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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Pat Messner, Water Skiing
Now it can be told:
Seven years is long enough to keep anyone in suspense, but when Pat Messner won the World Water Skiing championships back in 1979, her sport became the 13th on the list of 15 that make up the current Associated Canadian Travellers Sportsman’s Dinner athlete of the year honour list.
Maybe Pat isn’t superstitious… but 7 and 13?
Messner retired from competition two years after her triumph and she is currently working as a paramedic, a job in keeping with an earlier desire to go to medical school that had to be abandoned.
Her retirement doesn’t mean that she has left water skiing. She is on the boards whenever she is able, but with care to watch a gimpy back. She also teaches the sport to youngsters in a water ski school.
She also still recalls her night at the Chateau Laurier, almost as if it was something of a nightmare.
“I thought I wasn’t going to get it. I was more nervous sitting there (at the head table) than before the competition. I was just so scared.” (With such athletes as weightlifter Marc Cardinal, sailor Andy Roy, previous winner Martin Wostenholme, ski jumper Horst Bulau, hockey player Tom Manley and figure skater Janet Morrissey, she did have legitimate cause for worry).
“It was important to me that I be recognized. It was important to me that the city realize what I had done.”
In her competitive days she won an endless list of titles, honours and medals including an Olympic bronze when the sport was an exhibition at Munich and the first medal won by a Canadian, won by a woman, a bronze, at the world championships. And she was ACT water skier of the year seven times in nine years. And for the seventh she was the reigning world champion.
Now about superstitions…
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (GORD TRIVETT MEMORIAL TROPHY)
Joey Sandulo, boxing
Tis reported the night back in 1979 Joey Sandulo was named sportsman of the year and winner of the Gord Trivett Trophy, he was rendered speechless.
He hasn’t stopped talking seven years later.
The prompting — as if Sandulo, whose life revolves around the Beaver Boxing Club, ever needed any assistance — comes from the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association.
He’s been suspended by the CABA for working in the corner of a pro fighter twice. One of the fights — Conroy Nelson and Trevor Berbrick — he’d rather forget. The most recent came in late December of 1985 when he wanted to assist Beaver Club graduate Greg Gayle.
He can do his normal work around the boxing club, he can take his fighters to their fight, but can’t work in the corner during the 45 seconds between rounds. To regain his full status all he needs to do is write a letter of repentance.
“It’s archaic,” said Sandulo.
That particular rule may be wiped out in the very near future. Howard Darwin, Gayle’s manager, has asked sports lawyer Larry Kelly to take the matter under advisement and Sandulo understands a letter has gone off already.
Sandulo, himself, can claim victory over boxing’s brass forcing them to change a regulation that forced boxers in international matches to use team coaches when his regular coach is at the competition. Sandulo had that altered so that a boxer’s regular coach can handle his fighter if he had paid his own way and fulfilled corner qualifications.
“Another crazy regulation we have is that a professional hockey player or footballer can’t become an amateur fighter. Isn’t it the plan to use professional hockey players at Calgary in 1988?” Sandulo questioned.
Turning back to his fighters, Sandulo ranks Gayle his No. 1 fighter since 1979. Before turning pro he had worked himself up to seventh ranking in the world in his class. Sandulo also lists four — Brian Brennan, Danny Lariault, Tennyson Grant and Jay Glynn just a step or two away from big things.
“But today they’re all so much better than in my day”, said Sandulo, who went to the London Olympics as a 17-year-old fighter in 1948. “They’ve had better coaching, better competition better support… You know Canada has improved more than any other country in the last two years.”
That has to be despite, not because of the CABA.
Alpine Skiing — Robin McLeish
Archery — Jean Maitland
Badminton — John Czich
Baseball — Mark Gryba
Basketball — Andrea Blackwell
Bobsleds — Joey Kilburn
Bowling — John White
Boxing — Ian Clyde
Broomball — Bernard Larose
Cricket — John Vaughan
Cross-country Skiing — Jenny Walker
Curling — Jean Beardsley, Kay Moffatt, Mary O’Callaghan, Kay MacIntosh
Cycling — John Large
Diving — Steve Done
Equestrian — Ian Millar
Fencing — Michel Dessureault
Field Hockey — Laura Branchaud
Figure Skating — Janet Morrissey
Freestyle Skiing — Steve Hambling
Football — Vern Adams
Golf — Greg Olson
Gymnastics — Sheryl Boucher
Handicap — Peter Palubicki
Hockey — Tom Manley
Judo — Phil Takahashi
Lacrosse — John Hogg
Lawn Bowling — Jean Moodie
Motorcycles — Lee Racicot
Motorsport — Bob Armstrong
Orienteering — Chris Robert
Paddling — Sue Holloway
Modern Pentathlon — Lawrence Keyte
Racquetball — Rudy Mikowetz
Ringette — Sue Croswell
Rowing — Jim Smith, Dan Charlton
Rugby — Mike Kenny
Sailing — Andy Roy
Ski Jumping — Horst Bulau
Soccer — Dave Preddy
Softball — Larry Elson
Speed Skating — Bill Johnson
Squash — Nick Nemeth
Swimming — Anne Merklinger
Table Tennis — Derek Marsham
Tennis — Martin Wostenholme
Touch Football — Bill Robinson
Track and Field — Ann Peel
Trap and Skeet — Gus Sanderson
Volleyball — Judy and Suzie Szepesi
Weightlifting — Marc Cardinal
Water Skiing — Pat Messner
Wrestling — Mike Payette
Team Award — Ottawa Sooners
Horst Bulau announced that he had arrived on the international ski jumping scene with a historic performance at Mont Ste. Anne… He became the first non-European to take the North American ski jumping title of the 70 metre hill. .. Hockey player Tom Manley stayed a step ahead of sister Elizabeth as he was named the outstanding Tier Two player in the country… Academics and athletics are keys to the honour… Nepean Skating Club’s Janet Morrissey joined the figure skating select winning the Canadian senior title… Rideau paddler Sue Holloway had a fifth in the women’s kayak single at the world championships… She was just .7 seconds off a bronze medal, roughly parallel with John Woods on the way to an Olympic medal in 1976… Newcomers to the ACT sports dinner included Andrea Blackwell, a Rookies basketball graduate to the national women’s team, race walker Ann Peel, now able to make the world’s beat her to win… Laser sailor Andy Roy who started round the world by winning the Australian Laser crown… Roy, a Brookfield graduate, started his sailing in Dow’s Lake.
John Czich undoubtedly had one of his top badminton thrills playing in the Thomas Cup competition in Indonesia in 1979… He was on top of his game between 1976 and 1981.