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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Allen Salter, Weightlifting
Bill Smith must have at least smiled to himself when he heard first Dave Dorman and then Allen Salter be named Ottawa’s athlete of the year at the Associated Canadian Travellers Sportsman’s Dinners in 1961 and 1962 respectively.
Smith was a physical education teacher at Smiths Falls Collegiate and had both athletes under his wing.
One of those diamonds in the rough, Dorman listed his high school track and field accomplishments — he still holds EOSSA discus and long jump records —and his 6 ft. 3 1/4 ins. Canadian schoolboy high jump record leap in 1961 in Montreal and said: “The one who made all this possible was a very dedicated PE teacher called Bill Smith”.
Said Salter: “Weightlifting had been suggested by my former high school physical education teacher, Bill Smith, in Smiths Falls (Salter now lives in Carp) as a sport that was included in the Olympics, was contested by a body weight classification and required a minimal amount of equipment. All of which suited my objectives very well.”
The Smiths Falls athletes were eligible under ACT regulations which permitted selectors to name sports candidates from the Eastern Ontario-Western Quebec territory, country the ACT salesmen cover. When Ottawa joined the 1975 ACT territory was reduced to the National Capital Region.
Dorman first caught up with his mountain to climb — the decathlon — and learned firsthand about the sport’s No. 1 problem of the time — no coaching expert or otherwise and particularly for the hinterlands — at the St. Lambert track club under the veteran Ian Hume.
“You wouldn’t believe me how I learned to pole vault,” he said without elaborating. His next step was university, first McMaster and then Royal Military College, and neither much help to track and field athletes, particularly decathletes in the making.
He did collect college track and field trophies but more on natural ability than through serious track and field training, but he turned his thinking around in 1966 deciding to do some serious work building toward the decathlon which he intended to challenge upon graduation “when I would have the resources to do so.”
He designed a training program “the best way he knew how,” and RMC handled the other which was to have him posted to Winnipeg, the 1967 site for the Pan-American Games and Canadian championships.
To everyone’s surprise he won the Canadian crown in his first crack with a score of 6,645 and his reward was a berth on the Canadian team for the Pan-Ams. There he startled everyone raising his score almost 400 points to 7,023., for the ten parts of the competition. His score, under the old decathlon points table, didn’t get him a medal, he was fourth, but he became only the third Canadian to break the 7,000-point barrier, Gerry Moro and Bill Gairdner, — the other two.
His performance included seven personal bests — 100 metres, long jump, shot put, javelin 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles and pole vault. And his score when converted to the new scoring drops only 60 points to 6,963., good for ninth place in 1985 national track and field ratings.
The only high spot in the next 12 months was the successful defence of his 1967 title. The low came after a trip to Mexico where he saw Bill Toomey claim the world’s outstanding athlete competition. He was stricken with myasthenia gravis, a muscle-nerve disease that is something of a medical mystery still. That meant starting over again, and the Dorman’s appear to have recovered well.
Dorman was awarded an Ontario government Bicentennial Medal for his work in track and field and assisting other organizations. He was also named to the Smiths Falls Hall of Fame in 1984.
And, said Dorman, speaking as co-ordinator of the Cornwall Legion Cougars track and field club; “I seem to be in for the long haul and there certainly are enough good times coming out of the sport to keep me interested.”
Salter began his weightlifting career at 20 years of age in 1957 and in the next 12 years lifted his way around the better part of the globe and between whistle stops managed to win eight Canadian crowns over three weight classes: bantamweight (123 pounds, 56 kg) featherweight (132 pounds, 60 kg); and lightweight (148 pounds, 65 kg).
His competitive global stops were at Tokyo, Japan, for the Olympics; Perth, Australia, and Kingston, Jamaica, for the Commonwealth Games and Teheran, Iran and Budapest, Hungary, for the world championships. He came away from the Commonwealth competitions with silver (second) and bronze (third) medals.
He had a fourth place finish as a featherweight competitor at Teheran, but he claims that “was more by good luck than good management.” He had a three-lift total of 726 pounds “about what I should have done” and he was about 125 to 150 pounds off the lead.
There were four top-flight European lifters in front of him still to finish, but along the line they all fouled out.
His 726 at Teheran composed of a press of 220 pounds, a snatch of 220 pounds and a clean and jerk of 286. (The press, very similar to the snatch was dropped between the Munich Games and Montreal in 1976).
He considers his best one lift, a clean and jerk of 280 pounds as a bantamweight, which he turned at Perth, here in Ottawa and in Montreal. The lift was 28 pounds off the world record at the time.
Salter still counts his recognition as athlete of the year and winner of the Tom Foley Memorial Trophy “a thrill of a lifetime because of the spirit of the award and the high calibre of the other athletes being honoured in their respective sports that year. It is an award not forgotten and remembered with great pleasure. The ACT dinners and awards are remembered by me as a very special occasions when a pat on the back was given me by my peers and my community. Thanks to the ACT for those fond memories.”
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Tommy Shields, all sports
Another veteran newsman, Tommy Shields, joined the select few as winner of the ACT special award, the equivalent of sportsman of the year, at the 1962 Sportsmen’s Dinner.
A veteran of both the First and Second World Wars, and decorated in the field in the First, he was The Citizen sports editor a number of years. Any organization or person who were within his range of help ever went away empty handed. He was particularly helpful to hockey players, undoubtedly due to his professional connection, he played in the American League.
Shields was also among the broadcasting pioneers of the era. One of his biggest assignments was coverage of the R-100 balloon’s arrival in Montreal for Radio Canada.
He was also the first to broadcast basketball calling the Canadian championship series between Glebe Grads and Vancouver Westerns, the winner going on to lose a muddy 19-8 final to the U.S. in the Berlin Olympics. Basketball had been relegated to outdoor tennis courts and the players were left in the laps of the gods.
Shields was also a horse racing fanatic of first order. He was an official both in Montreal, and Connaught Park when thoroughbreds ruled the roost and then switched over to the standardbreds with Connaught Park in 1952.
Basketball — Dick Brown
Baseball — Dave Bracken
Bowling — Carole Gauthier
Badminton — Al Phillips
Cricket — Jim Siew
Curling — Bob Knippelberg
Football — John Dever
Golf — D’Arcy Boucher
Hockey — Al Stitt
Lacrosse — André Despard
Judo — Gilles Champagne
Paddling — Bruce Kennedy
Sailing — Ward McKim
Softball — Gilles Fournier
Soccer — Tom Hamlin
Skiing — Dave Rees, Bob Swan
Trap and skeet — Barney Hartman
Track and Field — Bob Fisher-Smith
Tennis — Maurice Landry
Weightlifting — Allen Salter
ACT Dinner selectors settled for a second consecutive tie when they named the athletes for the 1962 dinner… That came in skiing and involved cross-country runner Dave Rees and downhiller Bob Swan… Curling leader was Bob Knippelberg, a serviceman, who was to turn ice-maker assistant for the Brier set for the Hull Arena in 1967… Three players with strong hockey connections, D’Arcy Boucher, Al Stitt and André Despard, were named for golf, hockey and lacrosse respectively… Stitt and Despard spent a number of seasons in Montagnard colours… Boucher last played senior hockey with Hull Volants in the Old Eastern Canada League.