Marc Gagnon and Marianne Limpert Lead Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007
Five-time Olympic short track speed skating medallist Marc Gagnon and 1996 Olympic swimming silver medallist Marianne Limpert head a list of six inductees who will be enshrined this evening in the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. Hosted by television broadcaster Brian Williams, the 2007 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony, presented by General Motors of Canada Limited, is scheduled to take place at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Gagnon, Limpert and 1932 Olympic figure skating bronze medallist Montgomery Wilson will be enshrined in the athlete category. Deryk Snelling will be inducted in the coach category while Les McDonald and Brian Wakelin will enter the Hall as builders.
During the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the COC will also present five-time Olympic medallist Clara Hughes with the 2006 International Olympic Committee Sport and the Community Trophy in recognition of her outstanding contribution and commitment to promoting and assisting the development of sport at both the national and international level.
The Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame recognizes those who have served the cause of the Olympic Movement with distinction. This evening’s six inductees are:
Marc Gagnon (athlete, Montreal), one of the most successful athletes in Canadian sport history. Gagnon is a three-time Olympian who won a total of three gold and two bronze medals while representing Canada in short track speed skating on the sport’s biggest stage. Gagnon is the holder of every major title in short track speed skating. His total of five Olympic medals is the most by a Canadian male athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games and is the second most in Canadian sport history. Apart from the Olympic Winter Games, Gagnon also achieved great success at the World Championships, winning the overall title in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998.
Marianne Limpert (athlete, Fredericton), represented Canada in swimming in three consecutive Olympic Games beginning in 1992. Throughout her Olympic career, Limpert competed in nine disciplines, recording a top-eight finish each time including a memorable silver medal performance in the 200-metre individual medley at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Apart from her success at the Olympic Games, Limpert achieved numerous podium results on the international stage including capturing a silver medal at the World Aquatic Championships to go along with nine medals at the Commonwealth Games and 10 podium finishes at the Pan American Games. In 1998, she was named Canada’s opening ceremony flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia and went on to capture gold, silver and bronze medals.
Montgomery Wilson (athlete, Toronto), a three-time Olympian in figure skating, he became the first Canadian and North American man to record a podium finish in the sport at the Olympic Winter Games following a bronze medal performance in the men’s singles discipline at the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid. During the course of his career, Wilson also represented Canada in men’s singles at the 1928 and 1936 Olympic Winter Games and became the first Canadian man to capture a medal at the World Championships after winning a silver at the 1932 event in Montreal. He passed away in 1964 at the age of 55.
Deryk Snelling (coach, Vancouver), one of the most accomplished swimming coaches in Canadian Olympic history. Beginning in 1972, Snelling represented Canada at seven consecutive Olympic Games, serving as the national team’s head coach in Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles and Barcelona. Throughout the course of his career, Snelling guided a total of 60 swimmers to the Olympic Games, with 21 reaching the podium. Among some of the prominent Canadian swimmers Snelling coached include Olympic medallists Mark Tewksbury, Curtis Myden, Tom Ponting, Leslie Cliff, Cheryl Gibson, Donna-Marie Gurr, Wendy Hogg, Bill Mahoney and Bruce Robertson.
Les McDonald (builder, North Vancouver, B.C.), a tireless lobbyist and an influential advocate for the sport of triathlon. McDonald is widely regarded as the driving force behind the event’s inclusion onto the Olympic Games programme in 1993. The President of Triathlon Canada from 1984-1996, McDonald has also made a great impact in the Canadian sport community by organizing some of the first regional and national triathlon championships in Canada.
Brian Wakelin (builder, St. John’s, Nfld.), was instrumental in growing the Olympic Movement and developing the sport of hockey across Canada over a 30-year period, beginning in 1971. Wakelin was elected as the Vice President of the Canadian Olympic Association in 1990 and represented Canada at five Olympic Games, including serving as Chef de Mission at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. An influential member of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, Wakelin held a variety of positions within the organization including Chairman of the Board from 1985-1987.