Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2016 inspires diversity

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

A group of seven athletes and builders have been officially become the newest Honoured Members at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The inductees include:

  • Michael “Pinball” Clemons – Athlete, football
  • Stephanie Dixon – Athlete, Para-swimming
  • Dr. Frank Hayden – Athlete, Special Olympics
  • Sue Holloway – Athlete, Cross Country Skiing & Kayaking
  • Colleen Jones – Athlete, Curling
  • Annie Perreault – Athlete, Speed Skating
  • Brian Trottier – Athlete, Ice Hockey

They say they are most proud to represent diversity. Each one got a chance to make a speech during the induction ceremony, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

“I’m a little bit bias, but I think our class is terrific! We represent Canada so well, not just Canadian sport, but Canada. Geographically, culturally, gender wise, people with disabilities, winter sport, summer sport it’s all here among us,” said Dr. Frank Hayden, a creator of the Special Olympics movement.

IMG_2656Dr. Hayden used to work at Western and says the idea for Special Olympics was conceived in his office in the lower level of Thames Hall. Since then he has changed the lives of many with an intellectual disability around the world.

He adds “my goal from the beginning was to get us into the sport world.” When Special Olympics made the sport section of the newspaper, he knew he had made it.

Para-swimmer Stephanie Dixon was born without her right leg spoke about why she is proud to be apart of the class of 2016.

“Canada is such a diverse country and so for this class to be representative of Canada is really important because we’re not inspiring a couple people, we have an opportunity to inspire the country.”

Inspiring the country included Dixon speaking with a class of grade 12 students the afternoon of the induction celebration. She got to share stories from her childhood and spoke about accepting yourself for you are because whoever you are and whatever you have is enough to achieve your goals.

“Most of the sport I’ve done in my life I’ve done against people without a disability. For example, in grade 7 and grade 8 I wanted to do high jump. So hopping up to the bar I tried to dive over backwards flipping in the air but it was just not working. I could not get up and over the bar, but I have had creative people in my life and someone whispered ‘why don’t you dive over forwards?'”

img_2664She dove over forwards and cleared the bar. She then went on to win 1st place in her division in high jump beating out people with two legs.

Each of these Honoured Members has a story worth sharing, which is why their legacy will live on at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Michael “Pinball” Clemons decided to take his moment to speak about how his other six class members have inspired him.

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