Athletics Canada announced today that six individuals – three athletes, one coach, a builder and a former athlete in the in memoriam category – will be inducted into the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 24, in advance of the 2019 Canadian Track & Field Championships and World Trials.
Middle-distance runner Angela Chalmers, long and triple jumper Edrick Floréal and marathoner Jacqueline Gareau will be inducted into the Hall of Fame’s Athlete category. Legendary track and field coach Dennis Fairall will join an elite group in the Coach category, Brian Langley, a dedicated official, executive, board member and volunteer, will be inducted into the Builder category, while sprinter Hilda Strike will be inducted into the In Memoriam category of the Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2019 will officially be welcomed into the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame during its Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Gala, being held in conjunction with the Fédération québécoise d’athlétisme’s Gala des Champions, at Le Crystal Salles de Réception on July 24.
Athletics Canada Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Angela Chalmers – Athlete
Edrick Floréal – Athlete
Jacqueline Gareau – Athlete
Brian Langley – Builder
Dennis Fairall – Coach
Hilda Strike – In Memoriam
Angela Chalmers (Brandon, Manitoba)
One of the most successful middle-distance runners in Canadian history, Angela Chalmers enters the Hall of Fame as the national recorder holder in the women’s 2,000-metres (5:34.49, Sept. 4, 1994) and 3,000-metres (8:32.17, Aug. 23, 1994). After representing Canada as a junior, she went on to receive a scholarship to Northern Arizona University where she was an eight-time NCAA All-American, won a bronze medal at the 1985 Summer Universiade (World University Games) and captured gold at the 1986 NCAA Cross Country Championships. One year later, she won silver in the 3,000-metres at the Pan American Games and went on to represent Canada at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Chalmers’ breakthrough on the international stage came in 1990 when she won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, one in the 1,500-metres the other in the 3,000-metres. Two years later, Chalmers returned to the Olympic Games where she would capture bronze in the 3,000-metres. In 1994, she would successfully defend her 3,000-metres Commonwealth title on home soil, pulling off the victory in her adopted hometown of Victoria where she also served as Canada’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony. That year also saw Chalmers win gold in the Grand Prix Final and a silver medal at the World Cup.
Chalmers is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame and was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Sports (Indspire Awards). A member of the Birdtail Dakota Nation, Chalmers was an extraordinary role model for Aboriginal children and generously donated her time to speak to those living in First Nations communities about the importance of sport.
Edrick Floréal (Montreal, Quebec)
With three Canadian records still intact – men’s long jump (8.20 metres, July 20, 1991), triple jump (17.29 metres, June 3, 1989) and indoor triple jump (17.14 metres, March 11, 1989) – Edrick Floréal is arguably Canada’s finest when it comes to horizontal jumps.
A graduate of the University of Arkansas, a school fabled for its jumping prowess, Floréal earned a vaunted reputation in the track and field community as North America’s best triple jumper, having won five individual titles (NCAA Indoor Track & Field Champion – 1989 and 1990, NCAA Track & Field Champion – 1988, 1989 and 1990) and four team championships during his time with the Razorbacks.
A three-time National Champion, Floréal represented Canada at two Olympic Games (Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992), three Commonwealth Games (1986, 1990 and 1994) winning bronze in 1990 in the men’s triple jump (16.89 metres), two Jeux de la Francophonie where he won bronze in the triple jump in 1989, and gold in the long jump in 1989 and 1994, and one Pan American Games (1987).
Floréal is a member of the Arkansas Hall of Honor and is currently the Head Track and Field Coach at the University of Texas.
Jacqueline Gareau (L’Annonciation, Quebec)
Jacqueline Gareau pulled off something no Canadian woman has done over the span of five years (1979 to 1984). She won nine marathons, including the 1980 Boston Marathon, and held the Canadian marathon record of 2:29:37. Gareau also broke numerous Canadian records, including the half marathon, 20-kilometres, 15-kilomtres, 10-mile and 10-kilometres over the course of her road racing career.
Gareau made her marathon debut in 1977 at Île d’Orléans in Quebec. Pleased with her results, she continued to train and took part in regional runs where she demonstrated her strong physical fitness. In 1979, Gareau would capture gold in the Ottawa Marathon in a time of 2:47:58. The same year, she laced-up for the Montreal Marathon (gold) and the New York Marathon (silver), carving minutes off her time each occasion she crossed the finish line.
Still a relatively unknown Canadian marathoner in 1980, Gareau headed to Beantown for the prestigious Boston Marathon. Since officials would not let her start at the front with the elites, Gareau was forced to work her way through the field into the lead. She then gapped the field and cruised to victory in a time of 2:24:28 – or so she thought. Gareau’s coming out party as the new champion and course record holder would be robbed by Rosie Ruiz who was eventually disqualified for not completing the entire race. Gareau would return to Boston four more times, placing second in 1982 and 1983.
