coach, official and builder. He competed as an athlete at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and would later serve as head coach at the 1958 Commonwealth Games and 1964 Olympic Games. In 1976 he was appointed chief judge of the pole vault for the Montreal Olympics. A founding member of the Saskatoon Track and Field Club, he sits on the Board of Directors for a grassroots track foundation that bears his name.

Jerome (1940-1982) is the only athlete to own both the 100-yard and 100-metres world records simultaneously. Jerome represented Canada at three Olympic Games (1960, 1964 and 1968), winning a bronze medal in the 100-metres at the 1964 Games. Jerome, the 1966 Commonwealth Games and 1967 Pan American Games gold medalist, owned seven world records throughout his career.

Cook, (1902-1985), won gold as a member of the 4x100-metres relay team in the first Olympic Games which allowed female athletics competitors in 1928. Earlier that same season, at the 1928 Olympic Trials, she set the world record in the 100-metres. Cook went to a successful career in sports writing and advocated for women in sport.

Story continues below advertisement

Foot, (1917-2002) is responsible for having developed some of the world's best middle distance runners in the 1950's and 1960's, such as Bruce Kidd, Bill Crothers, and George Sheppard. In 1956 Foot was named head coach of the Canadian Track and Field Olympic team and coached at least one athlete on every Olympic Games team between 1948 and 1984. In 40 years of coaching at the East York and University of Toronto clubs, Foot recruited successful coaches such as Andy Higgins, Carl Georgevski and Molly Killingbeck.

Athletics Canada vice chair Danny Daniels, who is chairman of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, said there was an "overwhelming response" to the first group of members inducted into the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame last year. The inaugural class included: athletes Donovan Bailey -- the 1996 Olympic gold medal sprinter, relay man and Canadian 100-metre record co-holder -- high jumper Debbie Brill, middle distance man and Olympic silver medalist Crothers, high jump Olympic silver medalist Greg Joy and hurdling's 1992 Olympic gold medalist Mark McKoy.

Diane and Doug Clement were inducted as builders and Gerard Mach into the coach category. Olympic gold medal high jumper Ethel Catherwood, wheelchair racer André Viger, a three-time Boston Marathon winner and multiple Paralympic medal winner, and Olympic double gold medal sprinter Percy Williams were honoured in memoriam.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Sports reporter

James Christie written sports for the Globe on staff since 1974, covering almost all beats and interviewed the big names from Joe DiMaggio, to Muhammad Ali, to Jim Brown to Wayne Gretzky. Also covered the 10 worst years in Toronto Maple Leafs hockey history. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at