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We get the luxury of talking to Diane at various events we cover regarding track and field in the lower mainland for the past number of years.

Now on behalf of the Sportswave Team we wish to congratulate Diane Clement, former Olympian and pioneer for women in sports, to receive Order of Canada

It’s reported that she gives all the credit to mosquitoes for making her so fast and of course we can all relate to this, or at least I can.

A while back, probably at the Harry Jerome Track Classic she mentioned to me “When she was a young girl training her father built her a track on the marshlands or swamp’s of Moncton she’d move as fast as she could to avoid getting swarmed.

At the young age of 83 she has put herself on the world stage as a former Olympian and Olympic team manager and we are pleased to mention that she is now a member of the Order of Canada. 

She received the call from the Governor General’s Office just prior to Christmas saying she would be among the 120 Canadians to receive the honour in Ottawa in 2020.

Her citation highlights her “contributions to sport and recreation as an advocate for athletic excellence, fitness and healthy living among all Canadians.”

Anyone that knows Diane understands her reaction as she mentioned “I was speechless. In fact I had tears. I couldn’t believe it” when contacted about the recognition.

She met her Husband Doug while competing at the Melbourne Olympics (1956) competing in the 100 and 220 yard dash, and also the 440 yards relay 

She was the first Athlete coming from New Brunswick, either male or female to compete in a Summer or Winter Olympics and in 1958, she participated in the Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff, Wales winning a Bronze medal.

She was the first woman (ever) to coach the UBC Track and Field team and the first woman to serve as president of Athletics Canada.

As one would expect a different time and different era as she fought hard fighting the stigma that women couldn’t reach any success in the sporting world, which shocked many in that era.

Diane mentioned “Women had a choice in track and field of [running] 100 or 200 metres and [were told] if we trained for more than that, we might not bear children, and that was the mandate that we had at that time.”

She continued “When you think of what women have accomplished in all sports over the decades, and they thought that we were so delicate that we couldn’t train for more than 200 metres, halfway around a track. We’ve come a long way, and women have shown that, if we do the proper training and have the proper coaches and support, we can do it all.”

Diane and Doug were the founders of the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club, which over the years has trained and developed numerous athletes that went on to compete in the Olympics.

They served as co-mayors of the Athletes’ Villages during the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. 

To the surprise of no one is also a co-founder of the Vancouver Sun Run and the author of eight cookbooks promoting healthy living.

The couple recently celebrated their 60th Anniversary this past year and continue to exercise together every other day. 

Success runs in the family as in 1991 Doug was honoured with the Order of Canada, so  this visit is extra special for them.

She mentions “We were wondering what other couple in Canada may have received it as well and to be given that honour means so much to me and to my family.”

Congratulations to Diane on this milestone – well deserved!!!

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