In 1983, Gareau raced to a fifth-place finish at the IAAF World Championships (2:32:25) and followed it up by winning gold at the Los Angeles Marathon in 1984, setting the stage for her Olympic debut. Unfortunately, Gareau was forced to withdrawal from Olympic competition due to injury, but overcame her injuries to return to the roads.
Gareau is an inductee of the Canadian Road Running Hall of Fame, Quebec Sports Hall of Fame, Mount-Washington Road Race Hall of Fame and was named the Women’s Marathoner of the 20th Century in 2000.
Brian Langley (Halifax, N.S.)
A resume like none other, Brian Langley has dedicated his entire professional career and beyond to helping shape the sport of athletics from high school track and field/cross country to Athletics Canada’s high performance program.
In 1973, Langley was hired as the first executive director of the Nova Scotia Track and Field Association, where he went on to serve on its Board of Directors from 1974 to 1984, including in the role of President from 1980-84. He was elected Atlantic Representative to the Athletics Canada Board of Directors, and sat on various committees, including the National Team Committee, Competition Committee and Coaching Committee to name a few. Langley was elected Vice-Chair in 1987, a role in which he served in until 1992, then moving into the role of Chair for four years.
Over the course of his career, Langley served as the Head of Delegation/Team Leader at five World Championship events, in addition to the 1992 Olympic Games. He officiated at numerous Canadian National Championships, the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and World University Games. He also served on the Jury of Appeals and as a Technical Delegate at many international meets and as the meet director of five National Cross Country Championships, and assistant meet director of the Aileen Meagher International Track Classic.
Langley was awarded the Canada 125th Commemorative Medal for making a significant contribution to his fellow citizens, his community and to Canada in 1992, the IAAF Veterans Pin for Lifelong Contributions to Athletics in 1993 – at the time, he was the youngest individual to receive this award and only the second Canadian – and was the recipient of an Athletics Canada Recognition Award and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. Langley has also been inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and holds a place on the Lunenburg County Sport Heritage Society Wall of Honour.
Dennis Fairall (Tillsonburg, Ontario)
The single most successful athletics and cross country coach in the history of U Sports (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union/Canadian Interuniversity Sport), Dennis Fairall built one of Canada’s finest track and field programs at the University of Windsor.
Under his guidance, the Lancers won a combined 71 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and U Sports Championships between 1990-91 and 2014-15, while Fairall was named Windsor Lancers Coach of the Year six times, OUA Coach of the Year on 44 occasions and U Sports Coach of the Year an astounding 21 times.
In addition to his coaching duties with the Lancers, Fairall has extensive international coaching experience. He served as the Head Coach for Team Canada at the 1985, 1989 and 1993 Maccabi Games in Israel and the 1989 Summer Universiade (World University Games). Fairall was also a member of Canada’s coaching staff at the 1995, 1997 and 1999 World University Games, and served as Head Coach of Team Canada at the Pan American Junior Championships in 2005. Under his direction, Canada earned its highest medal count in the history of the event.
Fairall has also propelled Canadian 800-metre record holder Melissa Bishop to success on the World stage, where she’s won Pan American gold, a World Championship silver medal and placed 4th at the Olympic Games. He also coaches and mentors middle-distance runner Corey Bellemore who has his sights set on Tokyo 2020.
In addition to his accolades at the university level, Fairall has been inducted into the Windsor/Essex Sports Hall of Fame, Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame and UWindsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame. He’s received the Athletics Canada Coach of the Year Award, Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award, an honourary Doctor of Law Degree and the Fieldhouse at the university was re-named to the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse in 2016.
Hilda Strike (Montreal, Quebec)
Passionate about exercise, Hilda Strike practiced many sports, including skating, softball and swimming, before being recruited to join the Canadian Ladies Athletic Club of Montreal in 1929 by Myrtle Cook.
Masterfully guided by Cook, Strike would collect some 30 medals in various competitions in Canada and throughout the United States between 1929 and 1932 making her mark in the 100-metres. She was also part of the first Quebec women’s team to participate in a domestic track and field championship.
In 1932, Strike would easily qualify for the Canadian Olympic Team at the Canadian Track & Field Championships, which featured female delegates from each province for the first time in Canadian history. At the Los Angeles Games, she would finish second behind Stella Walsh (born Stefania Walasiewicz), with both athletes breaking the World record in the final. Strike would win her second silver medal of the Games in the 4×100-metres, alongside Mildred Frizzel, Lilian Palmer and Mary Frizzel.
Strike founded the Mercury Athletic Club in Montreal in 1933 alongside Cook, where she coached and competed under the club’s colours. The next year, she took part in her final major international meet – the Empire Games, later called the Commonwealth Games – where she collected two silver medals, one in the 100 yards in a time of 11.5 seconds, the other in the 110-220-110 yard relayed.
Strike was named Female Athlete of the Year in 1932, in addition to the Most Popular Athlete in Montreal, and is a Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Quebec Sports Hall of Fame inductee.