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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Judy Dallimore, Track and Field
Whether the question be dressed in terms of the Olympic Games motto — Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) — or simply running, jumping and throwing, almost everyone has attempted to answer the question “Why?”
Judy Dallimore Thompson’s answer will do until another comes along.
“I think the best answer I can give is that you never really begin running,” said the ACT’s athlete of the year for 1965. “It’s just something you always do. As far back as I can push my memory, I can always recall a feeling of freedom when I rushed down the track or across the field. I just always felt I could do it.”
The ex-Uplands Harrier sprinter, whose husband, Bruce, once won the Canadian junior cross-country title, now lives in St. Albert, Alta., but not before putting half the globe between Ottawa and the young Alberta city. The intermediate stops for the Hillcrest High School graduate and her family were Ghana, and the Republic of Cameroon in Africa, Waterloo, Ontario, and St. John’s, Newfoundland. Run she did to the ACT’s top prize, winning the Canadian outdoor 100 and 220 yard titles and the 50-yard indoor sprint crowns. She had also been track and field athlete for 1963.
She became the 11th to join the ACT’s select circle and was to be followed by Tom Gorman from basketball in 1966, ski jumper Pat Morris in 1967 and golfer Don Rioux in 1968. The four sportsmen of the year in the same period were Larry Larocque, W. G. “Bud” Clark, Ev Tremblay and Harold Costin.
“As for the awards dinner for 1965, the shock, surprise and joy that I felt as I walked up the aisle seems to have obliterated from my memory many of the details of the evening except that it was one of the really rewarding and enjoyable moments of my life. I was as Jack Koffman put it in The Citizen the next day, truly shaken, thrilled and frightened.”
Her favourite moment in the sport was receiving a Pan-American Games silver medal for the 4 x 100 metre relay in which the established the Canadian record of 45.5 at that time. The other runners were Winnipeg’s Jan Maddin and Vancouver’s Arlene McLaughlin and the veteran Irene Piotrowski.
A Canadian University Students Overseas contract got the Thompsons to Africa in 1970, where they were married in Accra, Ghana, after what Dallimore described as several “hair-raising calamities.”
They spent the bulk of their time in the northern part of Ghana where she became involved in coaching track and field at Navrongo Secondary School, a unique experience that would take volumes to describe.
She related one problem with Muslim students. They were not allowed to drink any fluid during the daylight hours of Ramadan, which occupies the hottest, driest months of the year in that arid sub-saharan country. They couldn’t even swallow their own saliva which caused many problems in late-afternoon workouts.
The Thompsons spent a further 2 ½ years in Africa in the Republic of the Cameroon, this time with Bruce working for the World Health Organization, but there was no track and field.
Judy got back into track and field in St. John’s. She spent some time coaching and was “pleasantly surprised” by the potential, and set about solving some problems by helping to organizing a track club.
Voters had a field of 32 athletes from 30 sports, the biggest to that point in the history of the dinner. To pick this winner Dallimore’s rivals were weightlifter Al Salter, a previous athlete of the year, Pete Werthner with a snowshoe triumph behind him, judo’s Gilles Champagne and paddling’s Glen Woodcock and Peter Raymond.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Larry Larocque, hockey, baseball
“Lots of calls and telegrams,” said Larry Larocque about the fall-out from his selection as ACT sportsman of the year, an honor somewhat tardily added to the dinner program.
He was the seventh to be recognized for a job well done whether from the coaching lines or executive rooms.
“I had telegrams waiting for me next morning at 8:30 from Bruno (the late Bruno Bitkowski) and Hull MP Alexis Caron. His daughter works with me,” continued the sportsman of the year.
Larocque was recognized primarily for a lengthy contribution to hockey – he is still coaching. He also lent a hand to the Babe Ruth Baseball program, once considered as the next step up from Little League Baseball, during the heyday of that organization.
Bitkowski, whose name was beyond the grasp of Rough Rider football coach Frank Clair, was part of the Larocque story as a dutiful son-in-law. Bruno is still known far and wide for his famous theft — stealing the ball out of Toronto Argo QB (an ex-West Pointer) Arnie Galliffa’s hand as the latter had his arm cocked to pass, but the Toronto goalline was just too far away for him to turn the theft into a touchdown.
Larocque has coached hockey from peewee to old timer and figures the old men are most frustrating to handle. “They picked up their bad habits 30 years ago, and are not about to change now”, he explained.
His favorite group are the bantams, “thirteen and fourteen or around that age, they are interested in learning and delighted when they’ve been told they did something right”.
Among the teams he has coached are Ottawa Primrose, once of the Central Junior League, Richmond Royals of the Ottawa Valley Junior “B” and the Old Stars of the oldtimers program. He played back in the days of the Eastern Canada League with Hull Volants.
Baseball — Rod Scharf
Badminton — Barb O’Brien
Basketball — Tom Gorman
Broomball — Phil Lafontaine
Bowling — Ted Hendrickson
Cricket — John Worswick
Curling — Bill Wagner
Equestrian — John Atack
Football — Vince Thompson
Figure Skating — Marc LeBel
Golf — Don Davidson
Gymnastics — Susan Buchanan
Hockey — Jim McKenney
Handball — Morris Schacknow
Judo — Gilles Champagne
Lawn Bowling — May Ward
Lacrosse — André Despard
Motorsport — Dennis Quirk, Don Hackner
Paddling — Glen Woodcock, Peter Raymond
Sailing — Ward McKim
Softball — Doug Berry
Skiing — Gerry Gravelle
Speed Skating — Gerry Cassan
Snowshoes — Peter Werthner
Soccer — Mike McDonald
Track and Field — Judy Dallimore
Trap and Skeet — John McManman
Tennis — Mike Hanman
Volleyball — Jean Provost
Weightlifting — Allen Salter
ACT sports selectors take a look at more than 60 sports in assembling the dinner guest list… The figure is somewhat misleading as certain sports have been broken down to ease selections… The 1965 list offers proof of the variety of activities available… Morris Schachnow made the list for his handball ability and Pete Werthner, Penny Werthner’s older brother, picked up an award for snowshoes, a vanishing breed of activity… Gerry Gravelle won the 1965 North American ski jumping at Sault Ste. Marie… Tommy Gorman earned basketball recognition leading Carleton to the intercollegiate championship tournament at Halifax. Ravens drew host Acadia and ran into just too much Steve Konchalski, assistant to Jack Donohue with the national team. However, they bounced back to beat Alberta in the consolation final.