1913 – 1974

Category: Coach and Builder

Year of Induction: 2016




Percival was a popular but controversial figure in athletics for many decades mainly because of his pioneering beliefs and practices.


In the mid to late 1940’s Percival was incorporating both fartlek and interval training into the programs for young athletes in the Toronto area. At the time this was groundbreaking. He also advocated weight training, cross training, massage and dietary practices for his athletes at a time when it was believed runners need only run.


His influence increased when he hosted a radio program called ‘Sports College of the Air’ on Hamilton’s CKOC for three years before the show was picked up in 1944 by CBC national network. Athletes coaches and sports lovers from many sports tuned in regularly.


After forming the Toronto Track and Field Club he took some of his high school athletes to New York for the AAU schoolboy championships thereby introducing them to international competition. Dozens of these athletes earned scholarships to U.S. universities. A few became NCAA champions including Rich Ferguson. He was the third-place finisher in the Miracle Mile race featuring Roger Bannister and John Landy at the 1954 British Empire Games.


In 1958 Percival formed the Don Mills Track Club which became one of the dominant Canadian clubs of the 1960’s. Dave Steen (Shot Put), Nancy McCredie (Shot Put), Bill Gairdner (400m hurdles and Decathlon), Bill Heikkila (javelin) Carol Martin (Discus and Shot), Jenny Wingerson (80m hurdles), Cathy Chapman all represented Canada at the Olympics and/or Commonwealth Games