1926 – 2015
Category: Coach and Builder
Year of Induction: 2016
Upon his arrival in Canada in 1972 Gerard Mach made an immediate impact as one of the first professional coaches in this country. Initially contracted for a series of Canadian Track and Field Association coaching seminars the federation quickly offered him the position of head coach.
Mach brought a wealth of experience as an athlete and from his sport studies and was highly sought after by the coaches of that era.
Born in Poland Mach represented Poland in the 1952 Olympics and at the 1954 and 1958 European Championships in the 200 and 400m events. He attended the Warsaw University of Physical Education and became an athletics coach.
He taught Canadian athletes and coaches alike a system of drills famously entitled ‘A’s’ and ‘B’s’ designed to increase mobility strength and speed. Soon, even middle distance runners, throwers and jumpers were incorporating these drills into their training in addition to the sprinters.
When the 1976 Montreal Olympics were held Mach’s influence was readily apparent as all four of Canada’s relay teams qualified for the finals which was a dramatic improvement on past fortunes. The men’s 4 x400m relay team set a still standing national record of 3:02.64 and finished 4th while the women’s 4 x 100m relay ran a national record of 43.17, also taking 4th place.
Today, coaches routinely give their athletes the drills and training programs first cast by Mach many without knowing the origin.