Athletics Ontario announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Athletics Ontario is pleased to announce the 2017 Inductees in to the AO Hall of Fame. The ceremony is to take place on Saturday September 30, in conjunction with the Athlete of the Year Awards Banquet, “Celebrating Excellence in Athletics”.

The banquet, in addition to the presentation of awards to Hall of Fame Inductees, will also include the presentations of Athlete of the Year Awards for athletes in most age-groups and event groups. More details will be available in the coming weeks.

The following athletes and builders will be inducted into the Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame on September 30:

George Walters, Builder (1929-)

George has been a volunteer in sports, particularly in athletics in the Thunder Bay area, for over 50 years. He has been involved in a major way in the development of athletes through the Legion Camp Program.

As a meet director and official, George has organized hundreds of competitions, even competitions in Manitoba.

George represented North Western Region on the OTFA Board of Directors and was the key contact for OTFA in the region throughout his time in Thunder Bay. He played leading roles in organization of 1981 Canada Summer Games (Chairman of Officials) and OFSAA Championships in Thunder Bay.

Additionally, George officiated in many local, regional, provincial, national, international meets 1983 World University Games (Edmonton) & 1993 World Indoors in Toronto.

Bob Vigars, Builder (1944-)

He started the Western International Invitational Cross Country meet in 1977 on a cross country course that ran behind Brescia College.

In 1986 Bob designed a Cross Country Course on Thames Valley Golf Course. That course has been used for 27 years and has hosted the Western International Meet 27 times, the Ontario University championship meet once and the Canadian University championship meet 6 times “The Valley” course is regarded as the best university cross country course in the country.

Bob has been meet director for all of these events and that brings the number of events that he has directed in his career, including Track & Field, Cross Country and Gymnastics to an amazing 350.

He was the founder of the Canadian University Coaching Association for Cross Country in 1976 and Track & Field in 1980. Bob’s numerous awards include the W Club Hall of Fame in 2001, Western’s Cross Country and Track & Field Wall of Fame in 2000, CIS coach of the year 14 times, and OUA coach of the year 28 times. In 2000 he became the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for OUA Track & Field.

Mike Illingworth, Builder (1954-2015)

Mike was the expert that so many sought out whenever there were questions on rules or procedures. Mike was a long time official in Ontario. He was a throws official and reached the National Level. He was also one of the pioneers in Ontario as Photo Finish official and Technical Manager. His passion and dedication brought him to be the guru of technical manager in Ontario and Canada.

While a Director on the OTFA Board, he worked at many committees like the Polices and By Law Committee and chair for the Technical Committee.

Mike was the expert that so many sought out whenever there were questions on rules or procedures. Major competitions in which Mike was officiating included: 2010 IAAF World Junior, 2009 Canada Games, 2005 PAN AM Junior, 2003 IAAF World Youth, 2001 IAAF World outdoor, 1997 Canada Games, 1995 PAN AM Junior, 1993 IAAF World Indoor, 1988 IAAF World Junior, and 1975 World Masters.

Vital Shank, Builder (1948-)

For over 40 years Vital Shank has been the leading force behind the Timmins-Porcupine Track & Field Club and also of the North Central Region during the OTFA’s regional period.

Vital operates an athletics club that caters to athletes of all ages and levels of performance.  This means not only the organization of local and regional competitions but also the arrangement of numerous, lengthy and costly trips to southern Ontario and other places where a higher level of competition is available.  Vital and the club coaches under his watchful eye have produced hundreds of Canadian and Ontario Champions.  Some of these athletes have gone on to representing Canada internationally.

Vital has always been interested in the level of the sport provincially, having served as the Region’s President for many years as well as sitting as a member of Athletics Ontario’s Technical Committee.

As an official, Vital preferred announcing – he was often heard announcing at meets in two languages.

Vital has been a strong supporter and promoter of his own community by successfully lobbying for a high level athletics facility.  The city was rewarded by being given hosting rights for 3 Royal Canadian Provincial Championships (including one this summer) and an Athletics Ontario Bantam-Midget-Youth Championship meet.

Denis Landry, Builder (1948-2008)

Denis Landry contributed to the sport in many ways.  As a high school athlete in North Bay he was a member of the OFSAA senior boys winning cross country team.  After becoming a teacher, Denis’ interests turned to meet management and he convened the 1973 and 1978 Cross Country Championships.  In 1980 he took on directorship of the 1st ever Pan American Junior Championships and two years later he was the manager of the Canadian Junior Pan Am team.

