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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Greg Olson, Golf
Greg Olson, like anyone else reserves the right to change his mind, and now follows the sun as a professional golfer, didn’t quite make it quite around the world in 80 days, last year, but he gave the challenge a grand charge. But he pointed out, “I wouldn’t be this far by any other method at this point.”
After he had become the second from this area to capture the elusive Canadian Amateur bauble that goes back approximately 75 years, he gave no inkling that professional golf was in his plans. He took his time to make up his mind.
Olson, a Rideau High School graduate, had set a number of goals and he had achieved them all. Staying an amateur he began to think that repetition could lead to boredom and there was the age-old question, “What if I didn’t try…?”
The region’s other claimant to the amateur crown was Richmond-born George Lyon, who didn’t take up the game until he was 38 and then only because a friend dared him to hit a ball.
It was love at first site.
Two years later Lyon — whose sports log includes everything from pole vault record to a cricket scoring mark — won the first of eight straight amateur crowns in 1908, and he claimed golf’s only Olympic Games gold ever won in St. Louis in 1904. He returned to defend his honour in London in 1908 but ended up the only competitor because of feuding principally between England and the United States. He refused to claim the gold medal under those conditions.
Returning to Olson and his tour around the world via golf stick, he’ll add Europe to his travelogue next he recently qualified for the 1986 golf tour there when he won his pro card earlier this year. His played the Far Eastern Circuit last year and has seen most of the Americans either as a professional or an amateur.
He didn’t bluff his way to the 1980 amateur athlete of the year honours even though it’s supposed to be third time lucky. He represented golf as a junior in 1970 and as a senior in 1979. In addition to his Amateur title, he helped Quebec to a Willingdon golf title, the province’s first in 40 years, was the low Canadian in the world amateur, took the ODGA medal title and made the op five in both the Alexander and Duke of Kent Trophy competitions as he “started the season in low gear.”
Olson still considers his recognition “something special from his home town. It was the nicest honour I’ve received. I’ll not forget it.”
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (GORD TRIVETT MEMORIAL TROPHY)
Ray Kinsella, RA sports
“I think the ACT Dinner program would have been as big a success then (50 years ago) as it is today,” said veteran RA sportsman Ray Kinsella. “This is an appreciative town.”
Now 77 years young, he has finally decided that he should start spending more nights at home. But he may find that easier said than done. He’s just too valuable.
He’s been in the CSRA from the ground up and been a director from the beginning. He’s chaired every standing committee and was president from 1951-56, 1967-68 and 1977-79.
During his first term as president, the centre fold of the RA’s gigantic plant on Riverside drive was built. A government loan and a $300,000 drive among employees directed by Kinsella provided the necessary finances.
Kinsella — whose brother J. J. Kinsella established the Silver Stick Hockey program — also played an active part in the negotiating of subsequent government construction loans, and the erecting of the swimming pool, curling rink, the $5 million East Wing that includes a hockey arena, tennis, squash and racquetball courts, sauna baths and exercise room and lounge capacity.
An automatic selection for the RA Sports Hall of Fame, you would think. But he refused the honor saying he got his satisfaction from seeing the RA program progress.
However, he couldn’t escape the Associated Canadian Travellers-Cities of Ottawa and Nepean Sportsman’s Dinner selectors who named him Trivett Trophy winner as sportsman of the year of 1980, the same honor accorded to “J.J.” in 1969.
On the competitive lanes Kinsella spent a year in the National Hockey League with Ottawa Senators — unfortunately the 1930 campaign, the beginning of the end of the NHL club. He had had feelers from Jack Adams at Detroit and the New York Rangers but by then figured a government job in the depression was better than pro hockey “because they weren’t playing all that much.”
He also has played soccer, football, rugby and tried his hand at boxing as did his brother. He remembers getting sage advice from Boys Club director Fred McCann about boxing.
“Get the blank out of the game,” said McCann in polite terms.
Alpine Skiing — Robin McLeish
Archery — Elizabeth Sampson
Bowling — Mike Bellefeuille
Badminton — John Czich
Baseball — Rod Scharf
Ball Hockey — Achilles (Toe) Pietrantonio
Bobsled — Joey Kilburn
Boxing — Stephen Frame
Basketball — Chris Jonsson
Broomball — Randy Rosenthal
Cross-country Skiing — Jenny Walker
Curling — Pat Barnaby, Cathy Potvin, Darcie Pim, Christina Dehler
Cricket — John Vaughan
Cycling — Larry Burge
Diving — Stephen Kirkham
Equestrian — Nicole and Deidre Laframboise
Fencing — Louise Leblanc
Field Hockey — Laura Branchaud
Figure Skating — Elizabeth Manley
Football — Don Burns
Freestyle Skiing — David Moonje
Golf — Greg Olson
Gymnastics — Tricia Walker
Handicap — Jacques Pilon
Hockey — Jim Fox
Kick Boxing — Tony Beck
Judo — Phil Takahashi
Lacrosse — Kevin Broadworth
Lawn Bowling — Richard Grant
Orienteering — Megan Piercy
Modern Pentathlon — Lawrence Keyte
Paddling — Sue Holloway
Racquetball — Rudy Mikowetz
Ringette — Francine Labelle
Rowing — Renee Schingh
Rugby — Barry Belshaw
Sailing — Rod Woodbury
Ski Jumping — Horst Bulau
Soccer — Greg Reynolds
Softball — Eion Matheson
Shooting — Alain Marion
Speed Skating — Suzanne Dionne
Squash — Peter Sneyd
Swimming — Nancy Horne
Table Tennis — Pierre Parulekar
Touch Football — Don Belsher
Tennis — Martin Wostenholme
Track and Field — Marc Oleson
Trap and skeet — Gus Sanderson
Volleyball — Jim Helmar
Weightlifting — Terry Hadlow
Wrestling — Brian Renken
Water Polo — John Anderson
Team award — Dan Kelly’s touch football
Jacques Pilon, on the amateur list a second time, recalls another blind sports story, that may well have set the stage for Pilon’s athletic achievements back in the early 1950s… That was the blind golf exhibition by 62-year-old Hamilton native Charlie Tooth with the assistance of area pros Sam Dempster, Ken Clark and Stan Kolar at the Rivermead… Tooth’s golf was sponsored by the CNIB which hoped the exhibition would open employment doors for the handicapped… Tooth, incidentally, had a golfer’s common problem… lifting one’s head before hitting the ball. Marc Oleson, the Kinsmen Harriers’ talented distance runner, had an outstanding midget track and field campaign and was named track’s top athlete candidate… Ahead of him was a sub-four minute mile — not a winner — in the Harry Jerome Memorial Meet at Vancouver, and four years at Stanford where he had some considerable success as a cross-country runner… Bell Bruins’ basketball leader Chris Jonsson, got himself a basketball banquet record when he led the basketball selection for athlete of the year. He was the first to lead successive lists… Randy Rosenthal got the first of his trophies for different sports when he was named the top broomballer… Ball hockey was the other… Versatile title belongs to wrestler Claude Pilon, whose ability in that sport let him see a good part of the globe… He could have won track and field athlete nomination in 1969 on the strength of discuss and hammer victories at the nationals and he could hold his own with anyone on the amateur football field but for reasons known only to the gods, took home only wrestling trophies.