By RON FANFAIR
Donovan Bailey and Mark McKoy, who, between them, won nine gold medals for Canada at major international track and field meetings in the 1980s and 90s, are among the first class of athletes to be inducted into Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony takes place in Calgary on June 25.
Jamaican-born Bailey once held the 100-metre world record after his gold medal win in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was also the first Canadian to legally break the 10-second barrier in the 100-metre event. The sprinter also won gold in the 1996 Olympics sprint relay, the 1995 world championships 100-metre event and the 1995 and 1997 4 x 100-metre events.
He was inducted in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as an individual in 2004 and again four years later as a member of the 1996 relay side that also included Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin, Robert Esmie and Carlton Chambers who ran in the preliminary rounds.
A special guest analyst for CBC at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bailey works closely with former coach Dan Pfaff who is preparing the British track team for the 2012 London Olympics.
Guyanese-born hurdler McKoy captured gold medals in the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the world indoor championships 60-metres hurdles at the Rogers Centre (then SkyDome) 18 years ago.
He owns a fitness company in Toronto and also provides elite personal training.
Other athletes inducted are high jumpers Greg Joy and Debbie Brill and middle distance runner Bill Crothers.
Joy won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics which was the only medal Canada secured at the summer Olympics. He also clinched a silver medal two years later at the Commonwealth Games, setting a world record with a jump of 2.31 metres.
A three-time Commonwealth Games medallist, Brill was the first Canadian female to clear 1.82 metres (six ft.) while Crothers won a silver medal in the 880-yard event at the 1964 Olympics.
Sprint coach Gerald Mach along with Diane and Doug Clement will be inducted in the coach and builders categories respectively while Ethel Catherwood, the only Canadian female to win an individual Olympic gold medal in athletics, Percy Williams – a double Olympic medallist at the 1928 Olympics – and marathon runner Andre Viger will be inducted in memoriam.
Athletics Canada vice-chair and chair of the Hall of Fame selection committee Dr. Danny Williams welcomed the inaugural inductees.
“While their achievements have been recognized in various ways in the past, we now have this specific opportunity to showcase in a more permanent and public manner, the athletes, the coaches and builders who have contributed to this great sport over so many years,” he said.
The Athletics Canada Hall of Fame will induct annually a maximum of five athlete nominees, three in memoriam nominees, one coach and a builder nominee. The Hall of Fame will exist through a virtual portal allowing track and field fans across Canada and the rest of the world to view, interact and learn about Canada’s rich history in the sport.
The virtual hall can be accessed at www.athletics.ca/halloffame.