For years Denis coached school, university and club athletes in the distance events.  He excelled at coaching, having worked with accomplished athletes such as Alain Boucher, Bob Rice, and Richard Charrette.  At the University of Ottawa during the period 1984 to 1995 Denis coached his teams to 3 OUAA and a CIAU title.  He won two CIAU Coach of the Year awards in cross country.

The sport in Ontario benefitted tremendously when Denis took on additional responsibilities in the 70’s and 80’s, serving as an Ontario Track & Field Association Board member from 1974 to 1983.  This service included a stint as OTFA President from 1979 to 1983.  In 1998 Denis rejoined the OTFA Board of Directors as Vice President.

Denis was hired in 1983 as the Coaching Development Manager for the Canadian Track & Field Association and served in that role until 1988.

Notwithstanding everything he had accomplished Denis was most respected as a great listener and for his wisdom, waiting until everyone had their say and only then responding with some sensible comments and suggestions for action.

Phil Edwards, Athlete (1907-1971)

In 1928 Edwards completed at the Canadian Olympic trials in Hamilton winning the 800m and qualifying for the Olympic Games. At the Amsterdam Games he placed fourth in the 800m and won a bronze medal as a member of the 4x400m relay team. He went on to win a total of five bronze medals at three Olympic Games, making him the most decorated Canadian Olympian in the sport of Athletics. He ran out of the Hamilton Olympic Club

Jason Tunks, Athlete (1975-)

Jason was ranked as a top-ten discus thrower in the world for ten consecutive years and holds the Canadian National Record at 67.88m. In 2012, Tunks was inducted into the London (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame and in 2014, Tunks was inducted into the Canadian Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Some of Jason’s accomplishments include a 9th place finish at the 1997 World Championships in Athletics at Athens, 9th place in 2001 at Edmonton with a throw of 63.79 m (209.28 ft), 2003 World Championships in Athletics at Paris – 11th – 62.21 m (204.10 ft), and an 8th place finish at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics at Helsinki.

Jason, as a member of the 2000 Canadian Olympic team, placed 6th in discus. Additionally, he won the Gold medal at the 2003 Pan Am Games and a Bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games.

Catherine Bond-Mills, Athlete & Builder (1967-)

As an athlete, Catherine won 11 Canadian championships from 1989 through 1999 establishing a national record three times. Her long-standing points total of 6,193 was only broken recently by another Londoner, Jessica Zelinka.

Catherine competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Summer Games, three Commonwealth Games (1990, 1994 and 1996 winning a bronze medal), and four World Championships (1993, 1995, 1998 and 1999)

As a coach, Bond-Mills has been on the coaching staff of the Canadian Junior track and field teams since 2005 and has coached in the world championships. She was a coach of the Ontario team at the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Regina.

Dana Ellis Buller, Athlete (1979-)

Dana was Canada’s top female pole vaulter in the beginning of this century. She had a remarkable 6th place finish at both the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2005 World Championships. Dana was ranked 8th in world by Track & Field News in 2005 and set the Canadian record of 4.52m in 2007.

George Puce, Athlete (1940-)

George Puce was a top 10 ranked athlete in many throwing events throughout the 1960s. George was a member of Canada’s Olympic team and competed in Mexico City where he placed 13th in the discus. George won 3 Commonwealth Games medals, including a bronze in the shot put in 1966 to go along with a silver in the discus. His third was a gold in the discus in 1970. George was awarded a bronze medal in the discus at the 1963 FISU Games and the 1967 Pan Am Games.

George was the Canadian Champion in the discus in 1966, 1968, 1969 and held the Canadian Record of 211-3 (64.39) set in 1968 (formerly 172-6 (52.58m) in 1962). This record stood until 1976.

Ed Archibald, Athlete (1884-1965)

Ed Archibald was a member of Canada’s 1908 Olympic Team in London, where he was awarded the bronze medal, along with 2 others, in the pole vault with a 3.58m result. Ed also competed at the 1906 Intercalated Games (Olympic Games) in Athens, Greece, where he placed 7th in the Heptathlon.

Ed held the Canadian and Commonwealth records in the pole vault for a 3.78m result that same year. To go along with a 1968 Canadian Championship title in the pole vault, he won the hammer with a throw of 39.34m, and set the Canadian record in the javelin with a throw of 40.14m.

0